Skip to main content

As posted on CNN

Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.

But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.

That's why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.

So apparently Beohner is serious.  This is not a joke.  Or a dream.  He intends to have the House pass a resolution to have them attempt to sue the President, the head of the executive branch, for behaving like the head of the executive branch.

Remember when Dick Cheney proclaimed that as Vice President he wasn't a member of the Executive Branch or the Legislative Branch.  When he proclaimed he was effectively, in his own personal Fourth Branch of Government and that he and his office didn't have to abide either by Presidential Executive Orders or the Law regarding how Classified materials should be handled?

   The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), branch of the National Archives, confirmed that it does not possess any reports about what data Cheney’s office has classified or declassified.The Office of the Vice President (OVP) has previously done so in accordance with an executive order created by President Clinton in 1995, which aimed to create a uniform system of protecting classified information.

    Similarly, Cheney’s staff information is not included in the Plum Book, which identifies all presidential-appointed positions. In the last Plum Book, the OVP was listed as Appendix 5, which stated that the vice president is part of neither the executive nor the legislative branch of government.

This is important to remember because it was through the Office of the Vice President that Classified Information from the Iraq NIE was illegally funneled to Judith Miller at the New York Times, including the identity of Joe Wilson's wife Valerie Wilson who was a covert CIA operative.

Cheney was a a law unto himself. Untouchable. Unassailable. Inviolate.  But somehow Obama is completely "Out of Control"?

When we want to talk about Presidential "Law Breaking" and "ignoring the Constitution" it's good to keep it all slightly in perspective.  More of that perspective beyond the Little Orange Snakes of Pang Pang.

Keeping with the relative gravity and seriousness at the center of Boehner's accusation, I figure the best place to mount a counter-argument for his charges should be - quite appropriately I think - Snopes.

Claim:   President Obama has issued a whopping 923 executive orders, many of which give the government unprecedented power to take over control of civilian institutions.

Answer: False!

First of all, the number of executive orders issued by President Obama is grossly exaggerated here. Through his first term (i.e., the first four years of his presidency), Barack Obama issued 147 executive orders, not 923. (Now well into the second year of his second term, President Obama has issued a total of 168 executive orders overall.) Moreover, compared to President Obama's predecessors in the White House, this is not an unusually large number of orders for a modern president: President George W. Bush issued 291 executive orders during his eight years in office, while President Bill Clinton issued 364 such orders over the same span of time.

This chart compares the claimed number of orders issued by each president on the list with the actual number issued, as documented by The American Presidency Project:

   


                                                                                                                                                                     
Name Number claimed: Actual number:


Theodore Roosevelt
3 1081
Franklin Roosevelt 11 3,522
Harry Truman 5 907
Dwight Eisenhower 2 484
John Kennedy 4 214
Lyndon Johnson 4 325
Richard Nixon 1 346
Gerald Ford 3 169
Jimmy Carter 3 320
Ronald Reagan 5 381
George H W. Bush 3 166
Bill Clinton 15 364
George W. Bush 62 291
Barack Obama 923 147
All the President's who've issued more E.O.'s than Barack Obama are intalicized, which in fact is damn near all of them since Teddy with special notification going to FDR because he was Off the Chain!

So when John Boehner and the House TeaPublicans claim that Barack Obama has issued an "Unprecedented" amount of Executive Orders - that is in fact - A Lie.

Going beyond mere quantity, we must also consider the quality and scope of the executive order other President's have order when contrasted to President Obama and whether these orders constitute "Unconstitutional Overreach".

For this we turn to Forbes.

No specific provision in the U.S. Constitution and no statute explicitly permits or governs executive orders, and on these grounds alone the “strict” constitutionalists insist that none are ever warranted. But even John Locke defended the principle of executive “prerogative,” in 1690, as long as it violated no rights. There’s also a grant of “executive power” in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, as well as a requirement” (in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5) that the executive branch “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Executive orders are valid so long as they don’t violate other provisions and rights.

Historically, legal counselors to U.S. presidents have justified executive orders on these brief and somewhat ambiguous Constitutional passages. But additionally, in Mississippi v. Johnson (1866), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a U.S. president legitimately performs two basic functions – ministerial and discretionary – and that executive orders can legitimately facilitate each. Not until 1952 were specific rules and guidelines given for what a president could or could not via executive orders. In Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952) the Supreme Court invalidated Truman’s decree on steel mills, on the grounds that he was attempting to make law (a legislative function), not merely carrying out (or “executing”) existing law. Presidents since that decision have tried to cite the specific laws they are acting under, when issuing new executive orders.

We see that legal challenges to executive orders aren’t unknown, and some succeed. Thus critics of Mr. Obama’s orders should file lawsuits, as a remedy, if they can prove that his decrees seek to make law or else violate rights. It isn’t enough for these critics to claim that Mr. Obama has issued many orders.

