Raines suggests that federal courts must dismiss cases brought by legislators in their official capacity, unless they can show that their legal injury arises out of the complete nullification of their vote, thus equating their injury to institutional harm. The complaint repeatedly notes that “[t]he House has been injured, and continues to be injured, by defendants’ [unconstitutional/unlawful] actions, which, among other things, usurp the House’s legislative authority.”
The court’s willingness to reach the merits of these arguments may turn on how much weight is given to the availability of political tools to reverse the President’s decisions. Raines may not be a model of clarity, but this first Supreme Court ruling on congressional standing relied in part on the ability of the congressional plaintiffs there to persuade their colleagues to repeal the Line Item Veto Act. If that reasoning can be extended to Congress’ powers to curb the alleged Presidential errors through the appropriations process or further legislative action, then Raines may undercut the House’s claim that the executive branch has fully usurped its legislative authority. However, that would entail a significant extension of that piece of the Raines rationale.
This makes House of Representatives v. Burwell et al. another fascinating example of the role our three branches of government continue to play in healthcare politics.