Government Watch

That the Laws Be Faithfully Executed…

To:                House Colleagues
From:          Speaker Boehner
Re:               “[T]hat the Laws Be Faithfully Executed. . .”
Date:           June 25, 2014

For years Americans have watched with concern as President Barack Obama has declined to faithfully execute the laws of our country – ignoring some statutes completely, selectively enforcing others, and at times, creating laws of his own.

Article II, Section III of the Constitution of the United States dictates that the president, as head of the Executive Branch of our government, “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” even if the president does not agree with the purpose of that law.
Under the Constitution’s separation of powers principle, only the Legislative Branch has the power to legislate.

On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce – at times even boasting about his
willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him. On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators,
straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day.

Presidents have traditionally been granted a degree of latitude with respect to the enforcement of the law, and tension between the branches of our government is hardly new. But at various points in our history when the Executive Branch has attempted to
claim for itself the ability to make law, the Legislative Branch has responded, and it is only through such responses that the balance of power envisioned by the Framers has been maintained.

President Obama’s aggressive unilateralism has significant implications for our system of government, and presents a clear challenge to our institution and its ability to effectively represent the people.

If the current president can selectively enforce, change or create laws as he chooses with impunity, without the involvement of the Legislative Branch, his successors will be able to do the same. This shifts the balance of power decisively and dangerously in
favor of the presidency, giving the president king-like authority at the expense of the American people and their elected legislators.

It also has consequences for our economy and its ability to grow and create jobs. It’s bad enough when Washington politicians force laws upon the people that make it difficult for private-sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create
jobs. It’s even worse when those same laws are arbitrarily enforced on the whims of the individual entrusted with the responsibility of carrying them out, adding uncertainty for private-sector job creators and families on top of the challenges they already face

Everywhere I go in America outside of Washington, D.C., I’m asked: when will the House stand up on behalf of the people to stop the encroachment of executive power under President Obama? We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a
monarch or king.

Every Member of the People’s House took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is only through strong action by the House in response to provocative executive action by the Executive Branch in the past that the separation of powers
intended by the Framers has been preserved. For the integrity of our laws and the sake of our country’s future, the House must act now.

I intend to bring to the floor in July legislation that would authorize the House of Representatives – through the House General Counsel and at the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) – to file suit in the coming weeks in an effort to
compel the president to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country. The legislation would follow regular order and be considered by the Rules Committee following its introduction, prior to its consideration by the full House.

Under our system of government, the Judicial Branch has the power to resolve disputes between the Executive and Legislative Branches. When there is a failure on the part of the president to faithfully execute the law, the House has the authority to challenge this failure in the Judicial Branch by filing suit in Federal Court in situations in which:

  • There is no one else who can challenge the president’s failure, and harm is being done to the general welfare and trust in faithful execution of our laws;
  • There is no legislative remedy; and
  • There is explicit House authorization for the lawsuit, through a vote authorizing the litigation against the president’s failure.

I believe the House must act as an institution to defend the constitutional principles at stake and to protect our system of government and our economy from continued executive abuse. The president has an obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our country. When this legislation is introduced in the coming weeks, I ask that you review it and join me in supporting it when it goes before the House.

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George Shipp
7 years ago

We seem to be forgetting that Paybacks are Hell. The Republican party long ago decided to let Obummer shred the constitution, after all he surely can’t last forever!? The Republican plan is use all of Obummer’s violations as leverage to do the same when they reclaim power! I can hardly wait to see the sweat on uncle H. Reeds brow!! It is to bad the real losers are “we the people”. This condition would never get to this level of deceit if we had a workable program of “term Limits” in Washington.

7 years ago
Reply to  George Shipp

We do have a “workable program of term limits” George. It’s called voting. If the American people can’t or won’t vote out the ineffective or corrupt politicians in favor of more competent representation on their own behalf, then don’t expect the very same ineffective and corrupt politicians to pass a law that will do it for us. Why would they? This is the greatest “job” many of them will ever be able to get. Great pay. Great benefits for life. A leisurely, relaxed work schedule. They exempt themselves from most of the very laws that they themselves pass and then impose on the rest of us. They certainly don’t fear being voted out of office by the voters. To that last point, look at the results of the various primary races around the country. Incumbents who should have been defeated instead easily won in all but a few cases. So could you please tell me why, under those conditions, would any politician either author, co-sponsor or actually vote for any sort of legislation that would kick them out of the best job they’re ever likely to have?

Until the majority of American people take their role in our process of government seriously, which is to intelligently analyze and then vote for the best possible candidate to represent them not only in Washington, but at the state and local levels as well, nothing is going to materially improve and will likely only continue to get progressively worse. We have to stop expecting to be saved from ourselves and instead take positive action, via the ballot box, to effect the kind of positive changes we need as a nation to survive.

7 years ago

I’ll keep beating my drum … this is exactly what happens when our legislators are comprised of mainly attorneys!!!

There’s a reason 1/2 of all the attorneys in the whole wide world are here in the United States! … Why are they even allowed to become Senators and Congressmen? How can attorney politicians make the very laws that they then argue the loopholes of in a court of law? We have attorneys legislating the laws, challenging these very same laws in our so-called justice system, in front of attorneys who become judges and then have the final say in the Supreme Court of Attornys in the Land? We have the “retired” attorney politicians than becoming lobbiests that know how to “hide” all the payoffs they make to bribe the current attorney politicians to legislate a certain way!

