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By John Boehner's Logic, a Lot of Presidents Should Have Been Sued

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Cross-posted from The Nation

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From youtube.com/watch?v=-IaLyrgDSww: Executive Order Signed By Obama
Executive Order Signed By Obama
(Image by YouTube)
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The US House of Representatives voted 225-201 last week for a measure "providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States."

Translation: House Republicans approved the use of public time and resources to support Speaker John Boehner's strategy to stir up the conservative base with a lawsuit challenging President Obama's authority to do what previous presidents have done.

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So, despite the fact that a majority of Americans see the lawsuit as a "political stunt," it will be pursued because, as House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan says, "We want to show that we're not going to take this lying down."

The timing of the vote -- just before the August congressional break in a critical election year -- certainly suggests that this lawsuit is more about politics than the Constitution. But political moves matter, especially at the presidential level. They matter electorally. And they matter from a policy standpoint.

So what's significant here is the question of whether Obama will be intimidated by Boehner's initiative.

The immediate answer would appear to be "no."

Though they have many complaints -- topped by the usual objections to implementation of the Affordable Care Act -- Boehner's minions have repeatedly raised particularly loud objections regarding the issuance of executive orders that that they see as too ambitious in their intention to protect the environment, aid vulnerable children and better the condition of workers. Yet, after the House voted to back Boehner, Obama issed another order.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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