Say, doesn’t the Constitution require tax bills to originate in the House?

posted at 8:41 pm on June 28, 2012 by Allahpundit

Just a quickie post to debunk an argument that we’re already seeing in threads and e-mails: Namely, doesn’t Article I, section 7 of the Constitution say that all bills that raise revenue must originate in the House? And didn’t ObamaCare pass the Senate before it passed the House? And doesn’t that in turn mean that our nifty new health care “tax” was passed according to unconstitutional procedures?

Unless I’m missing something, no. The bill that passed the Senate wasn’t technically a Senate bill. Reid took a bill that had already passed the House, stripped out the provisions to turn it into a “shell bill,” and then inserted the text of ObamaCare to get around this requirement. The bill that passed the Senate was H.R.3590, which initially had to do with tax breaks for military homeowners. And yes, they’ve used the “shell bill” strategy before. In fact, the conservative opinion today specifically mentioned Article I, section 7 at one point while raising no objection to Reid’s sleight of hand. Quote:

For all these reasons, to say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it. Judicial tax-writing is particularly troubling. Taxes have never been popular, see, e.g., Stamp Actof 1765, and in part for that reason, the Constitution requires tax increases to originate in the House of Representatives. See Art. I, §7, cl. 1. That is to say, they must originate in the legislative body most accountable to the people, where legislators must weigh the need for the tax against the terrible price they might pay at their next election, which is never more than two years off. The Federalist No. 58 “defend[ed] the decision to give the origination power to the House on the ground that the Chamber that is more accountable to the people should have the primary role in raising revenue.” United States v. Munoz-Flores, 495 U. S. 385, 395 (1990). We have no doubt that Congress knew precisely what it was doing when it rejected an earlier version of this legislation that imposed a tax instead of a requirement-with-penalty. See Affordable Health Care for America Act, H. R. 3962, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., §501 (2009); America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009, S. 1796, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., §1301. Imposing a tax through judicial legislation inverts the constitutional scheme, and places the power to tax in the branch of government least accountable to the citizenry.

The Court tolerates the “shell bill” procedure, I think, because the Seventeenth Amendment has somewhat undermined the Framers’ intent of making sure that tax bills begin in the chamber that’s more accountable to the people. The House is still more accountable, but less so now that the Senate is also popularly elected. And in the case of O-Care, which passed a deep blue House at the time and a barely filibuster-proof Senate, there’s no doubt that the tax-mandate would have passed the House easily even if it had originated there. I suppose O-Care opponents could sue anyway and claim that “shell bills” in tax matters should be deemed unconstitutional because they violate the spirit of Article I, section 7, but c’mon: How likely do you think Roberts would be to say, “You’re right, I totally spaced on the origination clause in my earlier landmark ruling. Decision overturned”?

The silver lining here procedurally is that, now that the mandate’s officially a “tax,” it falls squarely within the parameters of budgetary matters than can be dealt with in the Senate via reconciliation. That means the GOP will only need 51 votes to get rid of it, not 60.

Update: While we’re at it, one more bit debunkery. Some people on Twitter this morning were speculating about whether it’d be legal now to tax guns or abortion in order to regulate them. The problem with those examples is that each involves a constitutional right, which makes taxing them a lot trickier legally. Eugene Volokh wrote a bit about it a few years ago over at his site. You can impose some sort of minimal fees, but once your tax is onerous enough that it’s deemed to have imposed a “substantial” burden on the right in question, it’s unconstitutional.


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What Constitution?

Electrongod on June 28, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Obama IS the Constitution!!!!

Next thread please.

PappyD61 on June 28, 2012 at 8:44 PM

A pity the constitution didn’t require the Senate to give an up or down vote to tax bills without being able to amend them.

Count to 10 on June 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM

UGH – I have such a headache after today.

gophergirl on June 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Tax on guns?…..meh, Roberts would go for that…..even if he had to make it up.

FIGHT, VOTE, DEFEAT OBAMA.

