House GOP Dumped By Second Major Firm In Lawsuit Against Obama

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October 30, 2014 9:12 a.m.

House Republicans have been dumped by a second major law firm that they tapped for their lawsuit against President Barack Obama.

William A. Burck and his firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan have dropped out of the case, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner confirmed to TPM. The news was first reported by Politico.

Burck and his firm were hired last month after the previous attorney hired by the House, David Rivkin of BakerHostetler, backed out of the contract.

Both prominent Washington D.C.-based firms are said to have quit under pressure from other clients. The suit, approved by a House vote in July, targets the Obama administration for exceeding its executive authority by delaying parts of Obamacare.

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Despite the behind-the-scenes chaos, Boehner’s office insists the lawsuit remains on track. A spokesman said they may handle the litigation through internal House lawyers.

“The litigation remains on track, but we are examining the possibility of forgoing outside counsel and handling the litigation directly through the House, rather than through law firms that are susceptible to political pressure from wealthy, Democratic-leaning clients,” Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Boehner, said in an email.

In an interesting twist, Boehner’s office signaled the House may also target Obama’s executive actions on immigration, expected soon after the election.

“We are also closely following what the administration does on executive amnesty, and the possible impact that could have on the litigation strategy,” Smith said.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) used the occasion to mock Boehner.

โ€œSpeaker Boehner cannot find a single lawyer in the entire country โ€“ even at $500 dollars an hour in taxpayer money โ€“ to file a lawsuit that is so totally devoid of any legal merit,” Drew Hammill said. “In the words of one legal scholar, this lawsuit โ€“ or rather, nonsuit โ€“ continues to be an embarrassing loser for Speaker Boehner.”

Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated the name of the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan. We regret the error.

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