Federal Courts and Nominations

John Boehner’s Foes in Health Care Suit? Scalia and Bork.

By Mike Sacks 


Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, last week filed his long-anticipated lawsuit against the Obama Administration. But the Speaker’s biggest foe in this inter-branch fight isn’t the president or the Democrats.


It’s Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork….


…And now Boehner must overcome the legacy of these opinions, reflected in a 1997 Supreme Court decision, to prevail against the president.


That case, Raines v. Byrd, ruled that the members of Congress suing the Clinton Administration over the Line Item Veto Act, lacked the “personal stake” necessary to suffer the particularized injury that the Court’s precedents require for standing.


Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the court, gave a nod in a footnote to the “strong dissent” Scalia and Bork put up in the D.C. Circuit cases Raines effectively overruled. Scalia joined the 7-2 majority. 


Simon Lazarus, senior counsel to the Constitutional Accountability Center, said that should be the end of the matter.


“The courts,” Lazarus said, “have over and over made it clear that anyone in order to get into federal court to make a claim has to show a particularized injury to yourself as distinguished from a general alleged injury to the body politic as a whole.”

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