Left-wing law professor Jonathan Turley baffled his MSNBC cohorts on Wednesday when he claimed House Republicans have a real case in their lawsuit against President Obama for executive overreach, explaining that “there’s no license for going it alone in our system.”
On Wednesday, House Republican Speaker John Boehner announced plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the institution of Congress accusing President Obama of abusing the power of the White House to unconstitutionally rewrite domestic laws.
Turley, a George Washington University law professor who supports much of President Obama’s agenda, has already opposed this White House before — most notably on the lack of notification to Congress before the transfer of five dangerous Taliban prisoners from Gitmo (RELATED: Turley: I Don’t Think There’s Much Debate’ That Obama Broke Law).
And after being asked by MSNBC host Steve Kornacki whether Boehner had “any kind of a case” with the lawsuit, Turley remained consistent.
“I think there is a case against the president for exceeding his authority,” he declared. “I happen to agree with the president on many of his priorities and policies, but as I testified in Congress I think he has crossed the constitutional line.”
“So where has he crossed it?” Kornacki pressed. “Like, what specific issue has he crossed it on?”
“Well, when the president went to Congress and said that he was going to go it alone, it obviously raises a concern,” Turley noted. “Because there’s no license for going it alone in our system.”
The law professor noted the unprecedented changes made to the Affordable Care Act — including the shift of nearly half a billion dollars to a purpose unspecified by Congress — as well as his deliberate disregard of existing law on immigration and the effective rewriting of other laws.
“While I happen to agree with him — I voted for him — I think this is a problem,” Turley asserted.
The George Washington professor noted, however, that the lawsuit won’t necessarily be cut-and-dried. He explained how difficult it is to obtain the proper standing to sue to a sitting U.S. president — noting that a lawsuit he brought against Obama for the non-authorized attack on Libya in 2011 was thrown out for that very reason.
But this lawsuit could be very different. “So the first hurdle is going to be that standing issue, and it’s a high one. But it’s not necessarily insurmountable,” Turley explained. “The court has never truly closed the door on what’s called ‘legislative standing,’ particularly if it’s based on the institution — if the House of Representatives empowers the group that litigates this case.”
Put simply, Turley believes that a court may actually allow a challenge to a U.S. president as part of a legitimate showdown between the executive and legislative branches of the United States government.
Correction: Boehner announced the lawsuit Wednesday.