Rule of Law Suits Congress

Barb Wire

By Tony Perkins

The House votes today on a resolution that authorizes the House of Representatives to sue the President for his repeated disregard of the Rule of Law and the separation of powers. The outstanding question remains whether courts will grant the House standing or not.

Under the Constitution, it’s the duty of Congress as the legislative branch to make the laws and the Executive Branch to see that they are faithfully executed. Under Obama, however, these roles have become increasingly blurred and, unsurprisingly, always at Congress’ expense. Laws passed by the Legislative Branch have been delayed, waived, selectively enforced and, in some cases, created out of whole cloth to suit the President’s needs without input from Congress.

There have been so many instances of Presidential overreach that it became the job of the Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) legal advisors to find the most egregious abuse of power to present to the courts. For example, the President has unilaterally chosen to let Members of Congress and their staffs keep their massive federal subsidies even after being dumped onto ObamaCare exchanges. He’s allowed these plans, subsidized with taxpayer dollars, to include elective abortion in clear violation of the law. He’s granted waivers for welfare’s work requirements, allowed the IRS to target conservative groups and has extended marriage benefits to same-sex couples in states that only recognize natural marriage.

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But in the end, the Speaker decided to focus on the delay of the unpopular employer mandate, one of the central planks of ObamaCare that the President has unilaterally delayed twice. These delays flout the express language of the law, which states that employers with over 50 employees must comply with the ObamaCare mandates by December 31, 2013 or face significant penalties. Obama has kicked the employer mandate into 2015, distorting voter perception of the true workability of the law and buffering its supporters against criticism in an election year.

The Constitution requires the President to faithfully execute the laws, not just the ones he likes. This lawsuit is a first step in restoring the separation of powers and holding the President accountable to the law. Testifying in support of the resolution, Obama voter and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley cautioned, “It is tempting to embrace rule by a single person who offers to govern alone to get things done. However, this is the very Siren’s call that our Founders warned us to resist. We remain a nation of laws and we have a court system designed to resolve such controversies. That is precisely where this authorization would take us and it is where these questions should be answered.”

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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