Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Ron Johnson Appealing Obamacare Ruling, Will ‘Exhaust Every Legal Recourse’

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ron Johnson isn’t giving up his legal fight to toss health benefits for members of Congress and their staff participating in Obamacare.

The Wisconsin Republican formally notified a federal court Monday of his intent to appeal a ruling that he doesn’t have standing to sue the Obama administration over health benefits for members and staff.

In court documents filed Monday in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Johnson made official what he had announced in an Aug. 2 opinion piece for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In that piece, he refers to District Judge William C. Greisbach’s opinion against him on the standing question as part of his motivation for continuing the legal challenge to the Office of Personnel Management’s decision that members and staff accessing health insurance through the District of Columbia exchange can continue to get an employer contribution.

“If his standing analysis is reversed, Judge Griesbach recognized that my case will challenge the president’s executive actions head on. It continues to be a landmark opportunity to address the ‘constitutional tipping point’ we find ourselves in today,” Johnson wrote. “To honor my solemn oath of office, I feel compelled to exhaust every legal recourse.”

That’s an indication that Johnson’s legal efforts are not likely to end at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The Office of Personnel Management rule is not the most egregious example of this administration’s lawlessness, but it is one in which the president’s unilateral actions were specifically directed at members of Congress, and thus it is one I believe I have standing to challenge,” Johnson wrote. “After all, it affected my health insurance, required me to take action to designate my staff and provided special treatment that drove a wedge between me and my constituents.

“If a member of Congress does not have standing in this case, who does? And if no one has standing to force the administration to faithfully execute the law, how can the rule of law be maintained?” Johnson continued.

Griesbach offered an intriguing response to that question in issuing his ruling, writing in part: “First, there is nothing in the Constitution stipulating that all wrongs must have remedies, much less that the remedy must lie in federal court.”

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