WASHINGTON D.C. – As Congress debates funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) reintroduced the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act to ensure the president upholds his constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The ENFORCE the Law Act puts a procedure in place to permit Congress to authorize a lawsuit against the executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws. The legislation also provides for expedited consideration of any such lawsuit, first through a three-judge panel at the federal district court level and then by providing for direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“At least 22 times, President Obama said he didn’t have the authority to take this action on immigration. He was right. I’ll continue to fight President Obama’s executive amnesty, and this bill will help ensure the president cannot continue blatantly disregarding the nation’s laws and the Constitution,” said Blunt.
The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H), John Boozman (Ark.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), James Lankford (Okla.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.), Pat Roberts (Kan.), and Tim Scott (S.C.).
Last week, Blunt co-sponsored a bill introduced by Johnson to block funding for President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Blunt also applauded U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt’s (Ala.) House companion version of the bill, which has also been introduced as an amendment to the House-passed DHS funding bill.
In December 2014, Blunt joined an amicus brief led by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) and co-signed by Cornyn in support of a lawsuit brought by the State of Texas against President Obama’s illegal amnesty. Blunt also voted in favor of a constitutional point of order offered by Cruz and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (Utah) against the president’s executive amnesty.
Additional Background Information on the ENFORCE the Law Act:
The ENFORCE Act provides that if the president, or any other officer or employee of the United States, establishes or implements a formal or informal policy to refrain from enforcing any provision of federal law in violation of the requirement that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” the House or the Senate may, by adoption of a resolution, authorize a civil action to seek declaratory or injunctive relief. Any such lawsuit may be brought by the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both Houses of Congress jointly.
The bill also provides for expedited consideration of any case brought by Congress pursuant to the bill’s provisions. First, the bill provides that any such action shall be filed in a federal district court of competent jurisdiction and that the court shall convene a three-judge panel to hear the case. Second, the bill provides that the three-judge panel’s decision is appealable directly to the United States Supreme Court. Finally, the district courts and the Supreme Court are required to expedite any case filed pursuant to this legislation.
The bill is intended to address procedural hurdles the courts have put in front of previous attempts by individual Members of Congress, and ad hoc groups of Members, to seek judicial review of alleged failures by the president to faithfully execute the law. The courts have held that when Congress or one House of Congress suffers an institutional injury, the Congress or a House of Congress must authorize any lawsuit aimed at redressing the injury. This bill puts a procedure in place to allow for such authorization and expedites judicial review of such decisions to ensure decisions are made in a timely manner by the courts.