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5 Reasons Why John Boehner’s Anti-Obama Lawsuit Is A Terrible Idea

By Igor Volsky
July 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm Updated: July 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

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5 Reasons Why John Boehner’s Anti-Obama Lawsuit Is A Terrible Idea


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House Debates Payroll Tax Extension Plan

CREDIT: Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Republicans are holding a hearing on Wednesday over whether to sue President Obama for unilaterally delaying the employer responsibility provision in the Affordable Care Act in an effort to challenge what they see as his administration’s lawless use of executive authority. The lawsuit will come after the administration twice delayed the provision — which requires employers with more than 50 employees to pay a fine if they don’t offer affordable quality coverage — citing complaints from firms that claimed they wouldn’t be ready to meet its requirement by 2014.

And while the lawsuit may be “uniting House and Senate Republicans” and filling up the GOP’s campaign coffers, it is unlikely to bear fruit for House Republicans in court. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. The GOP may not have standing to file suit. A plaintiff who files a lawsuit must have been injured in some way by the person that they are suing. But neither House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) nor any other member of Congress has been injured by the delay.

2 Conservative legal scholars have dismissed the suit. Ironically, the GOP’s own star witness in favor of the lawsuit , Elizabeth Price Foley, a law professor at Florida International University, once argued that its success is unlikely. “When a president delays or exempts people from a law — so-called benevolent suspensions — who has standing to sue him?” she wrote in the Daily Caller. “Generally, no one. Benevolent suspensions of law don’t, by definition, create a sufficiently concrete injury for standing. That’s why, when President Obama delayed various provisions of Obamacare — the employer mandate, the annual out-of-pocket caps, the prohibition on the sale of ‘substandard’ policies — his actions cannot be challenged in court.”

Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith predicted, “The lawsuit will almost certainly fail, and should fail, for lack of congressional standing. “Former Bush Department of Justice prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has also described the suit as “either untrue or abject nonsense.”

3. The lawsuit would implement Obamacare sooner. Obama initially postponed the employer responsibility provision until 2015 in July of 2103, arguing that the Treasury Department has “transition relief” authority to delay provisions of new law. In February of this year, the administration announced that companies with 50 to 99 employees will have until 2016 to extend insurance to their employees, while larger businesses with 100 or more workers can avoid paying a fine if they offer health care to at least 70 percent of their workers next year, and cover 95 percent of their workers in 2016.

But should Republicans win their lawsuit, the provision would be implemented sooner — over the objections of businesses and the GOP itself, which has repeatedly voted to repeal the law. It is also unlikely that the Supreme Court would reach a final decision on his case until June 2016, months after the employer mandate is supposed to go into effect anyway.

4. When the delay was first announced GOP didn’t think it was illegal. Republicans did not immediately question the legality of the postponement. Instead, the GOP called on Obama to also delay the individual mandate and vowed to take another vote on the matter.

“Is it fair for the president of the United States to give American businesses an exemption from his health care law’s mandate without giving the same exemption to the rest of America? Hell no, it’s not fair,” Boehner told House Republicans. “We should be thinking about giving the rest of America the same exemption that Obama last week gave businesses.” In a letter to Obama, Boehner even admitted that the employer mandate “cannot be implemented within the current time frame.” The party has referred to the provision as a “jobs killer” and has sought its repeal.

5. Most Americans oppose the effort. A survey released on Monday by Americans United for Change found that 51 percent of voters don’t believe the lawsuit is legitimate and 56 percent believe it to be wasteful.

Even some conservatives have rejected the effort. editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, has called the lawsuit “a political stunt wasting taxpayer dollars” that is “designed to incite Republican voters who might otherwise stay home.”

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A Bad Sign For Boehner as Judge Throws Out Senator’s Obamacare Lawsuit

A Bad Sign For Boehner as Judge Throws Out Senator’s Obamacare Lawsuit

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Here is the reason why Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit is likely to go nowhere. A federal judge in Wisconsin threw out an Obamacare lawsuit by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) because the senator lacked standing.

