House Republicans have found a lawyer who has agreed to handle House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Barack Obama over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Advocate for Separation of Power
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley agreed to represent Boehner and the House Republicans in what could be their third lawsuit against the president. Turley is an expert on constitutional law and is a frequent commentator on TV.
“Professor Turley is a renowned legal scholar who agrees that President Obama has clearly overstepped his Constitutional authority. He is a natural choice to handle this lawsuit,” Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesperson, said in a written statement.
The legal scholar announced the news on his blog on Monday, November 7. Turley explained that as an advocate of the separation of power among the three co-equal branches of government, he is concerned about what he sees as an overstepping of the executive branch.
“I have agreed to represent the United States House of Representatives in its challenge of unilateral, unconstitutional actions taken by the Obama Administration with respect to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” Turley wrote in his blog. “It is an honor to represent the institution in this historic lawsuit and to work with the talented staff of the House General Counsel’s Office.”
“Unilateral, unchecked Executive action is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in our constitutional system. This case represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law,” Turley added.
Third Time’s a Charm?
In July, House Republicans voted to approve a lawsuit against the commander-in-chief for unilaterally making changes to Obamacare and for his use of executive actions. Many Republicans backed the legislation accusing Obama of overstepping his constitutional authority with his altering of Obamacare’s implementation. They maintained it was Congress’ job to change the law, and not the president’s.
No Democrats voted for the bill to sue the president. House Republicans have had difficulties retaining a law firm due to the political blowback on the issue.
‘A Political Stunt’
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the Republican initiative to sue the president, even calling Turley “a TV lawyer.” She criticized Boehner’s office for funding the litigations against the president using taxpayer funds.
“Even for $500-per-hour in taxpayer dollars, Speaker Boehner has had to scour Washington to find a lawyer willing to file this meritless lawsuit against the President,” said Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Pelosi. “Now, he’s hired a TV personality for this latest episode of his distraction and dysfunction. When Speaker Boehner can’t legislate his way, he shuts down the government and files lawsuits.”
Obama previously said the Republican-backed lawsuit is “a political stunt” that wastes taxpayers’ dollars and time. The case could drag on for years due to possible appeals, even possibly extending beyond Obama’s term in office.
More than the political concerns, constitutional experts doubt if federal courts will take up the Obamacare case. The legal burden falls on the House to show it was damaged as an institution due to the president’s actions.