The Obama Justice Department is facing an early afternoon deadline to submit its formal explanation over whether the administration believes judges have the power to overturn federal laws.

But while administration officials have made clear in the wake of President Obama's controversial comments that they respect that authority, it's unlikely the letter Thursday will smooth things over.

With the president's comments becoming a political football, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell plans to deliver a speech in his home state of Kentucky Thursday focusing on the president's remarks.