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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Comment pages: 1 2

“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

Granted, they didn’t before (have the balls) but the times the are a changin…or else we’re all done for…

Tim Zank on June 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

It’s over Johnny!

the new aesthetic on June 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

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

I don’t care if it’s big or small, I do not intend to comply with it. If you have to write in the details of your med plan on your taxes I intend to write -NONE- (even though I have a plan) and let them come after me, then I’ll counter sue for whatever BS reason I can think of. I want to tie them up for eons trying to collect what they don’t owe. EVERYONE should do the same. Cripple the idiots with their own stupidity.

Wolfmoon on June 28, 2012 at 9:39 PM

I want to tie them up for eons trying to collect what they I don’t owe.
Wolfmoon on June 28, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Jeez. I even proof read that crap.

Wolfmoon on June 28, 2012 at 9:41 PM

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

KCB on June 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

I reposted cause I don’t like being the last post on a page.

KCB on June 28, 2012 at 9:42 PM

I was all over this very point 2 years ago at Breitbart’s Big Government and RedState. Here is one of the posts from RedState (I cannot locate the Big Government archive and this was before I became a GreenRoom contributor)

The House Vote on the Senate Healthcare Bill Is the Final Vote; Obama Will Sign It Into Law

Remember in November!

SusanAnne Hiller on June 28, 2012 at 9:42 PM

While Romney keeps saying that he will “repeal” ObozoCare on the 1st day, that’s going to be pretty difficult unless we have a majority in the House and Senate. Keep that in mind.

Not under the Obama Doctrine. If a President doesn’t like a law or thinks it is unconstitutional, he doesn’t have to enforce it.

As Andrew Jackson said:

“(Chief Justice) John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it now…if he can.”

Given that the Chief Justice and the Court didn’t have military resources nor were any the Commander-in-Chief, I don’t have to tell you how the stalemate ended.

BTW: I think Jackson was a despicable, racist, lawless b@stard. Just to be clear. I’m not a fan.

Resist We Much on June 28, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Someone correct me if I have this wrong, but for legislative rules purposes the mandate is not a tax just because one guy, Roberts, says it is. Even if he is the Chief Justice. The justices did not vote on whether or not it was a tax. They voted on whether or not it was constitutional. Roberts alone among the majority had a different reason for voting it constitutional.

So it is a tax for Roberts purposes but still not a tax for the purpose of Congressional legislation.

farsighted on June 28, 2012 at 9:43 PM

it’s unconstitutional.

So is ObamaCare but that didn’t stop a so-called Conservative Justice from voting for Socialism. He had to rewrite the statue to do it no less.

This Government has now slipped into tyranny. Thank you John Roberts.

jawkneemusic on June 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Statute*.

jawkneemusic on June 28, 2012 at 9:48 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.

Can we just stop this fantasy about what can / can’t be declared “constitutional / unconstitutional”? This ruling proves the progressives can do anything they want and they can call anything they want anything they want anytime they want to call it that (yes I meant every word there — read it carefully).

Kennedy was right in the oral arguments — (paraphrase) this fundamentally changes everything re: government and citizen. This is NOT (repeat NOT) a free country – we are (and someone will say have been – yeah, yeah) socialists.

And while I’m here, this is no clever conservative ploy by Roberts — just another progressive in sheeps’ justices’ robes appointed by a Bush.

rebuzz on June 28, 2012 at 9:51 PM

“Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito forcefully disagree with Roberts in their dissent. “[W]e cannot rewrite the statute to be what it is not,” the four Justices write. “[W]e have never—never—treated as a tax an exaction which faces up to the critical difference between a tax and a penalty, and explicitly denominates the exaction a ‘penalty.’ Eighteen times in §5000A itself and elsewhere throughout the Act, Congress called the exaction in §5000A(b) a ‘penalty.’”

The dissenting Justices also argue that “judicial tax-writing is particularly troubling,” since the Constitution requires tax bills to originate in the House of Representatives, “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.”

