Bill Press: A do-nothing lawsuit

Bill Press: A do-nothing lawsuit
© Greg Nash

We all mourn the death of the great Howard Baker. And, no doubt, Howard Baker mourned the death of the Republican Party he once knew and led. It ain’t the same party anymore.

Republicans used to be against judicial activism. Today they demand and celebrate it. Under George W. Bush, Republicans used to be the champions of immigration reform. Today they won’t even bring it up for a vote in the House. And Republicans used to be against frivolous lawsuits. No longer — today they file and brag about them.


See John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE’s pitiful attempt to explain the most frivolous lawsuit ever, his plan to sue President Obama. It’s all the more outrageous when you consider that, by anyone’s account, this has been the most “do nothing” Congress ever. So now, having led the Congress to do nothing, the Speaker plans to sue the president for doing something — and to force taxpayers to pay for it.

Writing on CNN’s website, Boehner (R-Ohio) tries to defend his lawsuit on two grounds. First, he says, “In my view, the President has not faithfully executed the laws when it comes to a range of issues, including his health care law, energy regulations, foreign policy and education.” What nonsense! That may be Boehner’s “view,” but that doesn’t make it true. 

Note that Boehner does not name one single example of Obama failing to carry out the law. Maybe the Speaker forgot that ObamaCare, even though he may not like it, is the law of the land. Maybe nobody told him that Obama’s regulations on carbon emissions, announced through the Environmental Protection Agency, have been upheld by the Supreme Court. And maybe he doesn’t realize that, by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and refusing to send troops to Syria, Obama was exercising his authority as commander in chief. 

No. The truth is, Boehner doesn’t cite any specific example of Obama’s failure to execute the law for one simple reason: He can’t.

Second, Boehner accuses Obama of signing too many executive orders. This, again, is pure nonsense. The fact is, Obama has signed far fewer, and far less significant, orders than many former presidents. He’s signed 182 so far, compared to Bush’s 291 — or FDR’s 3,522. And while Bush used an executive order to authorize torture, and FDR acted to order the internment of Japanese-American citizens, Obama’s toughest executive order has been to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors. That hardly merits a lawsuit. But the only reason Obama’s signed even one executive order is because the Republican-controlled House refuses to do its job.

Everybody recognizes Boehner’s lawsuit for what it is: a cheap political stunt to mask the House’s embarrassing lack of action on immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, renewing the Highway Trust Fund and a host of other pressing issues. Instead of suing the president for doing his job as president, we’d all be better off if John Boehner would just do his job as Speaker.


Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.