So the proper remedy would be to file lawsuits for each specific offending order, rather than a blanket vague generalized condemnation of the President as "overreaching".

The problem with doing that may be the issue of "standing" and also is it even Constitutional for the Courts to weigh in on a matter like this?

Time after time, when members of Congress have sued in the courts, because the Executive Branch did something that they believe frustrated the will of Congress, they have been met at the door of the courthouse with a polite refusal to let them in. Failing to get their way in the skirmishing with the White House does not give members of Congress a right to take their grievance into court. Frustration does not make a real lawsuit, according to this notion.

Some lawyers and scholars, however, have from time to time wondered if this situation has to continue unchanged. Since the Constitution also gives to Congress the authority to define the jurisdiction of the federal courts, what cases they can and cannot decide, why couldn’t Congress just pass a law declaring that one house or some of the members of Congress do have a right to sue the President over a legitimate inter-branch dispute, in order to protect the legislative prerogative of that part of the government? Wouldn’t that work to get such a lawsuit past the door of the courthouse?

It is a plausible argument, and columnist George Will found it entirely persuasive in the column quoted above. There is a catch, though: expanding the jurisdiction of the courts to hear what are, at their core, political disputes would still be an attempt to create a “case or controversy” that satisfied Article III’s requirements.   In other words, the constitutionality of such an expansion of court authority would itself be a constitutional issue that the courts would have the authority to decide.

Many different executive orders have had broad impacts from Franklin Roosevelt order which called for the internment of Japanese American Citizens during WWII.  It was President Truman who used an executive order to racially desegregate the Military.  it was President Kennedy who use an executive order to required that all branches of the government and it's contractors implement Affirmative Action to reverse the direct effects of discrimination.  It was President George W. Bush who used executives order to create the legal Gulag known as Gitmo, as well as other executive orders which violated the Geneva Conventions and attempted to carve exemptions and loopholes to the War Crimes Act  - a colossal and massive overreach that produced not one (Hamdi v Rumsfeld), not two (Hamdan v Rumsfeld) but THREE (Boumediene v Bush) slap to the back of the neck level rebukes by the Supreme Court.

Oh, and also, before the jurisdiction of the courts could be expanded to grant Congress "standing" to sue for all these executive orders - rather than the persons directly "harmed" by them, and it's not likely the undocumented children who spent their entire lives in the U.S. who've been granted an executive reprieve, or LGBT individuals who will no longer be discriminated against by Federal Contractors would even consider themselves to be "harmed"  - the President would have to sign such an expansion into Law.

I don't see that as very likely.

But now let's finally allow Mr. Beohner to carry on with his Lie-ness.

After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, 'where are the jobs?' The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills that would help. But Washington Democrats, led by the President, just ignore them.
"Where are the Jobs" He asks?  Still?  We've being growing the jobs, and not really all that slowly anymore.
Jobs Report
The US Just Broke The Record For The Longest Stretch Of Private Sector Job Growth

The stellar June jobs report, which crushed economists' expectations, brought with it a new milestone. Private-sector job growth has increased in 52 consecutive months — the longest streak on record, according to the White House.

Private payrolls added 262,000 jobs in June, making up the bulk of the 288,000 jobs added. The new private-sector streak, which began in March 2010, surpasses the previous streak of 51 consecutive months of private-sector growth from February 1996 through April 2000.

It's likely to continue for the foreseeable future — this is the first time job growth has been above 200,000 for five straight months since September 1999 through January 2000.

We have now broken the record for the longest consecutive sustained period of job growth since the last record - which ended with the start of President Bush's first term.  This job streak of job growth of course ended several months after the End of Bush's second term and has mostly had to recovered from the massive JOBS HOLE that the policies of his administration left us in.

Considering the size of that hole, which was second only to the Great Depression - it's really hard to see exactly what Beohner is complaining about.

And also 40 Jobs Bills?  You have indeed read that correctly, House Republicans claim without any apparent irony or humor that they have placed no less than 40 Separate "Jobs Bills" on the desk on Senator Harry Reid only to have them go ignored.  How could such a thing be possible?  What does Harry Reid hate American Workers or something?  

Well, um, No!

This is yet another Wingnut Meme that's going around. And is also bogus.

House Republicans Blatantly Lie to American's that they Passed 40 "Jobs Bills"

The thing is, there are no jobs bills waiting for approval by the Senate. The new tactic by House Republicans is to call every single bill that they pass a ‘jobs bill.’ An anti-abortion bill? Yep, jobs bill. Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that will put billions of dollars in the pockets of the Koch brothers? Yep, jobs bill. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has actually put together a list of bills that have passed the House that he feels are ‘jobs bills.’ There is just one little problem. They aren’t going to create any new jobs!