Our last chance to save the nation.

PappyD61 on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

This is absolutely disgusting! John Roberts is a disgrace

shov74 on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

“While we’re at it, one more bit debunkery. Some people on Twitter this morning were speculating about whether it’d be legal now to tax guns or abortion in order to regulate them. The problem with those examples is that each involves a constitutional right, which makes taxing them a lot trickier legally. Eugene Volokh wrote a bit about it a few years ago over at his site. You can impose some sort of minimal fees, but once your tax is onerous enough that it’s deemed to have imposed a “substantial” burden on the right in question, it’s unconstitutional.”

BUT – does not every American citizen have a constitutional right to live in the United States? Is not obama’s new TAX a TAX on our constitutional right to live in this country?

Pork-Chop on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Constitution, We don’t need no stinking Constitution “Judge Dread Roberts”.

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

It is nice to keep in the forefront of our minds all the tricks the democrats played in order to pass this law in the first place, they may come in handy when we are engaged in its repeal.

Windsweeping on June 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM

The left is too excited today to stop and think that this new legal precedent could come back and bite them in the butt someday.

Just for spite, the House of Reps should pass a bill stating that both gun and Bible ownership can lower crime, therefore all Americans are required to buy a gun and Bible or face a tax.

Eschelon on June 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Next up?……we’re donating money tomorrow to Bachmann and Ted Cruz.

And then coming back to donate to Romney.

Vote with your pocketbook………STOP THE DOTUS!!!

PappyD61 on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

But it can be repealed with reconciliation since that’s the way it was foisted upon us.

SouthernGent on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

The silver lining here procedurally is that, now that the mandate’s officially a “tax,” it falls squarely within the parameters of budgetary matters than can be dealt with in the Senate via reconciliation. That means the GOP will only need 51 votes to get rid of it, not 60.

Heck yeah. We need to get that majority in the Senate.

tom daschle concerned on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

BUT – does not every American citizen have a constitutional right to live in the United States? Is not obama’s new TAX a TAX on our constitutional right to live in this country?

Pork-Chop on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Only if you insist on sucking air LOL I mean I don’t know how Roberts could finagle away to tax a corpse for residing in the United States. Not that I don’t think he’s up to the weasely challenge.

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

It is nice to keep in the forefront of our minds all the tricks the democrats played in order to pass this law in the first place, they may come in handy when we are engaged in its repeal.

Windsweeping on June 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM

The republican will never do it, they think they will be more liked by the press if they don’t. Ths thing is heremtonstay. It is up to your and my children now to fix it. If they want

Conservative4ev on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Even so, Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause still apply to tax bills. They can be tossed if they violate them.

txmomof6 on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

So when I am coerced to sign on the bottom line of the contract to pay monthly taxes…
I am also required to read the contract and understand what’s in it?

Electrongod on June 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM

I used to think we were Rocky and they were Drago…now I think they are Clubber Lang and we’re Adrian. Im going to go curl up into the fetal position.

vinylsquares on June 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM

How about the 2013 GOP Congress require that every adult purchase a gun and ammo. If one chooses not to do so he’ll be taxed. Or, mandate that adults must buy an 8-cylinder car or SUV at least once every 4 years. Those who don’t will pay a tax. Same logic as Obamatax isn’t it?

grgeil on June 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM
He doesn’t have to finagle it. Ever here of Estate taxes?

txmomof6 on June 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Yeah, but at least we have now have precedent for POTUS ignoring and refusing to enforce laws he doesn’t like. And the left is okay with it. That will hold for the Romney presidency, right? Right?

obladioblada on June 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM

ROBbertscare®

Mr. Arrogant on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

The bill that passed the Senate wasn’t technically a Senate bill. Reid took a bill that had already passed the House, stripped out the provisions to turn it into a “shell bill,” and then inserted the text of ObamaCare to get around this requirement.

Not surprising, the whole thing was a fraud from day one.

