Boehner hires new lawyer for Obama suit

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerGOP rushes to vote without knowing full impact of healthcare plan Dem senator to reintroduce ‘buy American’ legislation GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes MORE (R-Ohio) has hired another lawyer for House Republicans' lawsuit against President Obama, after two legal teams backed away from the effort. 

Boehner will retain Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, as lead counsel to challenge Obama's delay of the healthcare law's employer mandate. 

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Turley has testified on Capitol Hill in support of the lawsuit, which has been criticized as a nonstarter in parts of the legal community. He confirmed his contract with House Republicans on his personal blog.

"It is a great honor to represent the House of Representatives," Turley wrote on Monday. 

"The question presented by this lawsuit is whether we will live in a system of shared and equal powers, as required by our Constitution, or whether we will continue to see the rise of a dominant Executive with sweeping unilateral powers. That is a question worthy of review and resolution in our federal courts," he added. 

It has been more than four months since House Republicans decided to focus their lawsuit — intended to challenge Obama's use of executive action — on the employer mandate. 

The suit has not been filed, and two Washington legal teams have already backed out of the effort. A spokesman for Boehner said last month that the action would "soon" go to court. 

Democrats called the lawsuit frivolous.

"Even for $500-per-hour in taxpayer dollars, Speaker Boehner has had to scour Washington to find a lawyer willing to file this meritless lawsuit against the President," said Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a statement Tuesday morning.

"When Speaker Boehner can't legislate his way, he shuts down the government and files lawsuits. While he's staggered from Washington law firm to Washington law firm, the American people are wondering when he will stop the nonsuits and nonsense, and sit down with Democrats to address the real challenges working families face."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel defended Turley as a "renowned legal scholar" and a "natural choice" to handle the case.

— Scott Wong contributed.

This story was updated on Nov. 19 at 10:51 a.m.