In the News: Blog

The Wall Street Journal explains what I’m doing in suing the law-breaking Obama administration over its special deal for congressional health benefits:

“Under the Constitution, Congress is supposed to create and amend laws and the President to faithfully execute them, but Mr. Obama has grabbed inherent Article I powers by suspending or rewriting statutes he opposes.”

He does this after politically calculating that no one is going to successfully challenge him. Except . . .

“In one notable case, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is suing the White House over the ObamaCare regulatory carve-out that conjured up special subsidies for Members and staffers who were supposed to give up federal employee health benefits to join the insurance exchanges.

“Mr. Johnson argues that because Members must designate which staffers do and don't participate, the rule imposes a nontrivial administrative burden—i.e., he has standing to sue because the rule harms his office, not because he is a U.S. Senator. More to the point, Mr. Johnson claims that the rule forces him to become personally complicit in law breaking and thus damages his political reputation. Several appeals court precedents hold that elected officials who must maintain the public trust suffer injuries when their credibility is undermined, including a 1993 D.C. Circuit ruling by now-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

This matters. The Journal points out that the administration is fighting over “standing,” or, the right to sue, because it doesn’t want courts to hear the merits of the case:

“The real import of his lawsuit is that it invites the courts to restore the proper separation of powers amid executive encroachment.”

The Journal also shines a light on a broader effort, by lawyers David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley, to persuade the House to sue over the administration’s repeated usurping of Congress’ constitutional duties. The paper admirably explains how this would be consistent with a movement to rein in overreaching government and improve voters’ power to hold politicians accountable. Both efforts aim for the same goal, the paper says:

“If the executive branch is allowed to rewrite or suspend statutes, it is harder and in some cases impossible for voters to know which parties and spheres of the government to hold responsible. Political accountability is undermined.

“The legal establishment will dismiss Messrs. Johnson and Rivkin as cranks with no hope of success, but it has been wrong before.”

Previously:

On C-SPAN, about why I am suing an administration that’s trying to give me a special deal.

I explain to Washington why this overreach must be stopped.

My own written explanation, in the Wall Street Journal.

. . . and in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

. . . and in the Washington Times.

Fellow members of Congress sign on to the effort.

. . . and all the others are welcome to join in.