Senator Ron Johnson’s Lawsuit Against His Own Staffers Thrown Out, Paul Clement Fails Again

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Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R) filed a lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in January of this year, challenging the rule that allows congressional staffers (including Johnson’s staffers) to receive subsides when enrolling in Obamacare.

His lawsuit has been thrown out of court because neither he nor his staffers were personally “injured” by the rule.

The judge dismissed three complains from Johnson — that the senator was burdened by having to determine who qualifies as “official staff,” that the rule hurt his reputation with voters for accepting unwarranted benefits and that it violates his constitutional right to equal protection by treating him differently than other federal employees.

The judge found the injury to Johnson’s reputation unconvincing and said the senator cannot claim injury under the Equal Protection Clause.

Johnson said he will have his staff review the ruling to determine if he should file an appeal.

That would be the same staff he is actively trying to deny subsidies to.

Given that the Plaintiffs receive, at worst, a benefit, they cannot claim to be injured under an equal protection theory,” [Judge William Griesbach] said.

Common sense prevailed in this case.

In other cases? Not so much.

I would be remiss not to add that Ron Johnson was represented in this case by former Solicitor General Paul Clement, and if you’re a regular reader here you’re probably familiar with Clement’s documented failures.

Clement represented House Republicans in their case to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). He also represented the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) in the case against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). And he represented Arizona in the case against the state’s “Papers Please” anti-immigration law SB1070.

Clement is currently representing Seattle-area businesses in their case against the city’s $15-per-hour minimum wage ordinance.

As long as they keep hiring him, they’ll keep losing.

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  • trgahan

    “As long as they keep hiring him, they’ll keep losing.”

    As long as Mr. Clement gets his invoices paid for all this legal “work”…what does he care if he wins or loses?
    His role is to just get this stuff in the courts because the mere existence of the lawsuit for a judge to throw out (clearing a liberal activitst judge!) is enough for Republican voters to convince themselves their representatives are “Fighting for them!” The details of it all are meaningless.

    Great example of the Wingnut Welfare State and it’s infestation by conmen and mercenaries.

    • bphoon

      As long as Mr. Clement gets his invoices paid for all this legal “work”…what does he care if he wins or loses?
      His role is to just get this stuff in the courts because the mere existence
      of the lawsuit for a judge to throw out (clearing a liberal activitst judge!) is enough for Republican voters to convince themselves their
      representatives are “Fighting for them!”

      It’s the appearance of action, not the efficacy of the action, that turns on GOP voters. They couldn’t care less if the action is based on demonstrable fact, valid legal grounds or even if it’s coherent. Most of those mutants wouldn’t know the difference anyway.

  • muselet

    Well, Ron Johnson may have filed an absurd lawsuit that he never had a hope of winning, but come the 2016 election, he can go to the good people of Wisconsin and proclaim he did everything he could to take affordable health insurance coverage away from millions of Americans.

    He’d never have filed suit unless he was looking ahead to his reelection campaign.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    Oh Lord! The Equal Protection Clause, simply stated, prohibits legislators from enacting laws based on their own or their communities animus (hatreds, bigotries and what have you) toward an identifiable group. It does not guarantee that the law will never “treat you differently”. Why not just throw in the kitchen sink, while they are at it.

    • bphoon

      That’s pretty much what they’re doing.

  • Christopher Foxx

    As long as they keep hiring him, they’ll keep losing.

    Correction: As long as they keep filing ridiculous lawsuits, they’ll keep losing. Regardless of who they hire.

    • JMAshby

      Today’s DC circuit ruling and the Hobby Lobby ruling show that ridiculous lawsuits can win with the right judges. Clement has not displayed an ability to win in recent years.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Yeah. I realize I was overstating when I wrote it.

        But the point remains that he loss in the cases argued by Clement wasn’t due it being Clement. They were weak cases. (Although Clement certainly didn’t help and I’m all for him continuing as teh go-to lawyer for wingnuts.)