House Authorizes Obama Lawsuit. What's The Next Step?

A House vote along party lines will allow Speaker John Boehner to go forward with his suit against President Obama, but it won't be an easy case.

House Authorizes Obama Lawsuit. What's The Next Step?
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The ball is in John Boehner's court now. A House vote Wednesday evening authorized the speaker to go ahead with his plan to sue President Obama for delaying the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act — an action Boehner calls executive overreach. (Via Getty Images)

The vote broke down almost completely along party lines, although Boehner insists this isn't a partisan issue. (Via C-SPAN)

"This isn't about Republicans and Democrats. It's about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold." (Via Speaker of the House John Boehner)

So, what happens now? It looks like Boehner has every intention of going ahead with the lawsuit, but legal and political analysts are saying it could be a tough case to win.

"They have to show they were injured by Obama's actions, which, as you know, is a pretty hard thing to do." (Via Fox News)

Something even the Republicans admit. "This lawsuit, which could take a long time and certainly has no certain outcome, is an important one." (Via Fox Business)

The first hurdle here is the issue of legal standing. The House has to prove that Obama's overreach was so egregious that the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution was weakened.

And a William and Mary law professor told The Wall Street Journal there's no precedent for that. "We're in uncharted waters, and I think any judicial court would want to avoid weighing in. ... I'd be very surprised if the court grants standing."

This also gets to the broader political battle being played out in D.C. A Vox writer explains, "‚ÄčThe courts also tend to be skeptical of these suits because Congress has constitutional means by which it can check the president's power on its own — by passing a new law, using the power of the purse to cut off funding, or through impeachment."

There's the "I" word. There's been a lot of chatter lately over whether Republicans will move to impeach the president.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been fundraising on the issue, saying impeachment will be Act II of the political stunt represented by the lawsuit.

But Boehner says Democrats' talk of impeachment is the real stunt. "They're trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year's election." (Via CNN)

Most analysts see impeachment as a losing issue for Republicans, so it makes sense that they wouldn't want to go that far. But as Politico notes, that does put them in a tricky spot.

"The party is now in the awkward position of arguing that Obama is improperly exerting executive authority — but not in such a dramatic way that would warrant his removal from office."

The next step for House Republicans will be to form a committee to discuss how best to move forward with the lawsuit.