Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 2, 2015

Federal Judge Tosses Ron Johnson’s Obamacare Lawsuit

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A federal judge based in Green Bay has tossed a Sen. Ron Johnson’s Obamacare lawsuit targeting the health benefits for members of Congress and their staff.

The court dismissed the lawsuit, which contended the Obama administration decision to grant employer contributions for health plans purchased through the District of Columbia’s Obamacare health exchange ran afoul of the law.

Chief Judge William C. Griesbach of the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled that Johnson and fellow plaintiff Brooke Ericson lacked standing, siding with the argument made by the government’s lawyers.

In making his judgement, Griesbach worked through several arguments that explained how the Office of Personnel Management regulation harmed the plaintiffs, finding none of them persuasive.

“The question of the legality of the regulation has not been determined yet; although Plaintiffs believe the regulation is unlawful, such a belief cannot be enough to create standing because that would open the door to any uninjured party who had a generalized grievance with a government regulation,” the judge wrote. “Under such an approach, there would be no principled limit on standing because a plaintiff need only allege a belief that the challenged regulation is illegal.”

Griesbach also dismissed the idea that the subsidized health care itself constituted an injury, rather than a benefit.

“Even assuming that one or both Plaintiffs selected a Gold-tier plan on the DC SHOP Exchange and received the subsidy as allowed under the OPM rule, it is hard to understand how this would constitute an ‘injury’ to either person,” Griesbach wrote.

Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, responded to the judge’s ruling in a statement highlighting that the court did not reach the substantive question in the case, dismissing it (as the Obama administration had argued it should be) based on lack of standing.

“The Obama administration violated its own signature health care law by giving special treatment to members of Congress and their staffs. I believe that this executive action by the Obama administration is unlawful and unfair, and that it is only one of many examples of this president’s abuse of his constitutional duty,” Johnson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, those actions will go unchallenged for now, because the district court granted the administration’s motion to dismiss based on the legal technicality of standing.”

Johnson was not prepared to announce a next move as of Monday evening. Another senator, Republican David Vitter of Louisiana, has pursued the issue from a different angle, regularly seeking votes on an amendment that could negate the OPM rule.

“Americans increasingly — and correctly — believe that their government in Washington is out of control, out of touch and lawless. By its decision today, the court has chosen not to address the important constitutional issues at hand. My legal team and I will carefully review the decision before determining our next step in this important constitutional dispute,” Johnson said.

“First, there is nothing in the Constitution stipulating that all wrongs must have remedies, much less that the remedy must lie in federal court,” Griesbach wrote. “In fact, given the Constitution’s parsimonious grant of judicial authority, just the opposite is true.”

  • Unsooper

    Government breaks the law? No problem, absolutely no one has standing. After all, if the federal government doesn’t want to prosecute itself then no one must ever be injured otherwise the DoJ would have leapt into action to protect the injured and catch the criminal and they haven’t so there must not have been any laws broken or else someone would have standing. The reasoning here is precisely backwards. Nice racket.
    Let it burn. Why bother?

    • Imma Commenter

      That was hilarious…thanks for the laugh!

  • ADR

    Another example of courts ruling, not in case law, but activism by changing law as this Obama regime desires. Indeed we have judges ‘run amuck’ that shows how our universities change fragile minds to mush. If We The People are to regain our Freedoms & Liberties, we will have to do it through righteous education and bravery.

    • stevenharnack

      “universities change fragile minds to mush” Right, much better to never crack a book and to just “know” things. How about if you articulate just a couple of those “Freedoms and Liberties” that we have lost and need to regain instead of just spouting pseudo-knowledge psycho babble? And by the way, most of us have minds that aren’t nearly as fragile as yours seems to be.

      • ADR

        Sorry for your lack of knowledge, or perhaps the blinders due to associations w/CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and liberal web sites.

  • Zed

    You don’t get to sue if you’ve suffered no injury. That’s a no-brainer. Also, the contention that executive orders are somehow illegal is absurd. All presidents beginning with George Washington have issued executive orders.

    • Mark Woodworth, Ph.D.

      An apologists for un-Constitutional orders!I think Obowmao has lost about 20 challenges to his expansion of federal powers.

  • Trotter76

    Bravo dedwardfarrar, but you’re preaching to the willfully ignorant. You can’t believe that facts, precedent and legal knowledge will change the mind of one who believes “amok” is spelled “amuck”, do you?

  • ShadrachSmith

    Fair point, the rules of judicial interpretation should be followed. Obama lost the Halbig case wherein the DC circuit ruled that the that the intent of Congress is expressed in the language of the law. Obama was arguing that the wording of the law was something other than the clear intent of congress.

    I’ll trade you the one win for the other :-)

    • Gauss

      The win that will be overruled by the entire dc circuit, and the Supreme court wont hear because the 4th circuit and dc circuit will agree.

  • mariadlewis

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

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  • Pie Thon

    Obongo’s a communist. And he’s not even a very bright one.

  • Mark Woodworth, Ph.D.

    I think a taxpayer should have standing in every federal law suit that costs our money.

  • Plow Comms

    In this YouTube video we find a dangerously delusional Hussein Obama claiming that he will magically slow the rise of the oceans and impel the earth to heal:

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