How Not to Sue the President: No Progress for Speaker Boehner

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A little while back, fellow Law Streeter Marisa Mostek wrote an excellent, handy-dandy guide entitled “How to Sue Your President: Obama Edition.” The inspiration for the guide was born out of the claim from Speaker of the House John Boehner that he was going to sue President Obama. The suit was intended to address what Speaker Boehner and House Republicans saw as failures to legally implement parts of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Boehner announced his plan in a letter to members of the House of Representatives that also read:

On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day. Everywhere I go in America outside of Washington, D.C., I’m asked: when will the House stand up on behalf of the people to stop the encroachment of executive power under President Obama? We elected a president, Americans note; we didn’t elect a monarch or king.

The guide that Marisa wrote was incredibly helpful. Speaker Boehner really should have checked it out, because as it turns out, the lawsuit hasn’t really gone anywhere. In fact, it’s been dropped twice by law firms who were working on the case for House Republicans. Interestingly enough, the House Republicans are blaming the fact that no one seems to be able to stay on their case on Democrats. A spokesperson for Speaker Boeher, Kevin Smith, stated:

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.

The idea of the House Republicans moving the suit in the actual House could be a smart one, given that currently, taxpayer money would be going to fund the payment of outside counsel. That being said, it doesn’t really look like there’s much action being taken.

In Marisa’s original “how to” piece she posed the question of whether or not this was a legitimate attempt by Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to bring a suit against the President, or whether it was all just a publicity stunt.

Right now, if the lawsuit can’t get off the ground, it seems like the latter may end up being true.

In the meantime, Speaker Boehner, and pretty much everyone else should check out “How to Sue Your President.” With the way that Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit is going, it couldn’t possibly hurt to get some guidance.


Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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