The judge wrote:

First, there is nothing in the Constitution stipulating that all wrongs must have remedies, much less that the remedy must lie in federal court. In fact, given the Constitution’s parsimonious grant of judicial authority, just the opposite is true. As the Supreme Court has observed, “[o]ur system of government leaves many crucial decisions to the political processes. The assumption that if respondents have no standing to sue, no one would have standing, is not a reason to find standing.”

In sum, the fact that the allegations advanced in this action might be difficult or even impossible to pursue in federal court for any other plaintiffs does not mean that these Plaintiffs have suffered the kind of injury that could give rise to standing.

Sen. Johnson was challenging an Obama administration rule that allowed congressional staffers to get subsidies while signing up for Obamacare. The judge in the case, William Griesbach, a 2002 Bush appointee warned Johnson that standing can’t be based on his own subjective views.

The judge’s refusal to hear the merits of the case is a case sign for Boehner and his lawsuit against the president. Like Boehner, Sen. Johnson tried to sue over the president “changing the law,” and his suit was thrown out of court. It is likely that Boehner will face the same fate once he files his suit.

The hurdle remains the same. Speaker Boehner needs to be able to prove that the House has been injured by the president’s actions. Since a partisan dispute is not the same as a legal injury, Boehner’s lawsuit looks like it is doomed to fail.

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Colbert Asks Pelosi: ‘Do You Have Naked Photos of John Boehner?’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has some major legislation she wants to get through Congress, but as Stephen Colbert pointed out last night, it’s probably not going to be possible with Republicans standing in her way. “Do you have naked photos of John Boehner doing something?” Colbert asked Pelosi. “And if you do, is the tan uniform?”

A hopeful Pelosi had another idea: “Win the election.” With most analysts saying a Republican takeover the Senate is likely in 2014, Pelosi said she thinks it could be possible for Democrats to take back the House “for the American people.”

Of course, if that were to happen, Pelosi would probably become Speaker of the House again. “Why would you ever want that job again?” Colbert asked. “John Boehner is on the verge of a nervous breakdown at all times.”

“I didn’t like being speaker,” Pelosi admitted, “but I did like getting the job done for the American people.”

Watch the full interview below, via Comedy Central:

[Photo via screengrab]

– –

Follow Matt Wilstein (@TheMattWilstein) on Twitter

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John Boehner: Obama, Democrats ‘Jeopardizing Our Ability’ To Resolve Border …

WASHINGTON — Should Congress fail to approve funding to deal with the border crisis before the legislative recess in August, it will be President Barack Obama’s fault, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday.

In a statement, Boehner said that a working group of House Republicans has completed its recommendations and will present them to the rest of the GOP conference on Wednesday. But he cautioned that nothing will happen “in a timely manner” if Obama and Democrats refuse to compromise, particularly on changing a 2008 law meant ensure hearings for unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada.

“I don’t believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem,” Boehner said. “The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama’s refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis.”

Whether to change the 2008 law, or how to do so, has become one of the key fights as Congress considers a $3.7 billion funding request from Obama to handle a crisis of more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally this year. Most of the children and teenagers are from Central America, meaning they must be housed by the federal government and put through a hearing process in overburdened immigration courts with long wait times.

Republicans and some Democrats say that given the current influx, the law must be changed in order to speed up a process that currently allows many minors to remain in the country for months or even years while they await their hearings with an immigration judge. Most Democrats have been resistant to changing the law, arguing that the hearing process could be sped up without hurting due process for those who are eligible for asylum or a special visa.

While Obama has signaled that he would be willing to change the law, he did not propose doing so in conjunction with his funding request earlier this month.

Boehner said last week he was less optimistic than he would like to be about resolving the funding issue before the August recess because of Democrats’ statements on the 2008 law.

