The House Of Representatives Files Motion For Summary Judgment In ACA Challenge

800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewThis evening, the United States House of Representatives filed its motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit against the unilateral actions taken by the Administration under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Three months ago, Judge Rosemary Collyer rejected a motion to dismiss the case by the Administration. The motion below seeks a final ruling on the merits of the lawsuit.

The motion states the following grounds for relief:

“This case concerns Congress’s exclusive power of the purse: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . . .” U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 7. “[T]he facts [of the case] are not in dispute,” Order at 3 (Oct. 19, 2015) (ECF No. 51), including the fact that defendants have been paying to health insurance companies, since January 2014, billions of taxpayer dollars under a program (the “Section 1402 Offset Program”) created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010) (“ACA”), and the fact that those payments began after defendants formally asked Congress for a non-permanent appropriation to fund the Section 1402 Offset Program, and after Congress turned down defendants’ appropriations request.

The legal question now before the Court – the sole remaining question – is whether the billions defendants admit that they have “drawn from the Treasury” and paid to health insurance companies were “in Consequence of [any] Appropriation[] made by Law,” as required by the Constitution. The answer to that question is an unqualified no, notwithstanding defendants’ many and varied efforts over the past 18 months to fashion a justification for their Section 1402 Offset Program payments. Accordingly, plaintiff United States House of Representatives (“House”) is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).”

The Administration will now have an opportunity to file an opposition to the motion and the House will have an opportunity to file a response. The schedule established by the Court stipulates that the response from the Administration must be filed by January 4, 2016 and the House must file its reply by January 18, 2016.

The Administration also has the ability to file for summary judgment in its own favor. Any cross motion for summary judgment by the Administration must be filed today and any response from the House must be filed by January 4, 2016 and any reply to that cross motion must be filed by January 18, 2016.

Jonathan Turley
Lead Counsel for the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives v. Burwell et al


Burwell.Summary Judgment

36 thoughts on “The House Of Representatives Files Motion For Summary Judgment In ACA Challenge”

  1. Paul C. Schulte

    “Unless a Democrat would die or turn Republican in the Senate, there are not enough votes to impeach. It is an exercise in futility.”

    The executive branch is being sued for “overreach.” In English, he stands accused of violating the Constitution. The judicial branch cavalierly commingles the definition of “state” and “federal.” The entire democrat position violates the Constitution. Immigration is morphed from congruity and assimilation to balkanization. The community organizer and the collectivist liberals are “fundamentally transforming” the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1789, into the Communist Manifesto.

    Is doing nothing an exercise in surrender?

    It’s Speaker Ryan’s turn to “overreach.”

  2. The idea that Congress runs off to the article III courts to sort this out is silly. Congress is the ultimate branch of law. They can strip the art III courts of jurisdictions, they can change the constitution to say anything that Congress can accomplish by amending it within the constitutional framework. They can pass unconstitutional amendments and cleverly craft them so there is no judicial review. Congress just goes to the federal courts because it is too LAZY, WEAK, and EMASCULATED’ to exercise its own powers, just as Jimmy Trafficante said.

    Oh and also there is no “Congress” there are just two phony government and capitalist sponsored versions of the same one party state engaging in fake conflict. That’s another reason why they act the way they do. It’s all fake. They’re all bought off by bankers and the military-industrial-Zionist complex. Not much difference at the end of the day.

  3. steve, Yes. My experience the last 3 decades plus is in personal injury, product liability, med malpractice, litigation. Fee churning is often the motivation.

  4. steve, I have considered your comment and respectfully request to amend my remarks and insert the word “often” pro forma. Can we agree w/ that change.

    1. Nick, agreed, and I’d guess racking up fees and delaying trial (when a money judgment through settlement as opposed to trial is the ultimate goal) may most often be the motivation. The facts have to be undisputed, which seems to be the case here, and the House wants the case decided sooner rather than later. Frankly, I have no idea what the defense could be: sugar intake caused the president to do it?

      I hope the House will maintain its current choice of counsel and cut through the thorns in other areas of the law, too, like modifying and enforcing the War Powers Act.