But now that the mandate has been determined to be a TAX, then give the Democrats credit for the largest ($1.7 TRILLION) TAX INCREASE in history on the middle class.

I’m sure they’ll boast of it daily.

GarandFan on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Get a Harvard law dgree. Then destroy America.

bgibbs1000 on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Thank you for posting again about reconciliation. That needs to be said. 51 votes.

INC on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM
He doesn’t have to finagle it. Ever here of Estate taxes?

txmomof6 on June 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Yes they can tax a dead person on the way out, but how would you tax them annually for residing in the United States?

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Thank you for posting again about reconciliation. That needs to be said. 51 votes.

INC on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Everyone needs to e-mail or call their congresscritter, Eric Cantor has scheduled a vote for July 11th.

SWalker on June 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM

The only Constitution that I can count on now, is my morning Constitution.

faraway on June 28, 2012 at 8:54 PM

So my Senator, Isakson, was indeed correct.

Bmore on June 28, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I mentioned this on another thread -

isn’t the ACA tax is a direct tax, and therefore must be apportioned back to the staes by census results?

gonnjos on June 28, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Thanks for clearing that up, AP.

Excellent blogging today, btw…

The Ugly American on June 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Get a Harvard law dgree. Then destroy America.

bgibbs1000 on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Harvard, the bath salts of higher education.

faraway on June 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Cemetary tax? :)

txmomof6 on June 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Everyone needs to e-mail or call their congresscritter, Eric Cantor has scheduled a vote for July 11th.

SWalker on June 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Yes, and it’s already been mentioned that now the Dems who want to vote nay on a repeal have to justify voting for a massive tax.

INC on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

What is needed is a constitutional amendment that specifically limits Congress’s power to tax, real property, etc. Then let’s see Mr. “I’m saving the integrity of the Court” Roberts weasel his way out of this.

Rovin on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Update: While we’re at it, one more bit debunkery. Some people on Twitter this morning were speculating about whether it’d be legal now to tax guns or abortion in order to regulate them. The problem with those examples is that each involves a constitutional right, which makes taxing them a lot trickier legally. Eugene Volokh wrote a bit about it a few years ago over at his site. You can impose some sort of minimal fees, but once your tax is onerous enough that it’s deemed to have imposed a “substantial” burden on the right in question, it’s unconstitutional.

AP isn’t paying attention.

According to Justice Roberts, NOTHING is unconstitutional.

fossten on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Everyone needs to e-mail or call their congresscritter, Eric Cantor has scheduled a vote for July 11th.

SWalker on June 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Make the House and Senate vote again. Its not like they are doing anything else besides campaigning and spending money. Make Obama veto it.

txmomof6 on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

We don’t stinkin’ care what the COTUS says. Now, you rubes, STFU and go pay for your salad in the McDonalds’ “Tax” Revenue Drop-Off Lane (formerly the Drive-Thru). Don’t you know that paying money to a corporation for a good or service is now a form of taxation or do I need to send the blackshirts to beat it into you????

Anyhoo, Obama has done exactly what FDR did with SS. “No, my fellow Americans. It’s not a tax. I would NEVER levy such a tax on you!” Then, “Your honours, this mandate isn’t really a mandate or a penalty. It’s a tax even though we didn’t include it in the revenue-raising section of the Act. No, really. We swear. Cross our hearts. Hope to die.”

The only redeeming thing you can say about FDR is, at least, the money that he took from Americans actually went into the Treasury instead of private corporate bank accounts.

Obama: “Support your local, private, health insurance corporation! Pay ‘taxes” to it!”

Resist We Much on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

So this is a tax on every American simply fo rbeing an American (or is it a tax on all persons living in the US?) Either way, isn’t that a poll tax, a tax on each head? And poll taxes are unconstitutional, right?

I guess I need to read the opinion, I was just wondering if this question had yet been asked and answered. Thanks.

JustTruth101 on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

…deemed to have imposed a “substantial” burden on the right in question, it’s unconstitutional.

What Rights? What Constitution?