The working group’s recommendations will be key in crafting an appropriations bill, and are expected to include changes to the 2008 law on unaccompanied minors, bringing on more immigration judges to speed up the removal process, bolstering border patrol and sending National Guard troops to the border. Members of the working group said last week that their recommendations will also likely include funding for foreign governments to repatriate deported minors, as well as encouraging Mexico to secure its southern border, which would help prevent Central American immigrants from traveling through the country.

In addition to the presentation by the working group, which is led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) will brief the conference on his committee’s review of Obama’s funding request, Boehner said.

Although there are multiple bills related to the border crisis, most of them have focused more on enforcement than on funds to care for the unaccompanied minors already here, even though Obama’s funding request included $1.8 billion for that purpose.

The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that only $25 million of Obama’s $3.7 billion request might be spent before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, although that scenario assumes a bill would not actually be enacted until mid- to late-September. Republicans said the CBO report is proof that the need for funding isn’t as urgent as Obama has claimed.

Senate Democrats said Monday that their chamber will take up the funding request late this week or next week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told Politico “it would be a shame” if they did not approve funding before lawmakers leave Washington for a congressional recess.

“They’re going to start running out of money in August,” he told Politico. “So we’re ready to do it.”

UPDATE: 12:10 p.m. — White House Spokesman Josh Earnest responded to Boehner at a briefing later Tuesday, saying the funding is needed, in part, to “more efficiently and effectively process the claims that are made” by minors.

“The bottom line here is the federal government needs additional resources to make sure we are appropriately managing the urgent humanitarian situation at the border,” Earnest said.

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John Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama Has Raised a Staggering $4.5 Million …

John Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama Has Raised a Staggering $4.5 Million For Democrats

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Speaker of the House John Boehner’s decision to sue President Obama is raising an epic amount of grassroots dollars for Democrats. In June, House Democrats out-raised House Republicans $4.5 million to $883,000 in grassroots donations.

According to Josh Schwerin of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, “To see whose base is motivated for November, all you have to do is look at the numbers: in June alone, the DCCC raised $4.5 million in grassroots donations, compared to a paltry $883,000 for the NRCC. Our grassroots supporters are energized, and are rightly angry at the wrong priorities of Speaker Boehner and this Republican Congress that waste taxpayer dollars on partisan lawsuits against the President, and sticks middle class families with the tab. Our financial advantage is fueled by the support of these Americans giving an average of $20 – not billionaire special interests like the Koch brothers – and their support will make a real difference in races around the country come November.”

The Koch brothers donate millions to Republicans, but the each only get one vote. The grassroots support is critical for Democrats because those people who are donating $20 are also likely to vote in November. House Democrats have raised $33 million more than House Republicans during the 2014 election cycle. Boehner’s lawsuit keeps doing damage to Republican 2014 hopes on a daily basis. The lawsuit is defining Boehner’s House Republicans and painting a picture of a majority gone wrong.

Republicans had been counting on anger their power their voters to get the polls this year. They never expected Democrats to get enraged and mobilize in response to Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama. Boehner’s lawsuit has completely backfired and become a powerful energizing force for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. At one point, House Republicans were openly talking about adding seats to their majority. Thanks to Speaker Boehner, it looks like Democrats are in a good position to chip away at the size of the Republican majority.

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John Boehner should be fired

Saturday, July 19, 2014 | 2:02 a.m.

Freedom of speech in our country has brought many downright rude and disrespectful people into the public light.

Whatever happened to respecting our employers and working for and with them,? John Boehner will not work with our president no matter what issue is discussed.

It’s because of his negative attitude, and the attitude of his fellow Republican members of Congress, that I personally will never vote for the Republican Party for the rest of my life.

Their rudeness and inability to do the job they were elected to do make me furious and make me wonder why these current job holders can’t be fired and replaced!

The president’s job has to be extremely hard; to not have the support of Congress working with him from Day One (I suspect the color of his skin plays a large part) has to be extremely stressful and exactly the plan from the Republicans in Congress.

