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The Standing to Sue the President

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's Roger in Fallbrook, California. Great that you waited, Roger. Thanks for your patience. Hi.

CALLER: Well, thank you, Rush. Concerning Obama's willingness to change the laws as he has done with health care -- and the Republicans are saying that they don't have standing to take him to court over that matter. And there was a precedent -- I've been around following politics for more than half a century. There was an occasion in the Nixon administration when the Congress sent Nixon a spending bill, and I don't remember what the particulars about it was, because Nixon said that's too much money, I don't want to spend all that money. And the Democrats said, "Oh, yes, you do, that's what we allocated and they took him to court, and they got a court decision saying, president, you have to spend the money that Congress allocated. You do not have the right to change what they said. Now, if that precedent exists, maybe you can get your staff to --

RUSH: I don't remember that specifically, but your overall point is Congress can insert themselves here any time they want.

CALLER: Yeah, but there is a court precedent, I think, that they could use.

RUSH: Well, that's even better. But this standing business, I was watching a discussion on Fox this morning of this. And some learned, ahem, commentator was talking about how average citizens will never be granted standing to sue a president. This guy was talking about citizens, not the Congress or not parties. He was talking about the context of aggrieved citizens who have been damaged by virtue of Obama's willy-nilly application the law, they don't have standing. The Supreme Court has said individual citizens will never have standing to sue the president, because that's all people would be doing. But Congress can step in any time they want and assert themselves.

CALLER: Well, there's another precedent which is even more dangerous. I don't know whether you want to go this far back, but in the seventeenth century, Charles I tried to rule without parliament and it led to the civil war, the English civil war. Not saying that's what's in our prospect, but it's scary.

RUSH: Well, you're thinking if this keeps going there might be popular uprising.

CALLER: Well, somebody's gotta protest, somebody's gotta do it.

RUSH: I know, but the point is everybody's running around asking, who's going to? There hasn't been anybody do it yet.

CALLER: That's true.

RUSH: Everybody's expecting somebody else to do it, the Republicans to do it, the Congress to do it, Supreme Court to do it, somebody that's literally got a chance of stopping it. The average citizen doesn't think he's got a prayer of stopping any of this stuff. That's why there are political parties to represent him or her. There used to be, anyway.

CALLER: Well, anyway, I tried to get through on Open Line Friday, couldn't, but I wanted to make that point.

RUSH: Well, I'm glad. I don't remember, I'm gonna find out what Congress -- Nixon said, "I'm not spending all that money." "Oh, yes, you are." I'll find that. I appreciate the call, Roger. Thank you much.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, our last caller Roger, I had to do this quick so I need an allowance here of perhaps not finding what it was he was talking about, but I think what he was talking about was impoundment. "Impoundment is an act by a president of not spending money that has been appropriated by the US Congress. ... The power was available to all presidents up to and including Richard Nixon, and was regarded as a power inherent to the office. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 was passed in response to perceived abuse of the power under President Nixon." It all makes sense, right, knowing the history.

"Title X of the act, and its interpretation under Train v. City of New York, essentially removed the power. President's ability to reject congressionally approved spending thus became severely inhibited." So, again, I could be wrong. I don't want to sit here and say that the caller was wrong, but it might not have been a lawsuit that ended impoundment but rather a piece of legislation. Regardless, it was based on the Supreme Court's interpretation of a previous lawsuit, Train v. City of New York.

But look, in a nutshell, the change in the law prevents a president from cutting things from the budget without the House's permission, and the Senate. So it's kind of like not being able to use line-item veto. The president was able to impound money rather than spend it. Now he can't. Congress has a way around it based on Supreme Court precedent.

END TRANSCRIPT

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