We. Haven’t. Had. Any. Actual. Rights. For. So. Long. No. One. Can. Remember. Them

clippermiami on June 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Wonder how many dumbasses will walk into their nearest clinic tomorrow, get treated and then refuse to pay?

I’d love to see some surveillance videos of that!

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM

doesn’t Article I, section 7 of the Constitution say that all bills that raise revenue must originate in the House? And didn’t ObamaCare pass the Senate before it passed the House? And doesn’t that in turn mean that our nifty new health care “tax” was passed according to unconstitutional procedures?

The bill that passed the Senate wasn’t technically a Senate bill. Reid took a bill that had already passed the House, stripped out the provisions to turn it into a “shell bill,” and then inserted the text of ObamaCare to get around this requirement.

In fact, the conservative opinion today specifically mentioned Article I, section 7 at one point while raising no objection to Reid’s sleight of hand.

O.K., so the ruling today that George Will called a victory for conservatism says its alright for bills that raise revenue to originate in the Senate?

Thanks, I was having a hard time figuring this one out.

Mr. Arkadin on June 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Update: While we’re at it, one more bit debunkery. Some people on Twitter this morning were speculating about whether it’d be legal now to tax guns or abortion in order to regulate them. The problem with those examples is that each involves a constitutional right, which makes taxing them a lot trickier legally. Eugene Volokh wrote a bit about it a few years ago over at his site. You can impose some sort of minimal fees, but once your tax is onerous enough that it’s deemed to have imposed a “substantial” burden on the right in question, it’s unconstitutional.

This new taxing power(and it is new) will first be used against the rich… rich people who don’t buy Volts will be taxed to subsidize the other rich people who do.

ninjapirate on June 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM

After all of this we are actually arguing over what the Constitution allows or doesn’t allow. Seems that is up to Roberts from now on.

Howcome on June 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Feeling a little better only needing 51 votes now the question is do republicans have the cajones to do it and wheres the list of vulnerable dem senators and squish republicans we need to target?

ldbgcoleman on June 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM

What about the HHS ObamaTax waivers.

Does HHS have the authority to waive a tax?

AndrewsDad on June 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM

The Constitution is DEAD. And American citizens are ruled by a political class which is no longer particularly concerned with what we think about that since they’ve already bought off half the electorate with monthly checks.

Murf76 on June 28, 2012 at 9:01 PM

BUT – does not every American citizen have a constitutional right to live in the United States? Is not obama’s new TAX a TAX on our constitutional right to live in this country?

Pork-Chop on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Unfortunately, there is no ‘right’ to live anywhere. Illegal-immigrant loving libtards aside.

MelonCollie on June 28, 2012 at 9:01 PM

UGH – I have such a headache after today.

gophergirl on June 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM

…and a stomach that won’t stop churning.

herm2416 on June 28, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Cemetary tax? :)

txmomof6 on June 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Maybe, but it probably falls under property tax, whoever owns the cemetery “property” pays the tax. After you buy the cemetery plot you should be left alone to Rest In Peace :)

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Question answered about the poll tax. It’s not a poll tax because not everybody has to pay. JUST YOU AND ME AND ALL THE OTHER IDIOTS THAT HAVE JOBS!

you are required to do so if you fit a certain income or employment profile; if you don’t fit the profile, you aren’t required to make the purchase; but if you do fit the profile and fail to make the purchase, you will be fined.

JustTruth101 on June 28, 2012 at 9:04 PM

You think those in the ruling class, give a rats rear
end about that old piece of paper called the U.S. Constitution?
After all, it was written by a bunch of evil rich white European
male slaveholders.

Those “in power (both R & D) could give a hoot about us hayseeds.
We keep electing these idiots, so what does that say about us?

p51d007 on June 28, 2012 at 9:04 PM

It is nice to keep in the forefront of our minds all the tricks the democrats played in order to pass this law in the first place, they may come in handy when we are engaged in its repeal.

