White House Press Secretary Offers Short, Ineffectual Lesson in Government Economics

By Dan Cadman on July 1, 2014

Multiple media sources are reporting that Speaker John Boehner is planning to push a measure in the House of Representatives that will authorize filing a lawsuit against the president for his multiple executive actions in flagrant disregard of congressional legislative authority.

Many of those actions have been in the arena of immigration policy, in which he and his administration seem over the past few years to have been hell-bent on eviscerating enforcement in the interior of the country, with no apparent recognition of the collateral damage such a policy inevitably also does at the border — until the recent embarrassing surge of tens of thousands of aliens pouring across the Rio Grande Valley in Texas caught their attention in a classic deer-in-the-headlights moment.

So far, Boehner has been coy about exactly which executive actions will be the focus of the suit, and some pundits and legal analysts are openly questioning whether courts will find that Congress has standing to pursue the kind of suit Boehner has in mind, regardless of which executive actions become the subject of the suit.

The issue of standing is a thorny one, on which I have written recently, expressing my concern and outrage that it is often so narrowly construed that ordinary Americans are deemed not to have a stake in the future of their country, particularly where immigration policy and practice are concerned.

But if the courts cannot find that the House of Representatives has standing to assert its right to protect its constitutionally granted lawmaking power against overreach by the executive branch, then the country is indeed in deeper waters than even I, cynic of cynics, suspect. I imagine that the matter will end up in the Supreme Court, no matter what the lower courts find. If so, one would expect Justice Kagan to step aside as a matter of propriety and prudence, given her ties to this administration.

Now here's a hoot: Newly appointed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is quoted as saying about the intended suit, "The fact that they are considering a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job, I think, is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn't support."

In thinking about the irony inherent in that statement, it's instructive to remember that the president was forced to declare a "humanitarian crisis" because of the surge his administration has caused, thus providing access to the tens of millions of dollars it will cost the taxpayers — at least two million of which is going to unlawfully fund legal representation for the aliens the administration claims that it is interested in removing promptly as a deterrent to additional future border crossers.

Does Mr. Earnest think we're too stupid to understand the cognitive dissonance that comparison invokes?