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Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama Backfires as Democrats Trounce …

Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama Backfires as Democrats Trounce Republicans In Fundraising

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John Boehner’s lawsuit against the president is seriously wounding Republicans. The DCCC announced that they had outraised Republicans in June, $25.3 million to $10.9 million.

Congressional Democrats have $50.9 million in the bank, and $18.4 million more than they had at this point in 2012. As of June, House Democrats have $8.4 million cash advantage over House Republicans.

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said, “Whether it’s the Republicans’ shutdown or the Republicans’ lawsuit against President Obama, their misguided priorities and damaging agenda are energizing our supporters to elect commonsense leaders who will stand up for the middle class. While Republicans cater to the most radical elements of their party, Democrats will continue to fight to end the damaging dysfunction and focus on strengthening the economy for middle-class families.”

The cash advantage is already starting to payoff for Democrats. According to the DCCC, “The impact of the DCCC’s fundraising dominance is becoming clear, when the DCCC reserved $14 million more than the NRCC in fall ad time in 10 more districts. In addition, the DCCC has massively expanded its investment in field operations and put staff on the ground in dozens of districts starting in January – six months earlier than ever before.”

On the other side of the aisle, House Republicans are so broke that they are having to strong arm members to pay their dues. There is serious concern among Republicans that the lack of funds could cost them seats in November. The national Republican Party and outside groups are putting their resources behind capturing the Senate, so many incumbent House Republicans are on their own.

Speaker Boehner’s gimmick lawsuit against President Obama has misfired on many levels. Politically, it has energized Democrats instead of Republicans. Financially, House Democrats have been able to raise millions of dollars off of the Speaker’s decision to sue the president. The lawsuit also gave Democrats a ready issue that allowed them to make the Republican refusal to do their jobs for the benefit of the American people a central theme of the campaign.

John Boehner has harmed the Republican Party with his lawsuit. Democrats are invading districts earlier than ever, and they are organizing voters to come out in November. House Republicans may be counting their chickens a bit too soon. If Boehner and the GOP aren’t careful, Democrats will be gaining House seats this November.

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From Sarah Palin to John Boehner: the range of GOP craziness

Politically speaking, Sarah Palin is crazy — but in an entertaining way. Speaker of the House John Boehner may look reasonable by comparison, but his supposed rationality is pretty dubious.

Before I proceed to pick on these GOP icons, I want to acknowledge that I spend a lot of time blasting Republicans in my columns and cartoons. Many readers assume it’s because I’m a commie-pinko, America-hating liberal Democrat. Actually, my constant critique of today’s GOP has more to do with the fact that I grew up in a time and place where Republicans were often the smart, sane ones and quite a few Democrats were part of a regressive, corrupt old guard.

Coming from a long-time-Republican family, I leaned toward the GOP in my sympathies and my votes well into my 20s. But those were the days when the word “Republican” was not synonymous with conservative and conservative was not synonymous with reactionary, anti-intellectual, gun-worshiping, gay-bashing, immigrant-fearing populism.

So, as a lapsed Republican, I am disappointed with the narrowness, rigidity and willful ignorance of those contemporary Republicans who claim the right to brand any Republican who disagrees with them a “Rino” (Republican in name only). 

Judged by the long history of the party, if anyone is an actual Rino, it’s Sarah Palin. She has recently confessed as much, revealing an inclination to leave the GOP behind because the party lacks zeal for her list of kooky causes. One cause, in particular, has failed to ignite the passions of party leaders: the impeachment of President Obama. 

Last week in a column on, Palin declared, “Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’ “

She wrote that “the many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored,” but failed to clarify what those crimes may be. One of the president’s worst sins, as Palin sees it, is that he has made many Americans “feel like strangers in their own country.” Setting aside the reality that sweeping demographic, cultural and economic changes are far more likely the cause of traditionalist alienation than anything the president has done, it should be noted that making some folks feel excluded is not an impeachable offense. Imagine how marginalized anti-war liberals felt when George W. Bush was president. 

