4:33 PM, Jul 11, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
Speaker Boehner's proposed constitutional lawsuit against the president doesn't lack critics, including those who doubt that Congress has "standing" to bring such a case in federal court. And it's no surprise to find some conservatives among the critics: Conservative justices and judges were largely responsible for reinvigorating the doctrine of "standing" as a constitutional limit on judicial review of statutes and regulations.
But it is quite another thing to see liberals invoking rules of standing to bar courthouse doors, after spending decades complaining about the Rehnquist Court's invigoration of those very same rules, ever since the Supreme Court's rejection of environmentalists' standing in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (1992). This has been a common tactic throughout the Obama administration's defense of regulatory programs, but perhaps the best example came today, from Harvard's Cass Sunstein.
"It is ironic," he writes, that Boehner’s lawsuit proposal "speaks of separation of powers, the oath of office and constitutional principles," because such a lawsuit would "defy" the Constitution by lacking the requisite standing. "If it is actually brought," he predicts, "the House’s lawsuit, purportedly designed to promote conformity to the Constitution, will almost certainly be promptly dismissed -- on constitutional grounds."
Well, yes, let's talk about irony. Long before President Obama appointed him to direct the White House's review of regulations, Sunstein was a vocal critic of the standing doctrine. Writing in 1988, he urged that new standing doctrines were not truly constitutional, and that the best understanding of the Constitution's requirements—namely, of Article III's provision that federal courts only hear actual "cases" or "controversies," not merely abstract arguments—is that Congress can vest litigants with standing by enacting statutes authorizing judicial review:
The best interpretation of article III would recognize that Congress has the authority to define legal rights and obligations, and that it may therefore, by statute, create an injury in fact where, as far as the legal system was concerned, there had been no injury before. Article III does not require an injury in fact, even if the APA does, and article III certainly does not require a traditional private right. Article III requires a case or controversy, a concept that depends on the acts of Congress.
Four years later, after the Court reaffirmed its modern constitutional standing requirements in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (1992), Sunstein once again denounced the decision in scathing terms:
... Lujan's invalidation of a congressional grant of standing is a misinterpretation of the Constitution. It is now apparently the law that Article III forbids Congress from granting standing to “citizens” to bring suit. But this view, building on an unfortunate innovation in standing law by Justice William O. Douglas, is surprisingly novel. It has no support in the text or history of Article III. It is essentially an invention of federal judges, and recent ones at that. Certainly it should not be accepted by judges who are sincerely committed to the original understanding of the Constitution and to judicial restraint. Nor should it be accepted by judges who have different approaches to constitutional interpretation.
But perhaps Sunstein's most famous writing on standing came a few years later, when he argued that Congress had the power to give standing not just to people, but to animals:
GOP House Has Passed Five Times As Many Bills as Dem Senate.9:14 AM, Jul 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Twice in the past week, President Obama has needled Republicans in the House of Representatives by saying that while he's doing his job, the GOP House is "not doing anything." The first time was when he was in Minneapolis to spend a "
8:35 AM, Jun 25, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The problem America faces is not that government is dysfunctional—an election might fix that. It is that America is now governed by a New Political Class, divorced from the concerns of all save its richest constituents. The Class is bipartisan, with members of both parties strolling arm-in-arm into a future in which the privileges the Class has quietly arrogated to itself remain intact regardless of the results of any election.
5:01 PM, Jun 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
House Republicans elected California congressman Kevin McCarthy as their new majority leader Thursday afternoon. The election comes just more than a week after the outgoing majority leader, Eric Cantor, lost his primary in Virginia. Cantor will step down as majority leader on July 31. McCarthy defeated Idaho's Raul Labrador for the position.
5:00 PM, Jun 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama sought the advice of three initial supporters of the Iraq war on the current situation in Iraq. According to a White House readout of the meeting, the president this afternoon met with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner, all of whom voted to authorize the Iraq war (except Pelosi, who supported intervening recently in Syria).
11:20 PM, Jun 10, 2014 • By FRED BARNES
With their misleading talk about passing an immigration bill this year, Republican leaders are partly to blame for House majority leader Eric Cantor’s defeat at the hands of an unknown college professor.
1:11 PM, May 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, has issued a statement expressing support for Speaker of the House John Boehner's decision to have the House vote on forming a Select Committee on Benghazi.
"The Obama administration's ongoing reluctance to provide information and documentation voluntarily to the American people and their representatives has created the need for additional action by the House of Representatives," McConnell says in a statement released by his Senate office.
10:29 AM, May 2, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
UPDATE: Other news organizations confirm the report below that House speaker John Boehner will announce the formation of a select committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy.
8:55 AM, Apr 28, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Evidently, it is news when a spokesman for House minority leader Nancy Pelosi issues a statement denouncing the "failures of the Republican Congress.”
Could you not, upon learning of this, be knocked off your feet with a feather?
8:02 AM, Apr 8, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an interview last night on Megyn Kelly, House speaker John Boehner talked tough about investigating the IRS:
Fox News' Megyn Kelly said, "So, Lois Lerner facing contempt charges this week in addition to a push to have the DOJ start a criminal case against her for what?"
3:02 PM, Mar 27, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
As Vladimir Putin reminds us that hard power, military power – not “soft” or “smart” power – is the ultima ratio in international affairs, who speaks for the Republican party?
5:07 PM, Mar 13, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
House Speaker John Boehner marked Pope Francis’ first anniversary Thursday by extending an open invitation to him to address a joint meeting of Congress.
11:07 AM, Mar 4, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement released this morning, House Speaker John Boehner pledged "to impose consequences on Russia for its hostile act" against Ukraine.
“The U.S. has a responsibility to stand up for freedom and democracy around the globe, and we have a responsibility to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion. We will work with the Obama administration on measures to impose consequences on Russia for its hostile act," reads Boehner's statement.
10:01 AM, Feb 11, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I understand House Speaker John Boehner has just announced to his conference that he intends to bring the floor of the House a clean debt limit increase. Conservative members of the conference had argued for this course. Conservatives will vote against "Obama's debt increase," but expect it to pass with mostly Democratic votes, and some Republicans. This should take the prospect of government default or shutdown off the table, and with it one of the few Democratic talking points that might help save them this year.
3:45 PM, Jan 30, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
National Republican Congressional Committee chair Rep. Greg Walden told reporters at the House Republican retreat that immigration votes are "probably months out" and will be after the congressional primaries are mostly over.