So Republicans haven't yet managed to impeach President Obama due to Fast and Furious or gun control or Benghazi or preventing default or whatever Sen. Ted Cruz or Rep. Black Farenthold think he should be impeached for. But that's no reason to give up! A House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday offered the latest rationale: he isn't faithfully executing the country's laws. Sure, why not. Let's give it a shot.
And who better to make the case for impeachment on this than the always-even-tempered Judge Andrew Napolitano on fair and balanced Fox News? On Monday night, host Megyn Kelly introduced Napolitano by noting that he thinks Obama's decisions to revise immigration policy and let insurers hold off on cancellations for a year "rise to the level of an impeachable offense."
When you have a president who is not faithfully enforcing the laws, who is frustrating the will of the Congress, who is doing the opposite of what Congress wanted — Republicans in the House are going to look into this and may enact a resolution that points out he's doing that. Will it lead to impeachment? I don't know. But it will further diminish and destroy the trust he had with the American people.
Then Kelly jumps back in: "Dicey political move for the GOP." Yes, right. But otherwise!
Please note: Napolitano (sporting much grayer hair for some reason!) suggested in February that sequester cuts might prompt impeachment. In September, at Glenn Beck's The Blaze, Napolitano thought maybe Syria would work.
The political moment that prompted the conversation between Kelly and Napolitano was the House Judiciary Committee's hearing titled "The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws." It featured testimony from George Washington University legal professors, someone from the libertarian Cato Institute, and a representative of the Constitutional Accountability Center. Over the course of about three minutes this afternoon, the conversation went from GWU's Nicholas Rosenkranz ...
I don't think you should be hesitant to seek the word in this room. A check on executive lawlessness is impeachment. And if you find that the president is willfully and repeatedly violating the Constitution, if, on your hypothetical, he were to declare war — I would think it would be a clear case for impeachment.
... to Cato's Michael Cannon:
I think what [Iowa Rep. Steve] King was getting at is, there is one last thing to which the people can resort to if the government does not respect the restraints that the constitution places on the government. Abraham Lincoln talks about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.
Outside the context of the hyperbole over revolution or impeachment — which would never result in removal of President Obama from office anyway, given the make-up of the Senate — the hearing was another battle in the longstanding war between House Republicans, who hope to stymie the president, and the administration, which has stated that it wants to work around them when possible.
What savvier House Republicans clearly want to do is suggest that president's behavior is so egregious that it could warrant his removal from office, largely as a political tactic to try and make Obama think twice about going around them. (See also: Overton window.) For members like King, though, and pundits like Napolitano, they probably believe the hype, that this is the thing that will see Obama dragged from the Oval Office in disgrace, clearing the path for, well, President Biden, apparently.
We will update you on next month's impeachment-worthy offenses as they are identified.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.