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    Judge: Congress can sue over Obamacare

    Judge: Congress can sue over Obamacare

    “I cannot overstate how big a victory this is for limited government and our first principles.”

    This past week proved contentious for Republicans in Congress. Allies returned to the dark side, Democrats sided with a mortal enemy, and a split in the caucus over how to best handle the disastrous Iran nuclear deal boiled over into a very public battle.

    Amid the power struggle, the Republicans in the House came out ahead—at least as far as Obamacare is concerned. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that House Republicans have standing to sue the Obama Administration over the Administration’s handling of the Obamacare rollout. The House sued Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew of both spending unappropriated money to implement the new policies, and effectively amending the employer mandate without the approval of Congress.

    The court ruled that the House has standing to pursue its claims relating to appropriations, but not those related to Lew’s implementation of the statute. More via Reuters:

    Collyer did not rule on the merits of the claims, only on the administration’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the issue of standing, a requirement in U.S. law whereby plaintiffs have to show they have been directly harmed.

    On that issue, “the constitutional trespass alleged in this case would inflict a concrete, particular harm upon the House for which it has standing to seek redress in this court,” Collyer wrote in her opinion.

    The Department of Justice will appeal the court’s ruling, said spokesman Patrick Rodenbush. An appeal could further delay proceedings on the merits of the claims.

    White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman called the decision unprecedented.

    “This case is just another partisan attack, this one, paid for by the taxpayers; and we believe the courts will ultimately dismiss it,” she said in a statement.

    Speaker Boehner made a statement:

    I was pleased that yesterday, a federal court ruled that the House does, in fact, have standing to challenge one of the president’s unilateral actions with regard to ObamaCare.

    “I cannot overstate how big a victory this is for limited government and our first principles. Time and again, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and to re-write laws on his own without a vote of the Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work. If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to do so as well.

    “This is an unprecedented challenge by the House, and one the administration tried to avoid at all costs. So this victory sends a strong message that no one – especially no president – is above being held accountable to the Constitution.”

    House leadership is also mulling a similar lawsuit over the Iran nuclear deal.

    You can read the full decision here.

    Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


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    Beg to differ. In the long term this is not a victory for limited government, but for the aggrandisement of the judicial branch over the other two. The three branches are supposed to be equal, so what is half of one branch doing suing a second in front of the third? What the House is saying is that the judicial branch is superior to the other two, and has the right to adjudicate disputes between them and tell them what to do. If it can order the executive to obey the legislature then it can also order the legislature to obey the executive, and surely nobody wants that.

    No, the essence of the political question doctrine is that if the two political branches are in dispute it’s up to them to use whatever tools the constitution gave them to resolve it. The third branch is not mommy, to whom the children can run to tattle on each other and expect authoritarian justice to be dispensed.

    If 0bama has violated the constitution (and he has) the proper constitutional method of bringing him to heel is impeachment and conviction. Unfortunately conviction requires 2/3 of the senate, and that’s impossible, so there’s no point in starting the process. He would only portray his inevitable acquittal as a vindication, just as Clinton did. That’s a flaw in the constitution, but taking it to court instead doesn’t correct this, it just introduces a second flaw.

    I don’t know what the correct solution is, but this one sets my teeth on edge.

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