It’s been four months since Speaker of the House John Boehner announced with great fanfare and resolve that the House would be filing a federal lawsuit against President Obama for…well, it’s never been clear what for, exactly. We’d have to wait until the complaint was filed to find out. And we’re still waiting.
House Speaker John Boehner came out swinging hard last June when he announced that his chamber would take President Barack Obama to court. The suit, charging that the president grossly exceeded his constitutional authority by failing to implement portions of the Obamacare law, was billed as an election-season rallying point for aggrieved Republicans. But days before the midterms the House’s legal guns seem to have fallen silent.
Lawyers close to the process said they originally expected the legal challenge to be filed in September but now they don’t expect any action before the elections.
Some attribute the delay to electoral politics — suggesting that Republicans were worried it could rile up the Democratic base — though the GOP is mum on why the suit has yet to be filed…A spokesman for Boehner said the date for filing the litigation remains up in the air. “No decisions on timing at this point,” spokesman Kevin Smith said Friday. He declined to comment on speculation about the reasons for the delay.
Some Democrats suspect the filing has been delayed because Boehner’s announcement of the suit over the summer backfired to some extent, spurring fundraising by Democratic committees. Raising the issue again so close to the election could agitate those in the president’s base who view such a lawsuit as disrespectful and part of an effort to delegitimize Obama.
The truth is that this was a political stunt from the start and it will remain one even if they do eventually file such a suit, which will be quickly dismissed by the court. It was a way for Boehner to pander to the hard right base for a while without actually having to do anything of substance.