And the merry-go-round goes round and round and NEVER STOPS!!!

Vote ALL the attorney politicians out in both parties … But start with the evil Socialist Party Members first!

Regular citizens could legislate fairer laws that benefited all citizens! Attorneys legislate laws to benefit themselves! … And the beat goes on and on and on and on … until we’re all slaves to our attorney masters!

7 years ago
Reply to  Rik

An additional comment: IRS official, Lois Lerner, is another example of what happens when puting attorneys in government positions. Why are attorneys becoming IRS employees anyway? If the IRS oversees the auditing of our tax collecting, shouldn’t they be hiring accountants and not attorneys? Isn’t that why we have a Justice Dept?

Attorneys are nothing more than legal crooks!!!

7 years ago
Reply to  Rik

One last comment(for now): the IRS and Lois Lerner need a better explanation on what happened to the “lost emails” than … “the dog ate my emails!”

7 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Hi Rik,

The entire “lost e-mails” story is not technically feasible the way virtually ALL modern e-mail services are designed and actively managed today. That the Republicans on the IRS investigative committee continue to play along with giving credence to this fantasy story being perpetuated by the IRS just demonstrates intellectual laziness on their part. Either that or they’re more interested in TV face time, than getting at the truth.

Get a dozen technical experts, not corporate CEOs or executives who don’t know anything about the underlying technologies of their own companies build, from any of the major vendors like IBM, Microsoft, Google, etc. and they can design a set a questions that will blow the IRS story out of the water in 15 minutes or less.

That Republicans continue to ask the wrong questions, assume that what the IRS leaders are telling them is factually correct and don’t independently verify the validity of any of this testimony by conferring with real subject matter experts in the technical field is disheartening to say the least.

7 years ago

Obama should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. he should loose all the money he has gained and privileges and put in jail.

lets give him the opportunity to live like the rest of the people with no jobs and let him see what has happened to the working people.

he is a disgrace to the united states and the people of the united states.

Obamacare should be repealed and any other thing that is against the Constitution he enforced or is responsible for.

7 years ago

I agree with PaulE! What took so long? I have been writing to my state representatives for months regarding my concerns not only with this Administration but our Congress not doing ANYTHING to this rogue president! I do believe if the Republicans win back the Senate and maintain control of the house impeachment proceedings should commence or “WE THE PEOPLE” will continue to take back our country and if this means getting rid of everyone who thinks they are safe then we shall rise up and make the changes!

7 years ago

Obama has commited treason and should be arrested. The
Military can do this if I’m not mistaken.

7 years ago
Reply to  Vaughn

Actually, the Sergeant at Arms has the authority to arrest the President. His number is listed on the government website, if I’m not mistaken. I had it, but can’t find it. Look it up and call demanding that he do it. If enough people call, maybe something will be done.

Mary Kate
7 years ago

All I want to know is when are impeachment proceedings going to start. It’s time… no… more than time to start proceedings and rid our country of incompetence in the White House.

Louie B
7 years ago

In the Supreme Court ruling, Chisholm v. Georgia 2 U.S. (Dallas) 419 (1793). Justice James Wilson said, in short, that the Constitution did “bind the several states by the Executive power of the national Government…”. “Ever since the time of Bracton, his maxim, “Supervacuum esset leges condere, nisi esset qui leges tueretur”. (” It would be superfluous to make laws, unless those laws, when made, were to be enforced”). When the laws are plain and the application of them is uncontroverted, they are enforced immediately by the Executive authority of Government. When the application of them is doubtful or intricate, the interposition of the judicial authority becomes necessary.” …………So, it is the job of the President Obama or any other President to enforce the laws or for the Supreme Court to clarify or overturn them. If overturned, Congress and the states can amend the Constitution. That’s a simplistic view of how it’s done. Sounds like this issue was settled in 1793.

7 years ago

So after five and half years of largely refusing to respond to the ever-louder calls from his own Party’s House members to start defending the Constitution and the American people from Obama’s increasingly excessive use of executive orders to bypass Congress and thus the will of the people represented by them, John Boehner has finally had enough and is now ready to act. Maybe. Color me surprised…NOT! What’s wrong Boehner? Did Cantor losing his primary finally serve as a much-needed wake up call for you and the rest of the GOP leadership that have taken the voters for granted for far too long? Is the idea of having to actually defend the seat you occupy from primary challengers now making you think that maybe, just maybe, you have to do more than say “Nothing can be done until 2017, when we’ll have both houses of Congress solidly Republican and a new Republican President in the White House.” If you sit back and do substantially nothing of any real substance between now and then, there won’t be much of a constitutional republic left to run. While I agree you can’t stop Obama completely between now and then, you can certainly take enough actions that will slow down his ability to execute upon his unilateral actions.

Sorry for what may appear to be a rant to other members of AMAC, but the action John Boehner is now proposing is something he could have easily begun at least two or three years ago. Given the rapid fire pace that Obama is systematically forcing Progressive changes upon the country, we cannot afford the luxury of a GOP leadership, in either house of Congress, that moves at an incredibly leisurely pace in response.

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