2014-06-26 – I watched the US vs. Germany game today in the World Cup, but the real action was going on in the Portugal vs. Ghana game. Yes, the US could have clinched a position in the next round by winning or tying against Germany. But, since the US could advance even with a loss, the outcome really depended on how close the Portugal vs. Ghana game was. Fortunately for the US team, that game was close, so the US won with a loss. (Don’t make me explain it.)
It’s kinda the same thing with the lawsuit that House Speaker John Boehner announced he would be filing against President Obama, seeking to get a court to say that the President’s executive orders have overstepped his Constitutional authority. You think that this is just another move in the GOP vs. Obama game. And there is some truth to it. But there’s another game that’s lurking behind that: GOP vs. Hillary.
Here’s what’s going to happen. Normally, the correct plaintiff to challenge a presidential order is someone who is directly affected by the order. Some businessman, for example. This is required because federal courts don’t decide cases unless there is a “case or controversy.” They don’t want to get into second-guessing the other branches of government until someone is affected by an action.
If Congress, or a member of Congress, tries to mount this type of challenge without someone who is directly injured (actually or potentially) by an act of the President, the courts will normally call the case a “political question” and punt. Now, these are not normal times, but there is a substantial chance that the Supreme Court (ultimately) could say to John Boehner, “If you think the President is overstepping his bounds, impeach him. It’s not our job.”
That is what John Boehner wants: no decision together with an invitation to impeachment.
Here is what impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate would mean: Obama would be removed as President and . . . Joe Biden would become President. Joe Biden’s stock as a potential 2016 candidate would go up and Hillary’s would go down. The GOP thinks they would have an easier time beating Joe Biden than Hillary.
It’s a two-fer. They could smack Obama (which is something they prefer to actual governing) and hurt Hillary in the process.
Honestly, I’d rather that the courts not duck the issue. Obama hasn’t crossed the line more than any other President. But that doesn’t matter with the current Supreme Court. They’re in cahoots with John Boehner. The only thing that will save Obama from these wolves would be if Democrats maintain control of the Senate. Making gains in the House would be pretty tasty as well.