In a Google+ Hangout conversation Wednesday morning, constitutional law expert David Rivkin and South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice joined forces to answer questions regarding the proposed lawsuit against Barack Obama.
Citing Obama’s unconstitutional use of executive power, House Speaker John Boehner recently announced his plan to put the suit up for a legislative vote.
Rice noted that he has long been a supporter of legal action in an attempt to ensure Obama abides by the nation’s laws.
“We feel like the president has gone well beyond his authority in a number of areas,” he said.
Rivkin echoed his sentiment, noting that the lawsuit as proposed is an “effort to enforce … the entire separation of powers protection” included in the U.S. Constitution.
He cited Obama’s “unprecedented actions” beginning early in his first term, suggesting that “whatever you think about the policy merits,” his actions fail to pass constitutional muster.
“Our Constitution clearly sets forth the powers of the various branches of the government,” Rice chimed in, noting that Obama has not only tried to perform both legislative and administrative duties executive action, he has repeatedly sought to enforce certain laws more strictly against his political rivals.
“Somebody that can both write the law and enforce the law is more like a monarchy,” he concluded, noting that his ultimate goal in pursuing the suit “would be to make the president comply with the law.”
Several unanimous Supreme Court decisions – including the recent ruling that Obama inappropriately appointed National Labor Relations Board members – have given proponents of the suit more credibility.
“Those cases are helpful,” he affirmed, noting that Obama’s own actions also seem to be working against him.
“This president has been talking too much,” Rivkin said, adding he “has been extremely arrogant and it has taken a toll on things.”
He noted that, while some critics say the House might have a hard time proving it has standing to file the suit, history has proven the legislative branch is justified in making sure the executive branch abides by the law.
“The people who say this is the biggest hurdle are either urged to say so by the administration or don’t know the law,” he said.
Rice noted that, even compared to previous suits filed by the House against a sitting president, this one is far more legitimate.
“This is the House as an institution,” he said. “A majority of the members of the House presumably will vote … and bring this lawsuit to enforce its prerogative,” which is “vastly different than disgruntled legislators who didn’t get their way.”
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