Boehner apparently knows that trying to lead an impeachment effort is a fool’s errand. He dismissed Palin’s impeachment manifesto with two words: “I disagree.”

Instead, he and the House GOP leadership are taking the president to federal court, saying he has overstepped the limits of his constitutional role. This might seem a saner course of action if not for the political loopiness of the premise on which they are basing their lawsuit. After fighting against Obama’s Affordable Care Act for most of the president’s time in office, after taking countless votes to repeal the act and after running in 2010 and 2012 on a platform demanding repeal of the law, the Republicans now want to force the administration to put the law into full effect.

Tea party cuts down its onetime champion, Eric Cantor

Tea party cuts down its onetime champion, Eric Cantor David Horsey Revolutions often consume their own. One by one, from Danton to Robespierre, French revolutionaries sent their leaders to the guillotine. Now, the tea party movement has dropped the blade on Eric Cantor. Revolutions often consume their own. One by one, from Danton to Robespierre, French revolutionaries sent their leaders to the guillotine. Now, the tea party movement has dropped the blade on Eric Cantor. ( David Horsey ) –>

Obama has delayed implementation of the employer mandate provision of the ACA twice since 2013. Now, penalties that will punish employers for not providing healthcare coverage to their employees will not kick in until 2016. Boehner contends Obama has usurped the powers of Congress by fiddling with the deadlines.

It is an interesting legal question that a court will decide somewhere down the line, but no one is naïve enough to believe that constitutional clarity is truly Boehner’s goal. Republicans hate the mandate as much as they hate the whole healthcare law. The lawsuit is merely a milder version of the impeachment campaign; another gambit in the ceaseless effort to block the Democratic president at every possible turn. 

This juvenile partisan towel fight has consumed most of the efforts of Republicans for way too long. Immediate action is needed to keep the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money by the end of August. By the end of September, a long list of other bills must be passed to avert another government shutdown. Plus, there’s the debate about renewal of the Export-Import Bank and the bill to address the latest border crisis. But all that necessary work may not get done because the House majority is too fixated on undoing the last two presidential elections. 

For her part, Palin mocks Boehner’s little ploy. “You don’t bring a lawsuit to a gunfight and there’s no room for lawyers on our front lines,” she said, boldly mixing her metaphors on Fox News.

These aren’t real Republicans. This is a clown troop.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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John Boehner Doesn’t Like It When Obama Quotes Mark Wahlberg

Obama used a line from ‘The Departed’ to zing House Republicans.

Speaker of the House John Boehner wasn’t amused when President Obama used a line from “The Departed” to describe his feelings about Boehner’s much-publicized lawsuit against the President.

On Thursday, Boehner revealed plans to sue Obama over his decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate of his health care law last year. In response, Obama made a speech in Austin, Texas, bemoaning Congress’s methods. In it, he said:

“I mean, think about that. You’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job — while you don’t do your job. There’s a great movie called ‘The Departed’ — a little violent for kids. But there’s a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg — they’re on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that they’re tracking. And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy. And the guy looks up and he says, ‘Well, who are you?’ And Wahlberg says, ‘I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.’ Sometimes, I feel like saying to these guys, ‘I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.’”

Its a pretty good comeback in the movie. It’s also probably the only one that doesn’t have an F-bomb or a reference to maternal sex acts to appear in that film. (Certainly it is the cleanest thing to come out of Mark Wahlberg’s mouth.) No wonder, then, that Obama tried to harness it to his purposes. Boehner, though, scoffed. In a column for National Review, he wrote, “Rather than trawling through IMDB for partisan attack lines, President Obama ought to pick up the telephone and call the Senate Democratic leaders who are blocking nearly 40 House-passed bills to help our economy grow and create more American jobs.”

