- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2015

The administration asked the federal court late Monday to dismiss the House lawsuit against President Obama, saying he is faithfully carrying out his health law and the GOP lawmakers who filed the legal challenge have no right to sue.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that federal courts do not sit to referee this sort of institutional dispute,” the administration said in its legal brief asking the federal court in Washington, D.C., to reject the House lawsuit.

The House voted last year to sue Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell for how Obamacare is being carried out, saying that by unilaterally delaying parts of the law, such as the employer mandate, she is rewriting the law — a power reserved to Congress.

House Republicans pushed the lawsuit, with bipartisan support, as a way of trying to entice the courts to decide between Mr. Obama, who has tested the limits of presidential power, and the House GOP, which argues he is exploiting gridlock in Congress in order to go around the law.

GOP leaders chose Obamacare’s employer mandate because it was an instance where the president and Congress agree that the mandate should have been delayed, but Mr. Obama threatened to veto it if Congress tried to do it, insisting he had the power on his own instead.

But Obama lawyers said halting the employer mandate was part of the Treasury Department using powers “to interpret and to phase in the provisions of a newly enacted statute.”

The lawyers also said even if the House is able to show an injury and thus have standing, the courts should still toss their lawsuit because Congress has other ways to react instead of going to a judge. Chiefly, Congress could pass a law overturning the president’s actions, the administration lawyers said.

“Fundamental principles of the separation of powers dictate that legislators should pursue their legislative options, rather than using the courts to vent purely political grievances,” wrote Joyce R. Branda, the acting assistant attorney general who is leading the legal team for Mr. Obama.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that the Obama administration has told a court it doesn’t have the power to review the president’s decision-making. Justice Department lawyers are making a similar argument in asking a Texas court to throw out a challenge that state and two dozen others have lodged against Mr. Obama’s new deportation amnesty, announced in November.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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