Windsweeping on June 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM

The republican will never do it, they think they will be more liked by the press if they don’t. Ths thing is heremtonstay. It is up to your and my children now to fix it. If they want

Conservative4ev on June 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Yep, too many idiot RINOs that want to be ‘on the right side of history’, whatever the hell that means.

slickwillie2001 on June 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Anyone else see that report of how livid Kennedy was in court when speaking about the ruling?
Makes it even more difficult to believe that the Traitor John Roberts would sell out the country like he did. How in heck are we going to get sixty votes to repeal this thing? The thought that Roberts could have saved up the trouble just by doing the right thing is infuriating.

AmeriCuda on June 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Okay, wait. Let me see if I’ve got this straight. It’s a tax for something that originated in the Senate when only the House can initiate tax bills. It was passed by changing the rules, so it can be repealed by following the rules that never should have changed in the first place. It’s a health care act that won’t give anyone health care, but will add trillions to our debt when we already owe trillions. Have I got it right?

BTW, after reading the opinion, I think Roberts was brilliant. I think he did curtail the Commerce Clause abuses. I think he handed Romney a victory in November. I still want to throttle him.

Question: if it’s a tax that originated in the Senate, can it come back to the SCOTUS for unconstitutionality on that basis?

idalily on June 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

BUT – does not every American citizen have a constitutional right to live in the United States? Is not obama’s new TAX a TAX on our constitutional right to live in this country?

Pork-Chop on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Yeah Robert’s didn’t care for that whole Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness thingy. He crossed through it, and he rewrote the intent of the founders was to tax everything we do to our eye teeth.

Dr Evil on June 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Has Dear Leader agreed to this silly tax thing that the SCOTUS came up with..?

d1carter on June 28, 2012 at 9:06 PM

With all due respect, AP, I think we’re through the looking glass now on what can and can’t be done and what is legal and isn’t, Constitutional, etc.

catmman on June 28, 2012 at 9:06 PM

“We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders.”

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Translation: Obama voters, enjoy your middle class tax increase, you suckas. We aren’t ruling on whether this “thing” is sound policy and we aren’t going to protect you from a President that broke his “not one, thin dime” pledge.

Resist We Much on June 28, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Just move on.Although i would have preferred the supreme court overturn this it has energized our base and will help with independents who don’t want to pay more taxes.

If we can defeat Obama and get 51 senators we can kill this.

the one thing that the court did do is declare the mandate a tax.

that means 51 senators can kill it.

gerrym51 on June 28, 2012 at 9:07 PM

You can impose some sort of minimal fees, but once your tax is onerous enough that it’s deemed to have imposed a “substantial” burden on the right in question, it’s unconstitutional.

Lot’s of nuance there, for politicians and jurist who want to “deem” whatever the hell they want, eh?

In the end, it’s like everything else – meaningless. “They” have demonstrated that the Constitution is dead, and they’re going to do to us whatever the hell they want, and no amount of verbiage you can muster that would suggest otherwise means a f@#$ing thing.

But by all means, let’s talk about that quaint notion that elections mean a damn thing anymore, and get all excited about November, because *that* election will be the one that makes a difference.

Midas on June 28, 2012 at 9:08 PM

…and a stomach that won’t stop churning.

herm2416 on June 28, 2012 at 9:02 PM

I’m just pissed but resolved.

Like it or not – Romney is our best shot and may be the only shot at stopping this thing.

gophergirl on June 28, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Will Republicans trying to convince us that John Roberts’ decision was part of a nuanced long term legal and/or political strategy just cut the sh-t! Even if that was his motive, that is a form of situational ethics. He isn’t there to be Karl Rove OR David Axelrod. He is there to uphold the Constitution…period!

Reggie1971 on June 28, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Best sign ever in that pic: “Thank you for subsidizing my poor life choices”.

