Mar 22, 2006

Public Citizen Sues Over Budget Reconciliation

The Budget Reconciliation bill that was signed by the President will, among many other things, affect the way that SSI back benefits are paid by the Social Security Administration. However, there was an unusual aspect to the bill's passage. The versions passed by the two houses of Congress were not exactly identical. This has already brought about a lawsuit by an Alabama attorney. Now, Public Citizen, a major national public interest organization, has also brought suit over the matter. Interestingly enough, the Public Citizen lawsuit has been brought against the Clerk of Court. One of the minor aspects of the Budget Reconciliation bill was an increase in the filing fee for United States District Court. If the bill was not truly passed by Congress, the increase in the filing fee is not valid. Suing the Clerk of Court puts the Judicial Branch of government in the defendant's chair, even though it has little interest in the matter, and forces the Attorney General into finding some way to intervene in a lawsuit to which the Executive Branch is not a party. If nothing else, any attorney has to salute the ingenuity of Public Citizen's attorneys, Allison Zieve, Adina Rosebaum and Brian Wolfram, in framing the lawsuit in this way.

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