Can a sitting US Senator be impeached for filing a frivolous lawsuit?
My first reaction upon hearing than a Senator from my current home state, Ron Johnson, has sued the government over parts of the Affordable Care Act was to assume that he was litigating to overturn something whose passage he couldn’t prevent as a Senator. That’s incorrect; he was elected Senator after the ACA passed.
Nevertheless, it seems perverse for a Senator to sue to overturn a law passed by Congress. Most legislators rail against “activist courts”; this one is counting on some judge to agree to overturn a law passed by Senators just like this one. Well, not “just like.” This one is dumber than a box of rocks.
One of his arguments is about the provision that legislators’ staffs have to use the health insurance exchanges for their health insurance. This was supposed to be a poison-pill provision in the ACA: “We’ll make you live with this! You’ll hate it!” At one level, this makes sense; Congress is notorious for not having to live with laws it passes. On other hand, this is completely asinine: the whole point of the ACA is that employers are supposed to provide health insurance to their employees that meet a certain minimum standard. All Federal employees have several health insurance choices, all of which comply with the standards. This poison pill made Congress act like a bad employer, refusing to provide the benefit for its staff that was supposed to be encouraged.
The claim is that the subsidy given to Congressional staffers to use the exchanges is a benefit other Americans don’t receive. No shit, Sherlock; most Americans receive health insurance through their employer,subsidized by their employer.
Another claim is that the ACA somehow forces the Senator to make illegal choices, as the employer of his staff. Hello?!? Following a law enacted by Congress is inherently a legal choice.
Whatever sanctions courts are permitted against people who file frivolous lawsuits clearly are insufficient if this moron isn’t deterred from filing this lawsuit. Fortunately, in two years, I can vote against him.