The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed along party lines an unprecedented action suing the President of the United States. For the greatest do nothing Congress in our history, the lawsuit reaches a new level of dysfunction. The lawsuit is a waste of the people’s money and time. The lawsuit is a partisan act that will probably succeed in helping to raise money for the Republican Party coffers. In point of fact, the lawsuit dishonors the institution and has no chance of accomplishing anything. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives sought to sue a sitting President.
We have three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. Each branch of government acts as a check and balance on the other two branches. Each branch of government has distinct responsibilities.
It is important to note that the Constitution confers upon the President of the United States the power that goes with being the Chief Executive. To quote, Article II, Section 1., “The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States.” No where does it state that this power is to be shared by any other branch of government. The Executive Branch includes Departments whose job is to execute the laws that Congress has passed. We call that group of individuals the bureaucracy. Laws don’t always start out working with great efficiency. Social Security and Medicare are examples of large-scale enterprises that had to work out the kinks as they were rolled out to the public. It took time for those programs to work smoothly. Actions were needed to fix problems that did not require Congressional approval. It is the Executive Branch that must administer our laws. The danger in this type of lawsuit is that if it were to go forward it would act to hamstring any future President of the United States.
The Affordable Care Act is another complicated piece of legislation that will take time to work as well as it was intended to.
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court found it to be Constitutional. But the losers in the fight against the passage of the ACA can not accept defeat, they are willing to do anything to see that the law is not faithfully executed including suing the President of the United States.
Congress has the power of the purse. Historically, the President of the United States proposes legislation and Congress disposes of those proposals. Congress may also offer its own legislative proposals.
The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and they decide on the legality of issues that effect our daily lives. One job that it does not have is to legislate. But in essence that is what the House of Representatives action yesterday is asking the court to do. It is asking the Supreme Court to step in and determine if the President faithfully executed the law of the land, the ACA, by delaying the implementation of the Group Health part of the act. The history of the court indicates that it has been more than reluctant to intervene into the legislative and executive process. An even greater danger to our system of checks and balances would be if this court, this activist court, accepts the abrogation of responsibility of Congress and decides to resolve disputes, political disputes between the other two branches of the government. This would give too much power to the Judicial Branch, members of which are not elected and not accountable to the voters.
It is ironic and hypocritical that the House, which has continued to vote over and over again to repeal the ACA, has now decided to sue the President for not enforcing the law they have sought to repeal.
The lawsuit seeks appropriate relief from the court. What does that mean? If you or I sued someone we would be expected to cite causes of action, damages or some sort of relief that the party seeking help from the court would find remedial.
The part of the Affordable Care Act that is in dispute is the part that seeks to penalize businesses that do not offer basic health care to their employees. How could any court offer relief in a situation that requires executive action to penalize businesses? Is the court being asked by the House to decide on what penalty the remedy would be? The Supreme Court does not have the power to decide such issues.
If a President in the future is unhappy with a Congress does this lawsuit, if it goes forward, give some future President the idea to ratchet upwards the already hyper partisan atmosphere by deciding to sue Congress?
The House of Representatives has failed in its responsibility to be the place where action is taken to provide for the general welfare of the people. It has been blinded by partisanship. We, the people, have our chance to sue the House by voting to remove those who we see as unfit to serve, that is our ultimate remedy. Our political disputes do not belong in our courts they belong in the voting booth.
The lawsuit is a horrible idea. The American people are the ultimate losers when you have this level of dysfunction. Is this the harbinger of things to come? Are we hearing the death rattle of our Republican form of government? Partisanship has been the cause of death of all previous Republics in history. Does this signal of death of our Republic?