President exceeds authority, lawmakers say - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

President exceeds authority, lawmakers say

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Former Ohio lawmaker Dennis Kucinich said impeachment is a check against an overreaching president, but only in extraordinary circumstances. (Source: FOX) Former Ohio lawmaker Dennis Kucinich said impeachment is a check against an overreaching president, but only in extraordinary circumstances. (Source: FOX)

WASHINGTON, DC (FOX) - Former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich sued both President George W. Bush and President Obama for going beyond what he believed were their constitutional limits.

"You can't simply proceed willy nilly or at whim or through press release and say this is what we're going to do," he said.

Both times a federal judge told Kucinich and the members who joined him that they didn't have legal standing.

Well, a new group of House lawmakers is willing to test that theory.

The Stop Act has more than 100 sponsors. They point to the president's significant modifications of, and even outright refusal to enforce, laws on everything from health care to immigration.

"I quite understand their frustration. The president is, uh, has taken a lot of actions that seem a bit more like writing law or rewriting law rather than taking care that it be faithfully executed," said Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz of Georgetown Law School.

If united, Congress has another powerful tool - tightening the purse strings.

"James Madison talked about this and said when the president abuses his power, the best thing Congress can do is withhold funding for the president, so the president can't continue to hurt the American people," said U.S. Rep Mike Lee, R-UT.

Experts and lawmakers alike agree there is yet another option, though most are afraid to raise it publicly.

"A check on executive lawlessness is impeachment," Rosenkranz said.

"I think that it can only be reserved for the most extraordinary circumstances and it's, it's a tough call in any circumstances. But frankly, it's in the Constitution as a check, against the abuse of power," Kucinich said.

Critics, including Democrats who have publicly supported the president in the past, say he should remember his own words from the 2008 campaign trail.

"I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all," Obama said then.

Experts believe the best option for legal action would be a lawsuit by an individual or business owner who can point to concrete damage he has - or will - suffer because of the president's unilateral changes to the health care law.

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