Thursday, July 31, 2014

Boehner's Lawsuit Is "Impeachment Lite"

 Paul Ryan: "[The Republicans’ differences with the White House do] not rise to the high crime and misdemeanor level."


Impeachment Lite? "Many conservatives have urged House Republicans to begin impeachment proceedings against Obama. Indeed, all five Republicans who voted against the lawsuit, including Paul Broun of Georgia and Steve Stockman of Texas, did so because they believe impeachment is more appropriate. While these calls have been limited mainly to marginal figures on the right...House Majority Whip Steve Scalise refused to rule it out....House Speaker John Boehner and many other leading members of the GOP, however, have opposed the possibility of impeachment, calling it a political misstep. The lawsuit is viewed as an alternative that would appease the GOP’s base without alienating more moderate voters." Ben Jacobs and Tim Mak in The Daily Beast.

Why the lawsuit could be a bigger headache for the GOP than impeachment. "In the fall campaign, it will be much easier for Democrats to tether Republican candidates in key races to the push for a lawsuit than it will to tie them to impeachment calls. That's why it could be a bigger problem. Sure, midterms are about base enthusiasm. And Republican leaders probably looked at a lawsuit as a way to fire up their base....But...why do it? Polls had already shown that the Republican base was more enthusiastic about voting in the fall than Democrats. Democrats have desperately been searching for ways to get their voters to go to the polls this fall. Republicans may have just inadvertently handed them a big one." Sean Sullivan in The Washington Post.

Explainer: 21 fundraising emails from Democrats about impeachment. The Atlantic.

An unprecedented and novel suit. "Plenty of Congress members, in both parties, have filed lawsuits or briefs in support of suits against presidents. Generally, federal judges dismiss the cases because usually only those affected by the law had standing to file suit. The novel idea for Thursday’s vote was driven by a clutch of conservative legal scholars who contend that the best way for Republicans to have legal standing in federal court is if the entire body passes legislation authorizing it....If the federal courts take up the matter, it could take years to reach conclusion and may have a larger impact on setting the parameters of the balance between the next president and Congress." Paul Kane and Zachary A. Goldfarb in The Washington Post.

Past lawsuits by members of Congress have failed. Why is this time any different? "It might not be. But lawyer David Rivkin and Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley have crafted some new and untested arguments — since adopted by Boehner in a memo to House Republicans — to justify why the House might have standing to sue the president for failing to execute the laws, in the following narrow and specific circumstances:" Andrew Prokop in Vox.

Primary source: The case for suing the president. David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley in The Wall Street Journal.

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