  5. Nick, I don’t know that requesting summary judgment is “almost always pro forma,” especially when the motive for the attorneys filing the motion is something other than to rack up fees. If the facts are undisputed, it isn’t always pro forma, and it becomes the opposite: a cost and time-saving device.

    Joseph Jones: Excellent comment, to wit, “On the one hand, Congress flatly refuses to possess its sole power to declare war, giving it freely to POTUS, OTOH they cry foul when POTUS steals their sole right to pay bills (“C-WAC” for Congress Writes All Checks) “Interesting, Hobitses…”.”

    In other words, when it comes to paying for healthcare, by golly, they’ll confront the president, but when he’s slaughtering tens of thousands overseas (a la 43 and 44) for those who control Washington, D.C., or skeletonizing fundamental rights, the silence is deafening. Demagogues, every last one of them. How about someone stand up and get us out of yet another needless war that WE started?

  6. It almost seems as if right wing obstructionists are forcing the country into single-payer health care. They are right in that it’s a travesty for public money to pay $10 million +/- annual salaries to Health Insurance CEOs. The 1% would save oodles of money by getting rid of Health Insurance corporate graft.

  7. I want socialized medicine for all dogs. Can those idiots in Congress just do that?

    1. BarkinDog – I have yet to see a dog reach into its wallet to pay for medicine.

  8. Those who can: Do.
    Those who can’t: Go to Congress.
    Those who can’t pass bills: can’t think.
    Those who can’t think: still stink.

  9. Unless a Democrat would die or turn Republican in the Senate, there are not enough votes to impeach. It is an exercise in futility.

  10. Impeach is the same as a Grand jury indictment…nothing more.
    After being indicted the Senate conducts the trial. That’s when the long knives come out or the deals are made.

    When Clinton was impeached on good and proper charges of lying while under oath to a court and similar acts the trial amazingly enough was all about sex..but the charges were about another form of immoral acts so he skated. I still think that was a paid for performance on the part of that particular Senate.

  11. Speaker Ryan,

    if you’re not going to execute your duties, why hold the office?

    If you’re not going to impeach, you’re not doing your duty.

    You need to impeach, and then impeach those who won’t impeach.

    Mass negligence and dereliction of duty is a coup de etat; a revolution.

    “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

    Article 2, Section 4

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

  12. On the one hand, Congress flatly refuses to possess its sole power to declare war, giving it freely to POTUS, OTOH they cry foul when POTUS steals their sole right to pay bills (“C-WAC” for Congress Writes All Checks) “Interesting, Hobitses…”.

  13. If it’s granted, what will the Court order the Administration to do? Will the order demand that the money be returned to the Treasury? Based on what we’ve seen from Obama, is it likely he’ll take action to get the money back from the companies? It will never happen. If the Court does rule his action unconstitutional – which it is – he’ll just stare Congress down again. They will simply NOT IMPEACH, and he knows it. Even if the Court backs Congress 100%, it will still be settled by a deal.

  14. I am going to read the entire Motion. But, if you get by the Standing issue then I think that a Court might rule on the merits and may do so in a summary judgment disposition. Like, why have a trial? Are not the facts not in dispute? The Cross Motion by the Administration will be interesting. We would all like to see it in its entire form. And the Reply Briefs.

    I would expect a member of the House who is in the minority, a Democrat, would file a Motion To Intervene and object to the other members speaking on his behalf. Yes, the Standing issue.

  15. It shouldn’t fail because the President doesn’t have the authority to fund his own bills.

    The power of the purse shall always remain in the hands of the legislative branch and not the executive one.

    Obama’s second power grab, the first was the ACA and the third is the EPA trying to take control of our nations water ways.

  16. As a total layman with little understanding, I’m going to say this will CERTAINLY fail regardless of merit because politics.

    So I am curious, knowing it 99.9999999% likely to fail, why file it?

  17. The motion for summary judgement is almost always pro forma. But, I wish you luck. The Constitution matters. Hopefully.

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