We imagine Obama resents the idea that he had to “trawl” through IMDB to come up with that line. (He has speechwriters for that, natch.) But maybe he can come up with another classic Hollywood zinger to put Boehner in his place. Something like, “You can’t handle the truth,” or “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” or “You’re a virgin who can’t drive.” Hey, we’re not the speechwriters here, but that last one is pretty good.

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Boehner’s lawsuit a mistake

House Speaker John Boehner is correct that President Barack Obama has exceeded his authority in a way that violates and undermines the constitutional separation of powers. And he probably has a strong legal case to make that point.

The politics of the lawsuit he proposes, however, are wrong and unwise.

Boehner is asking the House to approve a resolution authorizing him, as speaker, to sue Obama on behalf of the body.

The U.S. Supreme Court has greatly restricted the ability of individual members of Congress to sue to contest executive branch actions. The high court hasn’t directly opined on the standing of a congressional body to sue. But lower courts have accepted such lawsuits.

So far, however, it has been on low-stakes matters, such as enforcing a subpoena. Boehner proposes a high-stakes constitutional confrontation that judges would prefer to duck.

And there will be grounds to duck it. Senate Democrats apparently have no objection to Congress being demoted to less than a coequal branch of government or having their lawmaking function usurped. So, the Senate won’t be joining Boehner’s lawsuit.

The offense of usurping Congress’ lawmaking function hasn’t, of course, been inflicted only against the House. It is an offense against Congress as a whole. And judges may very well concluded that only Congress as a whole, and not one chamber acting singly, has standing to bring the lawsuit Boehner is proposing.

This, however, is uncharted legal waters. And a resolution approved by a majority of one congressional chamber will be a hard thing for judges to duck.

So, Boehner has a decent chance of getting into a courtroom. And if he gets into the courtroom, he has more than a decent chance of winning.

Contrary to the dismissal of Obama and congressional Democrats, this isn’t a political stunt. Obama has asserted an authority to ignore plain statutory law and to essentially craft his own laws unseen since Richard Nixon. The constitutional offense is serious and important.

The problem for Boehner is that the challenge that is strongest legally makes for incomprehensible politics.

Boehner’s resolution specifically would authorize him to bring suit to challenge Obama’s failure to enforce the various provisions of Obamacare. The strongest legal challenge would be to the delay in the employer mandate.

The statutory language of Obamacare couldn’t be clearer. For the employer mandate, the effective date is stated thusly and fully: “The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.” There is no general saving clause in Obamacare authorizing the president to alter its provisions to smooth its implementation, the rationale that has been given for this and other Obamacare changes contrary to statute.

House Republicans, of course, oppose the employer mandate, indeed Obamacare in its entirety. House Republicans have voted to delay the employer mandate themselves. And the other administrative actions Obama has taken to loosen Obamacare’s statutory requirements also implement policy changes Republicans favor.

So, House Republicans would be suing Obama for doing things they think should be done. Boehner’s reason for doing so is sound, to defend the constitutional role of the legislative branch. But that stands no chance of getting through the irony of Republicans suing to make Obama enforce Obamacare provisions they think shouldn’t exist.

There are currently no better lawsuit targets. Obama also arguably exceeded his authority when he established a process for those brought to this country illegally as children to obtain renewable work permits. But the GOP has enough trouble with the Latino vote without suing to put an end to this program.

Many Republicans believe that Obama is exceeding his authority with his climate change regulatory actions. But so far, the courts are generally upholding them. So, while this might be a less politically dicey lawsuit, it has less chance of succeeding. And there are already plenty of private parties mounting such legal challenges.

This is a country in which liberty was intended to be protected by a tissue of procedural safeguards. The separation of powers is one of those.

An understanding and appreciation for that, however, is greatly attenuated in today’s body politic. A lawsuit to reinvigorate both the principle and the perception of its importance requires that the challenge be solid both legally and politically.

The Boehner lawsuit fails the second test. That makes it a mistake.

Reach Robb at Follow him on Twitter at @RJRobb.

(column for 7.18.14)

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