House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is reportedly planning to put a vote authorizing a lawsuit against the Obama administration before the House toward the end of the month. Since it was announced, there has been much discussion about the efficacy of this lawsuit, with commentators on the left and the right labeling it a “stunt.” Jazz Shaw has the definitive take on this debate.
While much ink has been spilt debating force of the House lawsuit as a political weapon, but comparatively little has been devoted to discussing on what grounds Boehner will sue the administration. With a variety of executive actions and selectively enforced statues to choose from, Boehner has a veritable embarrassment of riches of issues on which to base his suit.
With that in mind, Republicans are reportedly factoring in political considerations:
“Sources on and off Capitol Hill have doubts that Boehner would target any immigration action, a move that could alienate Hispanic voters and give political fodder to those who already seek to paint the Republican party as nativist,” Roll Call’s Daniel Newhauser reported on Monday.
With the political health of the Republican Party in mind, Boehner is reportedly likely to focus on the Obama administration’s failure to faithfully enforce his signature legislative achievement: the Affordable Care Act.
A more likely scenario, sources noted, would be for Boehner to target one of Obama’s executive actions relating to the Affordable Care Act. The administration has delayed key deadlines in the law’s implementation, for instance the mandate that employers provide health coverage to their employees.
Earlier this year, the administration also quietly changed provisions in the law making billions of taxpayer dollars available as risk insurance in case companies lose money by providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Newhauser quotes George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley who suggests that a suit centered on the ACA’s various delays and relaxed enforcement directives which have altered the original law passed by Congress in 2010 is most likely to be heard in court. Turley added, however, that the suit will have to be narrow in scope if the courts take up a dispute between the legislative and executive branches – something the judiciary usually resists.