Former Solicitor General: ‘I Don’t See Any Limit to the Principle’ Behind House GOP Lawsuit

By Melanie Arter | July 16, 2014 | 3:54 PM EDT

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

( - Walter Dellinger, who served as acting solicitor general during the Clinton administration, told the House Rules Committee Wednesday at a hearing on a resolution to sue the president for delaying the employer mandate in Obamacare through executive action could lead to litigation between both chambers of Congress or even the president suing the Senate.

“I don’t see any limit to the principle that would be behind this House suit. I could see that if we were to start down that road, the president could go into court and sue the Senate for failing to give him an up-or-down answer on nominees as the Constitution contemplates that they actually advice and consent or reject, but give them a vote,” said Dellinger.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last month plans to sue the president for what he called “aggressive unilateralism,” adding that if something was not done, Obama would have “king-like authority at the expense of the American people and their elected legislators.”

“I could imagine the House suing the Senate because a certain bill the Senate was considering didn’t originate in the House,” Dellinger said.

“As Chairman [Pete] Sessions [R-Texas] noted, the House has that authority over taxing and budget matters, so if the Senate were considering a bill, would you go into federal district court and seek a mandamus to make the Senate not proceed with a revenue measure that failed to originate?” he asked.

“I just think these are not matters that the courts ought to be deciding.” Dellinger said.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said that “every single Republican in Congress voted against the Affordable Care Act,” followed by repeated efforts to delay or repeal what they said “was the worst piece of legislation in the history of the Republic.”

“They shut down the government to try to stop it. Now they’re trying to speed it up,” Slaughter said.

Simon Lazarus, senior counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, said it was “curious that the objection here is to putting some flexibility into the pace at which one part of the Affordable Care Act is implemented from members who quite sincerely believe that the Affordable Care Act is not a sound piece of legislation.”