In Boehner’s mind, repealing Obamacare, slashing regulations, gutting social programs and eliminating federal agencies is somehow going to create more jobs. One bill that Stutzman pointed to in his address, the SKILLS Act, is something the Boehner and Republicans have hyped up as important to job creation. However, the likelihood is that it would actually create a net negative in jobs. While the GOP can tout it as important to helping people train for new jobs, what it really does is eliminates many existing federal programs, putting government employees out of work.

So Boehner's "Jobs Bills" actually put Women's Clinics out of business, and will help poison our rivers, lakes, streams and water table - so lots of people will lose the jobs that depend on those resources - and puts federal workers out of a job because we know for every person in federal service or a police officer, or fireman, or teacher there's a private sector company that is just so desperately held back back from roaring forward.  

Yes -sure - ADT, Securitas and Sylvan Learning Centers are just raring to pick up the slack of serving, protecting and educating all the poor unwashed masses who barely have a two dimes to rub together to be able pay their premiums and fees.

Lastly let me let Sally Kohn of CNN response more succinctly to Mr. Boehner.

Dear Speaker Boehner, Do your Job, Instead.

With all due respect, Speaker Boehner, it's as though the fog of extreme partisanship that has colored your dealings with President Obama since day one has suddenly turned into a full-on fever of irrationality.

Think about this for just a second: House Republicans are using taxpayer dollars to fund a lawsuit against a President who has literally done not only what every president before him has done but has done it less often and is doing so now only because House Republicans repeatedly refuse to even vote on legislation, let alone pass anything.

Don't think that recovery is fast enough, Speaker Boehner? Then pass laws to help rather than jeering from the sidelines and rooting for America to fail so you can blame it on President Obama.

If House Republicans don't like these executive orders, then pass immigration reform and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Don't sue the President. Passing laws that our nation wants and needs is doing your job. Suing the President just because you don't like him is irresponsible partisan petulance.

Yeah, what she said.

Vyan

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Thumb, chuck utzman, filkertom, Emerson, karlpk, Fabienne, Sherri in TX, grover, expatjourno, davelf2, TracieLynn, CanisMaximus, aitchdee, psnyder, TexDem, NYFM, defluxion10, riverlover, BlogDog, Dood Abides, nswalls, mungley, randallt, KayCeSF, Nova Land, rapala, CPT Doom, A Citizen, blueyedace2, SherwoodB, Tonedevil, Gary Norton, reflectionsv37, bleeding blue, where4art, Tunk, Savvy813, peacestpete, Alan Arizona, RJDixon74135, martini, golem, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, BlueInARedState, dopper0189, mr crabby, cookseytalbott, philipmerrill, twigg, Rosaura, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, onionjim, SingerInTheChoir, BlueMississippi, IL clb, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Temmoku, AllanTBG, Thinking Fella, Cronesense, Loudoun County Dem, ColoTim, gloriana, Matt Z, HCKAD, MI Sooner, carpunder, JML9999, on the cusp, Empower Ink, gizmo59, TX Freethinker, ChocolateChris, HappyinNM, GAS, elwior, jakebob, jamess, pamelabrown, hwmnbn, Jeff Y, BYw, suesue, JamieG from Md, Mayfly, Diogenes2008, rubyclaire, MufsMom, CanyonWren, LibrErica, petral, papahaha, kevinpdx, Shelley99, histOries Marko, stevenwag, sfarkash, Tortmaster, jfromga, collardgreens, Vita Brevis, Larsstephens, commonmass, CS in AZ, Polly Syllabic, leftist vegetarian patriot, Man from Wasichustan, kacemo, DerAmi, DiegoUK, rja, ZedMont, fiercefilms, slice, snapples, kerflooey, Front Toward Enemy, slowbutsure, La Gitane, trumpeter, thomask, BarackStarObama, IB JOHN, RMForbes, bakeneko, Vatexia, SteelerGrrl, leftykook, Auriandra, Mathazar, Take a Hard Left, AnnetteK, jacey, anodnhajo, TheLizardKing, Siri, IndieGuy, ahumbleopinion, a2nite, Deep Texan, Trotskyrepublican, FreeSpeaker, FiredUpInCA, peachcreek, jan4insight, Syoho, willrob, AspenFern, reginahny, MartyM, doroma, wxorknot, arizonablue, etherealfire, bigrivergal, wasatch, ZatCSU, koseighty, Linda1961, Late Again, SanFernandoValleyMom, leeleedee, Jon Sitzman, Smoh, nice marmot, Hey338Too, mmcnary, skepticalcitizen, TheDuckManCometh, nancyjones, Dodgerdog1, LiberalLoner, BMScott, Wes Kobernick, PurpleElectric, damnit

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site