Suing and fuming: Boehner’s lawsuit against Obama is a bad move

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Most Americans would agree that this nation has too much partisanship and too many lawsuits. In announcing last week that he will seek legislation for the House of Representatives to sue President Barack Obama, Speaker John Boehner embraces a double dose of negativity.

In a letter to lawmakers, Mr. Boehner wrote, “The Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws; in my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws.” He was not specific about what laws he was referring to, but he said that it’s “our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve.”

One problem is that while the Obama administration offers examples of presidential overreach, it was also true of the George W. Bush administration, which was often accused of asserting imperial powers. Mr. Bush engaged in the deplorable practice of appending signing statements to legislation, something that, unfortunately, has continued under Mr. Obama. This battle between the White House and Congress over their prerogatives is an old one, yet only now are Republicans moved to sue.

Mr. Obama’s latest frustration is the House’s refusal to fix the nation’s immigration system. On Monday the president said he would act on his own to address some of the problems. On Tuesday, he taunted his congressional adversaries: “So sue me.”

Even if legislation permitting a lawsuit could be passed, the case would be pursued at taxpayers’ expense. Mr. Boehner, in sticking up for his institution, is not sticking up for them. Members of Congress are paid to do their jobs; running to the courts because they have a problem with the president is not in the job description.

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