While Obama did not create the uber-presidency, he has pushed it to a new level of autonomy and authority. It is a model that Democrats may soon regret. Just as Obama has unilaterally rewritten federal laws and ordered the nonenforcement of others, the next President could use the same authority to gut environmental or employment discrimination laws. An uber-President is only liberating when he is your uber-President.
And whether it is “sue me” or “bring it on,” presidential taunts tend to play better politically than practically. The invitation for a congressional lawsuit may sound on its face like it’s welcoming judicial review, but it’s not. Obama’s administration has fought to block such review by challenging the right of members and citizens to be heard in federal courts.
President Obama’s taunt will no doubt be answered in kind. Indeed, the House is preparing just such a lawsuit. And so, our national politics have finally descended to the politics of the schoolyard playground. However, unlike on the playground, presidential taunts have constitutional consequences.