WASHINGTON, DC – The House Rules Committee held a hearing today on a draft resolution that would provide authority to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of the House of Representatives against the President for failing to carry out his duties under the Constitution. The Committee convened a panel of outside legal experts to discuss the resolution and the rationale for reaffirming the supremacy of the legislative branch in lawmaking in light of overreach by the executive branch.
In his opening remarks, Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) said, "My fear is that our nation is currently facing the exact threat that the Constitution is designed to avoid. Instead of faithfully executing the law as the Constitution requires, President Obama has instead selectively enforced the law in some instances, ignored the law in other instances, and, in a few cases, changed the law altogether, all without going through the required constitutional lawmaking process."
Professor Jonathan Turley, a nationally recognized legal scholar, highlighted the importance of the House taking action. "Today’s hearing is a historic step to address the growing crisis in our constitutional system," said Turley. "After years of eroding legislative authority, the decision of this body to take a stand and seek judicial review is a welcome change … [W]e remain a nation of laws and we have a court system designed to resolve such controversies. That is precisely where this authorization would take us and it is where these questions should be answered."
Elizabeth Price Foley, Professor of Law at Florida International University College of Law, noted the dangers of President Obama’s executive overreach. "By unilaterally taking it upon himself to waive, suspend or delay laws such as the ACA, the President not only fails to faithfully execute the law, he distorts political accountability—and democracy—itself."
The witnesses at today’s hearing were:
- Elizabeth Price Foley, Professor of Law, Florida International University College of Law
- Jonathan Turley, J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, The George Washington University Law School
- Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
- Walter E. Dellinger III, Partner, O'Melveny & Meyers LLP
Click here for additional information from today’s hearing.