By SUA Staff
Say what you will, but the proposed law suit against Obama being planned by Speaker Boehner on Executive Branch over reach was held its first hearing today on the authorization to initiate action bill and it was very enlightening to those who follow the law and constitutional issues closely.
We are in a Constitutional Crisis and many believe that the erosion of Congress and the Executive Branch increasing in size and scope, we are in a de facto state of hidden martial law already.
Whether you are in agreement with famous columnist Thomas Sowell who believes this is the wrong time and will only be a distraction that could hurt the Republicans, or are from the “kick them all out now” crowd, or are from the “left, this is all a circus” clan, this is a very serious time and a very serious subject for all Americans.
This is not about party politics, its about “we the people” having our say through our representatives matter, or whether Congress will soon be irrelevant. You decide, but watch and educate yourself, these are foundational issues that could spell our entire future.
The now famous, and perhaps the leading expert on constitutional law, Georgetown Professor Jonathan Turley was joined by Elizabeth Price Foley from Florida International University School of Law as the two scholars invited by the majority. The minority invited Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, and William Dellinger from Duke University where he is currently on leave.
All were prepared to field questions regarding whether or not the House of Representatives have “standing” to sue the President. Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Hon. Pete Sessions (R-TX) ran the hearing and the minority Ranking Member is Hon. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). There were 11 other representatives on the committee, but Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was absent. The other members of the committee are:
- Hon. Virginia Foxx, Vice-Chairman, R-North Carolina;
- Hon. Rob Bishop, R-Utah;
- Hon. Tom Cole R-Oklahoma;
- Hon. Rob Woodall R-Georgia;
- Hon. Richard B. Nugent R-Florida;
- Hon. Daniel Webster R-Florida;
- Hon. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas
- Hon. James P. McGovern D-Massachusetts;
- Hon. Alcee L. Hastings D-Florida;
- Hon. Jared Polis D-Colorado;
The hearing generally ran with class and dignity, save for some obvious politicking and outbursts from the left. The sober discussion was a great education for all, but a few people tried very hard to make it look like it was a ‘circus’ conducted by the right.
What became painfully clear though was that right argued law, and the left argued politics and made partisan accusations about intentions. So who was the “Elijah Cummings Circus Clown” for today’s hearing?
We believe all would say that was obvious, Rep. McGovern from Massachusetts. He could not help himself and when the witnesses were asked if they could stay past the time allotted for the hearing, Dellinger made a joke about staying until the “last dog was dead.” to which McGovern shouted out of turn that the “dog died two hours ago.”
Such class! Another irony is that Rep. Alcee Hastings currently sits on the committee. Yes he who was once a judge that was impeached, tried in the US Senate, and convicted in 1989:
In a solemn two-hour proceeding, the Senate today removed Federal District Judge Alcee L. Hastings from the bench by convicting him of eight impeachment articles, including one charging that he had conspired to obtain a $150,000 bribe. The vote was 69 to 26, providing five votes more than the two-thirds of those present that were needed to convict. The first article accused the judge of conspiracy. Conviction on any single article was enough to remove the judge from office, and he left shortly after the vote. Hastings Assails Verdict
The U.S, government should have never reached a point where concerned lawmakers who understand the the Constitutional government is broken must consider such measures seriously, as we all should. It has eroded to the point that we now have four branches of government; Legislative, Executive, Judicial and one new one, Obama’s “phone and pen” branch.
Rep. Woodall, R-Georgia asked the question that the system is broken, and if we don’t fix it now, then when? We highly recommend that you watch the hearing in the video at the bottom of this post. We also recommend that you read Jonathan Turley’s opening remarks in writing here. Here is an excerpt:
U.S. lawmakers, lawyers argue over House Republican plan to sue Obama
By Annika McGinnis -Posted at Yahoo News
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican effort to sue President Barack Obama over his use of executive powers got under way in Congress on Wednesday at a hearing where lawmakers and constitutional law experts bickered over the move in a taste of the politicking to come.
The House of Representatives’ Rules Committee is expected to vote next week on a resolution authorizing a lawsuit centering on Obama’s delays and other changes to his signature health insurance reform law, with a floor vote before the end of July.
House Speaker John Boehner is pursuing the suit to protect Congress’ rights from what he calls Obama’s “king-like” overreach of executive authority in making unilateral moves to advance his agenda. Republicans argue that a prime example of this was Obama’s decision last year to delay a mandate for larger firms to provide employees health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a law they have tried unsuccessfully to repeal for years.
The case would likely take months, perhaps years, to wind its way through the courts, but its timing gives Republicans a new line of attack against Obama in their campaigns before November’s congressional elections, in which they are trying to win back control of the Senate and build on their House majority.
During the Rules Committee’s nearly five-hour hearing on Wednesday, Democrats on the panel accused Republicans of spending taxpayer money on a political “stunt” that they called “haphazard,” “frivolous” and “preposterous.”
“We’re here because my Republican friends don’t like Barack Obama,” said Democratic Representative Jim McGovern. “They don’t like that he was elected twice. They don’t like that he’s more popular than they are, and they really don’t like that the Affordable Care Act is actually working.”
Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Republican, said the case was an important effort to preserve the separation of powers envisioned by America’s founding fathers. “My fear is that our nation is currently facing the exact threat that the Constitution is designed to avoid. Branches of government have always attempted to exert their influence on the other branches, but this president has gone too far,” he said.
Constitutional law experts disagreed on whether Obama had overstepped his authority and whether the House of Representatives had legal standing to pursue the case. Elizabeth Price Foley, law professor at Florida International University College of Law, said the litigation was the most “tailored and appropriate response” to Obama’s actions. “States can sue to preserve their power; the executive branch can sue to preserve its power, but somehow, magically, Congress can’t?” Foley said.
Her position contrasted with a column she wrote in February for “The Daily Caller” website, in which she said, “Congress probably can’t sue the president” because of limits imposed by Supreme Court decisions. Simon Lazarus, a counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, argued that the lawsuit “mocked” the Constitution and “flouted long-established Supreme Court precedent.”
He said Obama was merely doing his job by “carrying laws into execution,” adding that federal statutes provide the president some leeway in implementation. “Good faith, reasonable, phasing in” of the ACA was constitutionally authorized, he said. Democratic lawmakers said the fact that Boehner decided to sue Obama before even pinpointing a focus proved the suit was “pure politics.”
(Reporting by Annika McGinnis, writing by David Lawder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)