House Republicans have hired constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley to lead their lawsuit against President Barack Obama over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The George Washington University Law School professor announced the news on his blog Monday night. He explained that, as an advocate of the separation of powers, he is concerned about what he views as the excesses of the executive branch.
"Unilateral, unchecked Executive action is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in our constitutional system. This case represents a long-overdue effort by Congress to resolve fundamental Separation of Powers issues. In that sense, it has more to do with constitutional law than health care law," he said.
The self-described liberal noted that he voted for Obama in 2008 and even supported "national health care." But, Turley added, the House "had me at hello" with the merits of the case.
Republicans charge that the administration acted without congressional authority in delaying the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act. Two previous law firms sought out by Republicans have already dropped the case, fueling criticism that the motion was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Democrats quickly criticized the hire on Tuesday, noting Turley's many appearances on Fox News, where he frequently criticizes the administration on health care and immigration reform.
"Even for $500-per-hour in taxpayer dollars, Speaker [John] Boehner has had to scour Washington to find a lawyer willing to file this meritless lawsuit against the President," said Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "Now, he's hired a TV personality for this latest episode of his distraction and dysfunction. When Speaker Boehner can't legislate his way, he shuts down the government and files lawsuits."