Even though Speaker John Boehner has announced his intention to have the House sue President Obama for alleged nonenforcement of laws, don't expect that suit to come to a courthouse near you anytime soon. For now, the threatened litigation will remain a handy punchline for a president scornful of what he sees as a partisan stunt and a heavy promise from a speaker frustrated by what he sees as executive overreach.
In the long run, the suit faces constitutional and legal hurdles almost guaranteed to drag the process out for several years. These include the historic reluctance of the Supreme Court to referee spats between the other two coequal branches of government as well as the always-prickly question of whether Boehner and the Republicans have standing to file the suit.
Boehner has been exploring the possible suit for six months, disclosing it last month to his caucus. In a memo to his fellow Republicans, he argued that the House has standing if the full House authorizes the action, if "harm is being done to the general welfare," and if "there is no legislative remedy." Those skeptical of the suit have contended that the House has legislative remedies with its control of the purse strings and its impeachment power.