Ten more states file suit against Obama's transgender bathroom nonsense

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday July 11th, 2016

That makes 21.

Question: Let's say a federal court orders the Obama Administration to release funds to states that don't comply with Obama's transgender bathroom nonsense, on the premise that Obama doesn't have the power to make that a condition for receiving federal funds. Let's say Obama just doesn't bother to release the funds.

Who can make him?

If you answered "no one," then you too have figured out what Obama long ago figured out. Checks on his power are strictly theoretical. Congress can pull back "the power of the purse" until Obama outlasts them in a media-aided government shutdown fiasco. The FBI can find evidence of a crime until Obama reminds them that the attorney general works for him. A court can order Obama to enforce immigration laws or to send states their money, but anyone who could forcibly cause him to comply works for him.

You see how this works? And states who depend on federal money - due in large part to the system of gathering and redistributing taxes that their own congressional representatives helped set up and help maintain - will have to do whatever Obama feels like telling them to do. Even if they are successful at suing him, which 10 more of them are now attempting:

Ten states including Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio sued the Obama administration on Friday, saying the federal government does not have the power to tell states that transgender people must be allowed to use public bathrooms that conform with their gender identity.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, takes issue with a May 13 letter sent by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education to states warning them that they could lose federal funding if they required transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex. The lawsuit says the Obama administration's move was an attempt to rewrite federal civil rights laws that do not apply to transgender people.

It was filed by the attorneys general of the 10 states, which also include Arkansas, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.  

“When a federal agency takes such unilateral action in an attempt to change the meaning of established law, it leaves state and local authorities with no other option than to pursue legal clarity in federal court,” Nebraska's attorney general, Doug Peterson, a Republican, said in a statement.

The outcome of the suit probably depends on the judge they draw. Get a Republican-appointed federal judge, they've got a better-than-even chance. Get one appointed by Obama, Clinton or Carter (I have no idea if any Johnson- or Kennedy-appointed judges are still slinking around the federal courts), and the states are probably going to be told to halt their insolence and let the boys into the girls' room post-haste.

But the outcome of the suit scarcely matters, except for use as a Republican talking point that will probably be about as effective as all the other ones Republicans have tried to use against Obama. The limits of Obama's power are only the limits of what Obama decides he's willing to do. Just because a court orders him to release funds doesn't mean he'll be in any hurry to do it, or that he won't forget two, three or 97 times. Disobeying an order from a federal court is probably an impeachable offense, but the political class has decided that no president (well, no Democrat president) can ever be impeached for anything, because this would represent "Republican overreach" resulting in "voter backlash" which would cause Hillary to not only be elected to one term but would see her also awarded the 2020 election as a penalty for said Republican overreach.

To put it more succinctly, Obama can do whatever he wants. By the way, he's the one who really controls the power of the purpose because Congress can only allocate money. Obama's the one who spends it, or doesn't spend it, as he sees fit. When you know that no one will stand up to you, you've pretty much got absolute power.

So good luck with your lawsuit, states! Yours is a noble pursuit. And a fruitless one, because you're using the law to battle a lawless president that no one has the nerve to really stand up to.

Anyway, I have to find a restroom. Come to think of it, maybe it would be better to just go on a bush. Those are androgynous, right?

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