The Republican-led House has filed its long-anticipated lawsuit against President Barack Obama for his unilateral changes to Obamacare implementation, nearly four months after it voted to endorse the litigation.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced the filing on Friday, lambasting Obama for having “chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own.”
For the first time in American history, the House voted on July 30 to endorse a lawsuit against a sitting president. It left room to target various aspects of Obamacare implementation. The lawsuit targets Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate and alleged illegal transfers of funds to insurance companies.
Republicans have had a tough time finding a lawyer to handle the litigation. Two top firms were hired by the House, and subsequently backed out. The GOP ended up hiring Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who has been critical of Obama’s use of executive power, to work on the case.
It is a difficult case for Republicans. A variety of legal scholars say that although the House may have a decent argument on the merits, legal precedent makes it tough for the chamber to achieve “standing,” which requires plaintiffs to prove that they suffered a concrete injury due to the defendant’s actions.
The White House dismissed the lawsuit as lacking “any sound legal basis.”
“Instead of passing legislation to help expand the middle class and grow the economy, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars pursuing a lawsuit that is without any sound legal basis,” White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said in a statement.
The lawsuit, the filing of which was announced one day after Obama unveiled a series of executive actions on immigration, will not address the president’s upcoming moves on deportations and immigration enforcement. Boehner’s office said it is also considering legal action on immigration, but added that that would require another House vote.
“If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well,” the Speaker said in a statement. “The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action.”
This article was updated at 12:54 PM EST to include a response from the White House.