Here’s John Boehner’s Lawsuit Against the Obama Administration

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 10 2014 6:13 PM

Here’s John Boehner’s Lawsuit Against the Obama Administration

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I'll see you in court

Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

In the days since John Boehner announced that he would sue the administration over Obamacare, skepticism has broken out like an impromptu drum circle. Was he doing this to tamp down the crazier talk of impeachment? Did he even have standing? What was he going to sue Obama for, anyway?

Well, the resolution beginning the lawsuit is up. Are you ready for it? Here we go:

Resolved, That the Speaker may initiate or intervene in one or more civil actions on behalf of the House of Representatives in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction to seek relief pursuant to sections 2201 and 2202 of title 28, United States Code, and to seek appropriate ancillary elief, including injunctive relief, regarding the failure of the President, the head of any department or agency, or any other officer or employee of the United States, to act in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation of (including a failure to implement) any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including any amendment made by such provision.
SEC. 2. The Speaker shall notify the House of Representatives of a decision to initiate or intervene in any civil action pursuant to this resolution. 
SEC. 3. The Office of the General Counsel of the House of Representatives, at the direction of the Speaker shall represent the House in any civil action initiated, or in which the House intervenes, pursuant to this resolution and may employ the services of outside counsel and other experts for this purpose.
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Over "any provision" of the ACA—the ones getting the most discussion, actually, were fairly popular. (This was why Republicans opposed them, for letting steam heat off the president.) The delay that riled the most people was the employer mandate tweak, which not only kicked the deadline ahead one year but raised the required number of employees for the mandate to go into effect, from 50 to 100. 

This is not quite the most riveting basis for a lawsuit, but it's the one we've got. Next Wednesday the House Rules Committee meets to talk it over; a journey begins to the D.C. Circuit, which can toss this over the lack of standing, or the Supreme Court, which can also toss it but at least be appealed to if Republicans lose Round 1.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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