A Supreme Court decision not to review the fact that although the U.S. Constitution requires tax bills to be launched in the U.S. House, Obamacare, which raises an estimated $800 billion in taxes, was launched in the Senate, will mean trouble for the United States, critics contend.
“At issue was the Constitution’s Origination Clause, which requires all new taxes to start in the House, the chamber closest to the people. Obamacare is a massive tax bill, but it was launched in the Senate through a procedural ploy,” said Timothy Sandefur, the principal attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation.
Pacific Legal is representing small-business owner Matt Sissel.
“The Senate’s subversion of the constitutionally mandated rules for tax bills is a danger not just in this case but in future cases as well. By allowing Congress to use procedural tricks to evade the constitutional rules, the court has opened the door to Congress further evading democratic accountability for the laws it passes,” Sandefur said.
The Supreme Court announced this week it would not hear the arguments.
The case called for the entire law to be struck because of the unconstitutional origination.
“It is very disappointing that the court has chosen not to hear this important case, because the justices were being asked to uphold and enforce an important constitutional protection for all taxpayers,” Sandefur said.
PLF’s lawsuit focused on Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires Americans to buy a federally prescribed insurance plan or pay what the Supreme Court in 2012 called “a tax on going without health insurance.”
But according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, it is just one of more than a dozen revenue-related planks in Obamacare that collectively will impose more than $800 billion in new taxes.
While Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution requires all bills for raising taxes to begin in the House, Obamacare was launched when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid took the number from an unrelated House bill and slapped it on Obamacare’s 2,700 pages.
Sissel said: “The battle against Obamacare’s oppressive bureaucratic dictates will go on. Tens of millions of Americans agree with me that we should have the freedom to make our own health-care choices, and not be forced to purchase a federally dictated healthcare plan.”
The Pacific Legal Foundation has characterized Reid’s actions as a “shell” game.
A friend-of-the-court brief filed by Michael Connelly of the United States Justice Foundation and Herb Titus and William Olson of William J. Olson, P.C. charged that courts have seemed to manipulate the law to accommodate the end goal of imposing Obamacare on America.
For example, when Obamacare was adopted, the White House authors of the tax-and-spend plan were very specific: The billions of dollars in payments being demanded from Americans were penalties, not taxes.
But the Supreme Court said that as penalties, the required payments would be unconstitutional, so it determined the payments are taxes.
The White House quickly agreed.
Then the Supreme Court took up the issue of whether or not subsidies should go only to taxpayers enrolled in health insurance programs established by states.
The justices, however, recognizing Obama’s signature law could collapse because most states wanted no part of the deal, ruled “established by the state” includes exchanges established by the federal government.
The Sissel case, arguing that tax bills must originate with the body of lawmakers closest to voters, cited former Chief Justice Marshall saying there is no “middle ground.”
“The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it,” he said.
Regarding the Obamacare case, the brief explained, the judges who already have ruled in the case have determined those constitutional requirements “may be altered at the sole discretion of Congress by simply attributing to the bill some primary nonrevenue purposes.”
It explained, then, “Presto – the Origination Clause does not apply.”
Interestingly, the brief pointed out that like the Supreme Court’s assertion that the goal of Obamacare is to change behavior regarding health insurance, “King George III averred that the 1765 Stamp Act had a nonrevenue purpose in that it would not only raise money, but would ‘unite the interests of the most distant possessions of the crown, and to encourage and secure their commerce with Great Britain.'”
Argued the brief: “Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, various reviewing courts have labored in order to save it from a finding of constitutional infirmity. In doing so, they have fashioned several creative legal rationales to support the ACA which have caused many to question these decisions as outcome-driven.”