Pacific Legal Foundation continues to be on the front lines in the constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In a new complaint filed yesterday on behalf of client Matt Sissel, PLF attorneys have asked Judge Beryl Howell to rule that Congress ignored the Constitution’s Origination Clause when it enacted the Obamacare “tax.” We’ve also asked the court to declare the Individual Mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause—thereby clarifying whether Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion is binding precedent, or merely non-binding “dicta,” as some lawyers have argued.
The Origination Clause requires “all bills for raising revenue” to “originate” in the House of Representatives. But the Obama Administration’s health care law did not originate in the House; it originated in the Senate, when Senator Harry Reid “amended” a bill the House had passed by striking out all of its text and replacing it with the Senate-written bill that eventually became Obamacare. At that time, Congress claimed that the bill was not a tax—and indeed, the Obama Administration continues to insist that it is not a tax—but this summer the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision ruling that while Congress had no power to force people to buy health insurance, it did have power to tax them for not buying insurance. The justices did not address the question of whether such a “tax” was constitutional under the Origination Clause, because none of the lawyers raised that issue—until now.
Read the rest at PLF Liberty Blog.