Bishop on June 28, 2012 at 9:09 PM

…and a stomach that won’t stop churning.

herm2416 on June 28, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Remember feeling that way when the election returns were coming in for the McCain-Obummer contest…now, nothing really surprises me or gets me too riled up…I just keep thinking, “OK, so what are these criminals and Marxists going to do to us next?”

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 28, 2012 at 9:09 PM

What about the waivers AP? They are no longer waivers but tax exemptions. But they are not part of the bill. They came from HSS.

Weight of Glory on June 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM

I could not fathom what Roberts was thinking. But this might explain it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/health/01seizure.html?_r=1

iurockhead on June 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM


The problem with those examples is that each involves a constitutional right

As this ruling has proven, as long as you can come up with any argument to show that a tax on abortion would be beneficial, then you can pass a tax on it. That’s what makes this so dangerous. It places an incredible amount of power in the hands of a few. We can use our power at the voting booth, but if they pass a law we don’t agree with, by the time we vote them out the damage will have already been done.

bandutski on June 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM

gerrym51 on June 28, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Do I understand it right that tax repeals cannot be filibustered?

Bishop on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

from Althouse

“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
That’s the quote from Roberts’ opinion that he extracted up front as he began the announcement of the opinion today.

There’s material throughout his opinion — which I’ve highlighted in my various posts today — that call attention to the flawed mechanisms of the universal-health-coverage scheme. Most notably, the individual mandate is only constitutional because it’s optional, and people can simply pay the “penalty” (now known as the tax) to the federal government as long as they don’t want to buy health insurance. If people behave rationally and weigh the costs against the benefits, they won’t buy insurance until their expenses (health care costs + the penalty) exceed the premiums, and the insurance companies will not amass premiums from the vast numbers of healthy people who pay in more than they receive. It seems like a design for collapse, but, as Roberts says: That’s not his concern.

AND: To say it’s a “design for collapse” is to set up the question whether it was a screw-up or whether it was the first move in a scheme to take us to a single-payer, government health care program.

i think we need Romney to begin talking about this. barry hates insurance and doctors (tonsils)…along with many other things.

r keller on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

that means 51 senators can kill it.

gerrym51 on June 28, 2012 at 9:07 PM

“Can”, but “won’t”.

Dear God, can we please put the naivete away?

GOP Senators – even if you send enough of them there – don’t have the balls or the inclination in totality to *do* it. We know this.

Midas on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

No tax on guns, but I’m all for a tax on not buying a gun since we’re now a country that taxes inactivity.

Odysseus on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Roberts is everywhere. The new media darling. A lot easier than upholding the constitution.

Slade73 on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

So this is a tax on every American simply fo rbeing an American (or is it a tax on all persons living in the US?) Either way, isn’t that a poll tax, a tax on each head? And poll taxes are unconstitutional, right?

I guess I need to read the opinion, I was just wondering if this question had yet been asked and answered. Thanks.

JustTruth101 on June 28, 2012 at 8:57 PM

I am asking the same question, I think.

If Article I prohibits direct taxes, and the only exception is for INCOME taxes, in the Sixteenth Amendment, then how is the ObamacareTax not prohibited?

Article I, Section 9, Clause 4:

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

SIxteenth Amendment exception for INCOME taxes:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

I hope someone smarter than me can answer this.

topdog on June 28, 2012 at 9:12 PM

BUT – does not every American citizen have a constitutional right to live in the United States? Is not obama’s new TAX a TAX on our constitutional right to live in this country?

Pork-Chop on June 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM

It seems that according to Obama and Holder, so do all Mexican citizens.

Bigfoot on June 28, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Allah,

“Reid took a bill that had already passed the House, stripped out the provisions to turn it into a “shell bill,” and then inserted the text of ObamaCare to get around this requirement. ”

Do you think this is A) honest, B) good for the republic?

Is there a certain point at which these political and legalistic fictions damage the body politic?

If not here, where?

chimney sweep on June 28, 2012 at 9:14 PM

On taxing guns…I agree it would be against the Constitution to tax gun ownership BUT, if some Congress in the future decided all adults must own a gun, or pay a fine (tax) we now have a road to that reality…Or buying ones ration of spinach, or a car getting more than 30MPG…anything is legal under the new Roberts Rule.

