Congressional Standing

Can Congress sue the president for not faithfully executing the laws?

Sure seems like it to me. It would be nice to see what the Founders intended: checks and balances between the branches, instead of between political parties.

Apropos of nothing in particular, David Rifkin is one of my attorneys in the Mann suit.

[Update a while later]

Why are the House and Senate surrendering so much power to the Executive branch?

The American people do not understand what their congressmen and women are saying. Simply put, the legislative branch is legislating the American people out of their favor with bills that both they, and the American people, cannot understand. Legislators need to understand their own bills. The American people need to understand. The American people want to understand. The president is more appealing and more trusted than the Congress because his message is simpler. The president’s message, delivered in friendly, fatherly sound bites, is comprehensible to the people. It is clear, concise and easy to understand. Congress’ message with 2,700 page bills and 1,200 page bills is simply incomprehensible, unfathomable. Consequentially, legislators are deemed untrustworthy by the American people.

The legislators in the legislative branch need to act and they need to act quickly, very, very quickly. They need to pass rules that limit their own largess in order to prevent the progressives’ “legislators are corrupt” campaign from succeeding. They need to save our country by returning the people’s house to the people. They have let it be run by lawyers. They have leveled Americans’ trust with legalese.

The legislators need to simplify, simplify, simplify. They can start by reducing the number of pages in their bills and by summarizing their objectives. Comprehensive bills are compromising our republican form of government. The American people are turning to the wrong branch of government – the executive branch, the president, the branch that is most vulnerable to tyranny and corruption. Ironically, the American people are trusting the branch that can enact the most uncensored control over the people if left unchecked.

Maybe no so much any more, though, fortunately. At least judging by recent polling.

7 thoughts on “Congressional Standing”

  1. Sue? I have a feeling the courts wouldn’t want to rule on an interbranch dispute like that. Besides, Congress has a lot of power to deal with the president, should it choose to use it. The upcoming elections could change things mightily–not just with GOP control of both houses, but also with at least some Democrats being more willing to break with the White House after a major electoral defeat–and make Congress more willing to take on the executive.

  2. Congressional delegation to bureaucrats is not a bug, it is a feature. This trend, growing steadily for a century now, is a way for congress-folk to avoid responsibility, a way for them to delegate blame for anything a constituent does not like. Congress has always been the most powerful branch of government, but they have purposely ceded most of that power to the civil service.

    By giving responsibility to the Executive, they can sit back and relax, while government grows on autopilot, and then charge in like heroes to “fix” things that become unpopular. In fact, the case can be made that heavy-handed bureaucracy exists specifically to cause resentment among the populace and send people running to their congressman for help in “fixing” the problem. This is what constituent service is all about.

    Saying that Congress should take back the power, bypass bureaucrats, downsize government, and make it all the more constitutional is silly. Of course they should! But they won’t. It is not in their interests (roughly defined as re-election, ego stroking, and high incomes). They like the world they have created for themselves and for us and see no reason to change it.

    You will never change the congressman’s mind. Instead, you have to change the collective (sorry) mind of the electorate to understand that they do not need their congressman. However, given the current state of most political thought – I have to support *my* party, because the other party is PURE EVIL – I do not see how you change their voting patterns. I hope nobody here thinks that just getting a majority to vote Republican for a few elections is really going to change anything.

    To turn this around is going to require a major mind-shift of the public at large and I do not see a clear path to victory in this, though alternate information conduits, such as this very blog, would seem to be the starting place. How we break through decades of social programming, however, and win a stubborn majority for small government, is still a bit of a mystery.

    1. John K Berntson has simply nailed it. This is the problem that must be addressed. Elections simply do not make enough difference other than changing the rate of failure. We have to figure out how to actually change direction. Obama didn’t have to fundamentally change America. It had already been done before he arrived. All he had to do was not fight the river.

  3. “Besides, Congress has a lot of power to deal with the president, should it choose to use it.” Do you mean impeachment? What else did you have in mind? All other powers (pocketbook…) seem to depend on him to enforce them.
    I would think, though, that the normal response to an executive who doesn’t follow instruction is to remove him. That’s his job, after all. I remember discussing that when Bush fired a number of the Justice Dept lawyers from Clinton’s time. Everyone was saying, It was political! I was puzzled. Why wouldn’t he get rid of people who are supposed to be working for him, if they aren’t?

    1. The power of the purse is a huge power. In fact, if the House alone were willing to take the heat, it could bring the government to a halt all by itself. The Senate could block all nominations. If the majorities were big enough (or alliances available with some Democrats on some legislation), the Congress could pass legislation over presidential veto. And yes, there’s impeachment. Don’t forget, they can impeach pretty much any federal official, not just the president.

      A lawsuit would require the Supreme Court to not walk away from the dispute as a “political question,” which I think is highly unlikely.

  4. I’m reminded that the transition from Wiemar Republic Germany to Nazi Germany was marked by crooked legislative slight of hand ceding extensive arbitrary power to the executive.

  5. It’s Hayek’s Road to Serfdom come to life. Once we have agreed that a plan for the economy is necessary, but not agreed what the plan should be, then as the plans become more micro-managed, the Parliament or Congress will appear more and more incompetent because they will have to bicker more and more over small things and never agree on anything, resulting in ceding power more and more to the Executive branch so that technocrats can settle the issues using expertise or “science”. Think “we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,” by which she meant we have to pass the bill to see what regulations the bureaucrats will write. The next step is for the executive branch to consolidate the bureaucracies for more efficient management, finally consolidating it under a dictator.

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