Boehner will either include the [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] program among his list of the president’s supposedly illegal executive actions, and thus cement his party’s standing as one that represents the reactionary anti-immigrant minority in the country; or he’ll leave DACA out, giving tacit consent to the program and infuriating the anti-immigrant faction of his own conference.
And he may have just tipped his hand toward the anti-immigrant bunch. In a Sunday CNN.com op-ed, Boehner subtly alluded to his underlying thinking by making clear that his pursuit of legal action is a last resort—the end of a concerted legislative effort to rein Obama in, specifically with respect to his immigration policies. “I don’t take the House legal action against the President lightly,” Boehner wrote. “We’ve passed legislation to address this problem (twice), but Senate Democrats, characteristically, have ignored it.” Boehner didn’t name the two bills in the article. But his staff confirms that they are the ENFORCE the Law Act and the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, both of which were drafted with an eye toward reversing DACA.
If that turns out to be true, Drum finds Boehner’s choice of battleground odd:
If you’d asked me, I would have said that Boehner’s best bet for the first couple of lawsuits would be Obama’s unilateral extension of both the employer mandate and the individual mandate in Obamacare. Politically it’s a winner because it’s Obamacare, and the tea party hates Obamacare. Legally, it’s a winner because Boehner has a pretty good case that Obama overstepped his authority.
But if Beutler is right, he may instead be targeting DACA, the so-called mini-DREAM Act. This is peculiar.
True, the tea party hates it, so it has that going for it. However, it was a very popular action with the rest of the country. It was also, needless to say, very popular with Hispanics, a demographic group that Republicans covet. And legally, this puts Boehner on tricky ground too. Presidents have pretty broad authority to decide federal law-enforcement and prosecutorial priorities, so Obama will be able to make a pretty good case for himself. It’s not a slam-dunk case, and it’s certainly possible he could lose. But he sure seems to be on more solid ground than with the Obamacare mandate delays.
Meanwhile, Erick Erickson isn’t down with the whole suing the president thing:
I realize John Boehner and the House Republicans may lack the testicular fortitude to fight President Obama, but I would kindly ask that he save the taxpayers further money on a political stunt solely designed to incite Republican voters who might otherwise stay home given the establishment’s bungling of Mississippi and abandonment of their constitutionally derived powers. John Boehner’s lawsuit is nothing more than political theater and a further Republican waste of taxpayer dollars. If the Republican leaders in the House are too chicken to use their constitutional powers to rein in the President, they should just call it a day and go home.
Jay Newton-Small calls out Republicans for wanting Obama to be both more and less powerful, citing the Keystone pipeline, trade, most foreign policy issues and the border crisis as matters the GOP wants the president to “do more” about. In a follow-up post, Beutler considers why Boehner is willing to go ahead with this lawsuit even if rump rabble-rousers like Erickson are against it:
The irony is that this time around, Boehner’s attempt to run an end around of his own on Republican activists isn’t entirely about avoiding a political mistake like the October government shutdown. Maybe he’ll get laughed out of court for lack of standing. But if he gets heard and wins, his victory—even a partial one; even one decided at the end of or after Obama’s presidency—would be binding on the next president, too. And should she be a Democrat, the precedent would hang over her head like the sword of Damocles. A constant reminder that a Republican majority in either the House or the Senate would have an entirely new ability to limit her ability to govern in absence of legislative compromise.
That would be a pretty big legacy for Boehner. But first he has some decisions to make.