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Yesterday, a federal court ruled that the House of Representatives could pursue its claim against the Obama administration for spending billions of dollars on Obamacare that had never been appropriated by Congress. US District Judge Rosemary Collyer — a George W. Bush appointee — rejected the arguments that the House lacks “standing” to sue and that the lawsuit was too political to be heard in the courts.
“Despite its potential political ramifications, this suit remains a plain dispute over a constitutional command, of which the Judiciary has long been the ultimate interpreter,” the judge wrote in her ruling. The constitutional command is unambiguous: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law …” (Article I, § 9, cl. 7).
So now the lawsuit heads toward trial and the inevitable appeals process. Of course, the constitutionality of Obamacare itself is not at issue in this suit — rather it is the constitutionality of the unilateral executive actions taken to implement the law. Still, the case could be an opportunity for the courts to smack down Obama for his abuse of executive power. Or it could be another opportunity for Chief Justice Roberts to rewrite the law once again.