House Republicans Replace Their Lawyer For Suit Against Obama


House Republicans have hired a new lead attorney to handle their lawsuit against President Barack Obama over his unilateral tweaks to Obamacare.

William A. Burck of the firm Quinn Emenual Urqhart & Sullivan has been retained, after David Rivkin backed out under pressure his firm faced from other clients, a House Republican aide with knowledge of the lawsuit said.

As Burck notes in his official biography, he was the defense counsel for Maureen McDonnell, wife of now-convicted Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), in his recent high-profile political corruption trial.

The news was first reported by David Drucker of the Washington Examiner.

House Republicans voted in July to sue Obama—the first time the House has endorse a lawsuit against an incumbent president. The following month they hired Rivkin, a respected lawyer with the firm BakerHostetler, in August on a $500 per hour contract.

Rivkin, who has worked in previous Republican administrations, is no stranger to politically-charged cases: He was the lead attorney for the 26 states which sued to overturn Obamacare. A similar case made it to the Supreme Court in 2012.

Burck and Rivkin did not immediately return messages seeking comment.


Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.