President Obama and Executive Orders

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday that he could have an announcement within days on whether the House will file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, challenging the executive actions that have become the keystone of the administration. 

The lawsuit could set up a significant test of constitutional checks and balances, with the legislative branch suing the executive branch for ignoring its mandates, and the judiciary branch deciding the outcome. 

Boehner told the House Republican Conference during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning that he has been consulting with legal scholars and plans to unveil his next steps this week or next.

How dare the President do his job, when Republican obstructionists don’t want him to do it.

To make their case the conservatives recently started passing around an email claiming that Obama had issued a whopping 923 executive order. However Snopes disproves this urban legend, and reported that there were only a measly 147, which has now grown to a still quite measly 168.

In fact as TPM reports President Obama is on the very low end for issuing executive orders:

executive orders

Congressional Republicans threw a fit when President Obama said during his State of the Union address that he would issue executive orders to forward policies if he couldn’t reach an agreement with Congress. 

“He’s not a king,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said, warning that House conservatives might just sue Obama if he followed through on his pledge. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) bemoaned Obama’s “imperial presidency” in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal

But, as the chart above shows, Obama has been downright thrifty in issuing executive orders by historical standards. 

His 168 executive orders come out to less than 0.1 for every day he’s been in office. FDR, by comparison, was cranking out close to one per day as he faced the Great Depression and World War II. 

So I would like to assume that Boehner is simply throwing out some red meat for the paint chip eaters, because if he seriously takes this to a judge he is going to get laughed right out of court.

On the other hand perhaps President Obama can sue these obstructionists for taking federal money and not even pretending to do the jobs they were elected to do.


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