JIMV on June 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Dear Leader: The only answer to all these problems seems to be a single payer system…

d1carter on June 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

the other thing that Romney needs to say clear and often. our government has the power to tax any action or non action.

that is a power that can NOT rest with a juvenile political class, or a socialist political class. if 2008 happens again…the country will be run totally at the whim of socialists

r keller on June 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

JustTruth101 on June 28, 2012 at 9:04 PM | Delete | Delete and Ban

I disagree. Everyone is subject to the tax, some are granted waives b/c they purchased a policy, or are exempted by financial conditions.

ACA is a direct tax, and subject to apportionment.

gonnjos on June 28, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Nice try allahpundit. Just because the GOP may have done it also doesn’t make it right, acceptable or constitutional.

bgibbs1000 on June 28, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Interesting take on the ruling

http://www.ijreview.com/2012/06/9398-why-chief-justice-roberts-made-the-right-long-term-decision-with-obamacare/

gophergirl on June 28, 2012 at 9:04 PM

My thoughts exactly GG. Also, 51 votes to repeal instead of 60. obambi cannot blame (his favorite pastime) activist judges – see Republicans – and Romney can now get the Tea Party to help pull him over the finish line.

VegasRick on June 28, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Roberts is everywhere. The new media darling. A lot easier than upholding the constitution.

Slade73 on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I’m sure that John Kerry loves him right now. He underestimated him in the beginning. A true champion of the “living Constitution”.

Reggie1971 on June 28, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Say, doesn’t the Constitution require tax bills to originate in the House?

Yes, but according to the Roberts Uncertainly Principle governing mandates and taxes, and according to the observed Roberts Mandate-Tax Duality effect, the Obamacare mandate-tax is a tax or mandate depending on who reads it and when.

When Obamacare is read by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court it is a tax. When it is read by Obama and Pelosi it is not a tax. When observed by others it may or may not be a tax. It all depends. It can be either a tax or a mandate. It’s hard to tell. It depends on who is reading the bill and the situation.

farsighted on June 28, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Honestly, I do not think we are reading the origination clause correctly.

The cases involved with the matter:
Flint v. Stone Tracy Co. and Hubbard v. Lowe

Source: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL31399.pdf

The article basically says that as long as it is within the original purpose of the house bill, changing what taxes does not matter. The problem is that the healthcare issue wasn’t the original part of the bill but instead the military issues were. I think it fails on this count.

If you read, there is a pretty good quote about checking the constitutionality:

A law passed in violation of the Origination Clause would thus be no more immune from judicial scrutiny because it was passed by both Houses and signed by the President than would a law passed in violation of the First Amendment. (P. 12)

So there is the ability to use the clause. The problem comes with these two rules it has to pass:

The Supreme Court has occasionally ruled on Origination Clause matters, adopting a definition of revenue bills that is based on two central principles that tend to narrow its application to fewer classes of legislation than the House:
(1) raising money must be the primary purpose of the measure, rather than an incidental effect; and
(2) the resulting funds must be for the expenses or obligations of the government generally, rather than a single, specific purpose.

Point 2′s legitimacy is hurt because of all the extra stuff that the bill pays for. The question is whether point 1 is the bill’s primary purpose or the incidental effect. If I had to guess, I would say it was the primary purpose because the money was necessary and you cannot say a 1.6 trillion tax increases is incidental.

I do worry about Ed’s comment though. Even if I were right, Roberts would not throw the bill out now because he wouldn’t cross his own decision in a previous case.

ArkyDore on June 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Here is James “counter-insurgant” Fallows on John Roberts

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/06/good-for-john-roberts/259126/

ninjapirate on June 28, 2012 at 9:23 PM

“Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets”.

