Suing the President of the United States is not something that any lawyer gets to do any day, but the one who has drawn the short straw for the House Republicans is David Rivkin, who is to take up the cudgels for the Republicans in their claim that the president has overreached.
Speaker John Boehner had been consulting with Rivkin in the run-up to his announcement that he would sue the president for inflicting institutional injury against the House by acting unilaterally. Now, Rivkin, a partner at Baker Hostetler in Washington, will have a chance to test how receptive the courts will be to that theory he outlined with Florida International University College of Law professor Elizabeth Price Foley.
“No President is above nor should operate beyond the limits of the Constitution,” House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice Miller said in a statement. “The House of Representatives, using regular order and the powers that the Constitution has provided, calls upon our government’s system of checks and balances and asks the judicial branch to examine the President’s failure to faithfully execute the law.”
The agreement caps payments at $350,000 through January 2015, and specifies an hourly rate of $500 for the legal work, according to the contract, signed by Rivkin, Miller, and House General Counsel Kerry Kircher.’
House Democrats, meanwhile, wasted no time decrying the suit as a waste of time and money. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said in a statement that the suit shows that Republicans have the wrong priorities.
“This outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars is yet another reminder of House Republicans’ misguided priorities,” Israel said. “Only in John Boehner’s world does it make sense to pay lawyers $500 per hour to work on a partisan lawsuit while refusing to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for hardworking Americans trying to feed their families.”
The next step will be filing the text of the lawsuit, which Boehner already has said will seek to paint Obama’s executive action delaying the mandate that all employers provide health insurance as a stipulation of the Affordable Care Act.
The biggest hurdle will be gaining standing before the court, according to several legal experts. The judiciary is often unwilling to jump into a dispute between the other branches of the government.
Who is David Rivkin?
Here’s the bio from his firm, Baker Hostetler:
David Rivkin is a member of the firm’s litigation, international, and environmental teams and is co-leader of the firm’s national Appellate Practice. He has extensive experience in constitutional, administrative, and international law litigation and has been involved in numerous high-profile cases. With prior experience in the government sector, David draws on a wealth of knowledge when providing compliance advice to companies and handling enforcement proceedings before government agencies on issues arising out of multilateral and unilateral sanctions, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-boycott issues, bankruptcy and financial fraud matters, and environmental and energy issues.
David has developed and implemented legislative, regulatory, and litigation initiatives for two Administrations. Over the years, he has published hundreds of articles, op eds, book reviews, and book chapters on a variety of international, legal, constitutional, defense, arms control, foreign policy, environmental, and energy issues for various newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times, and has been a frequent commentator and guest on TV and radio shows including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and PBS.