Bmore on June 28, 2012 at 9:23 PM

“As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts…[Roberts] hold[s] dear what the great Chief Justice John Marshall called “the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected”: a written Constitution, with real and determinate meaning. The judges that Mitt nominates will exhibit a genuine appreciation for the text, structure, and history of our Constitution and interpret the Constitution and the laws as they are written. And his nominees will possess a demonstrated record of adherence to these core principles.”

– from mittronmey.com

Firefly_76 on June 28, 2012 at 9:23 PM

I am so mad over this ruling I don’t even know where to direct my anger. Somewhere between disillusioned and furious describes where I’m at. And of course, our party — well, the party I used to belong to — has nominated yet another liberal in conservative clothing for president, to replace a Marxist in liberal clothing.

bobcalco on June 28, 2012 at 9:23 PM

If the entire ACA could be passed using reconciliation, I cannot imagine why the entire thing cannot be repealed using reconciliation. As you may recall, the GOP challenged the use of reconciliation on the grounds that the ACA was not just a tax.budget/measure, but the parliamentarian sided with the Dems, and the whole ACA was considered eligible for passage by 51 votes.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and I believe the GOP can do the same.

SwampYankee on June 28, 2012 at 9:25 PM

I really can’t see myself committing my time and $$ to Romney when he’ll turn around and stab us in the back too. Officially apathetic as of this morning.

Mr. Arrogant on June 28, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Romney, the RNC and every conservative PAC and media source need to blanket the country to make sure all voting Americans have the issue of the Obamatax at the forefront of their minds when they go to the polls in November.

According to the Supreme Court, Obama has enacted a trillion dollar tax that predominantly affects the middle class.

Own it.

talkingpoints on June 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Ok. The malignant cancer has been deemed an ok thing. All this talk about it being repealed is at this point just a wet dream. By the TIME it happens – even IF it happens – it will have become so imbedded in the host that removal will be pretty much impossible. This is just one more step on the way to the financial collapse of the US. Gird your loins.
(Yeah, I dearly hope I’m wrong…)

climbnjump on June 28, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Can the HHS grant waivers because they get to make up the rules? What happens if the waivers do have to go away? Interesting out if all the speculating none of the so called experts saw the court changing the mandate to a tax

ldbgcoleman on June 28, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Your second update ‘debunking’ the slippery slope argument sucks donkey b@#lls.. Congress can now:

1. Tax you if you don’t purchase an electric car.
2. Tax you if you don’t put solar panels on your house.
3. Tax you if you don’t have a gym membership.
4. Tax you if you don’t take public transportation.

It doesn’t stop. So what if the tax is a small one, start doing the math once Congress figures out this new ingenious revenue stream that has NO discernible limitation.

This is a farce and a 6 year old could have wrote a better decision than the Chief Justice did.

rgrovr on June 28, 2012 at 9:34 PM

It’s done guys. It’s done. There is only one other way now. We had the Supreme court hope, or repeal. The Supreme Court did not come through. The ONLY way this law goes now is by full repeal by congress. It’s possible that they could MAYBE find a way to sever and repeal the mandate by reconciliation, but (A), that will only unleash the fiscal calamity of the larger program running out of funds, and it’s possible that the democrats additions of repeal qualifications inside the PASSED bill that state the requirements of a super majority to repeal it anyway along with non-severability clauses.

By all means. Wail and gnash at the teeth for the day. Grab at straws. Reach for any hope like its your life.

But tomorrow, this thing is with us until there is a supermajority with the balls to do it and a sound enough plan to replace it that the people accept having to go through this all again.

The people. You know, the majority of the country who haven’t bought whole hog into the red vs blue football match and emotionally invested in a team, since it’s never anything but hypocrisy and bs from both sides when they get into power?

Boomer_Sooner on June 28, 2012 at 9:34 PM

We don’t have a constitution anymore. Roberts recycled the document into toilet paper, then every liberal member of this gubmint used it.

Wolfmoon on June 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

After this week, I don’t think “constitutional” means what I think it means./

KCB on June 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

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