[T]o 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 Act of 1765, and in part for that reason, the Constitution requires tax increases to originate in the House of Representatives. …

The Government’s opening brief did not even address the question—perhaps because, until today, no federal court has accepted the implausible argument that §5000A is an exercise of the tax power. And once respondents raised the issue, the Government devoted a mere 21 lines of its reply brief to the issue. Petitioners’ Minimum Coverage Reply Brief 25. At oral argument, the most prolonged statement about the issue was just over 50 words. Tr. of Oral Arg. 79 (Mar. 27, 2012). One would expect this Court to demand more than fly-by-night briefing and argument before deciding a difficult constitutional question of first impression.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/scalia-kennedy-thomas-and-alito-dissent-we-cannot-rewrite-statute-be-what-it-not_647952.html

Resist We Much on June 28, 2012 at 9:51 PM

This Government has now slipped into tyranny. Thank you John Roberts.

jawkneemusic on June 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Just NOW has slipped into tyranny? I kinda think that happened a while back – perhaps not too long after the last presidential inauguration…

climbnjump on June 28, 2012 at 9:53 PM

While Romney keeps saying that he will “repeal” ObozoCare on the 1st day, that’s going to be pretty difficult unless we have a majority in the House and Senate. Keep that in mind.

Actually he said he would start the repeal proceedings, in todays speech. Previously he has said that on day one he would issue a blanket waiver for the whole thing until congress gets it appealed.

Having run the gamut today from disappointment to thinking Roberts a genius. I have finally settled back down to earth and think that Roberts more than likely issued this ruling part from payback to the administration (in the form of, own your tax hike and legislate this one from the bench executive branch) and selfish preservation of the nonpartisan reputation of the court. I think his constraints on the commerce clause were good and needed. His breaking of the strong-arming of the states through budget blackmail were spot on. However, the stretch to uphold the mandate by defining the penalty as a tax is troubling. While arguably congress has always had that ability, it has never quite thrown out that play as taxes always have been and will be poison. Now he has given this particular brand of poison SCOTUS approval. This could still fall either way, the outraged public awakens and strikes back this November and our newly elected leaders repeal with vigor, or, the outraged public awakens and strikes back this November and our newly elected leaders embrace the newly awakened taxable powers shown to them.
Im not holding my breath due to past performance.

Koa on June 28, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Somebody please explain to me why this is incorrect:

The Obamacare tax is a direct tax on individuals.
Article I prohibits direct taxes on individuals.
The only exception is in the Sixteenth Amendment.
The Sixteenth Amendment only applies to INCOME taxes.
The Obamacare “Tax” is not an income tax.
The Obamacare “Tax” should be prohibited by Article I.

topdog on June 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM

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

Bishop on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

AP has a link in the post on reconciliation and 51 votes.

There is also this from NRO last fall.

The Reconciliation Option

By James C. Capretta

He reviews Reid’s tricks and writes:

So what goes around, comes around. Obamacare is in law — with all of its trillion-dollar spending and taxes now part of CBO’s “baseline” budget projections. Reconciliation was created for the express purpose of giving Congress an expedited process for making changes to just this kind of spending and tax policy. Obamacare is thus a very ripe target for budget cutting, and that means reconciliation.

It’s true that Obamacare includes some provisions that, on their own, might be considered non-budgetary, but not nearly as many as some may think. The entire machinery of the coverage provisions…is entirely fueled by federal money (in the form of both subsidies and penalties). Moreover, the state exchanges and the regulatory apparatus they are intended to impose are also financed by federal taxpayers. Repeal of all of these provisions, which are the guts of Obamacare, is plainly a budgetary matter, and therefore appropriate in reconciliation. For the rest, creative legislative drafting can solve many problems….

He was an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004, so he knows what he’s talking about.

INC on June 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Am I wrong or did not Roberts aid the Feds in creating a new definition of the word “tax”??

Well, look out because millions of Americans will be wanting their “free” insurance and will be energized to stop the free insurance stealing-”repubs” at the polls.

I say this ruling helps Obama.

Even IF Rombot wins there will be NO repealing of this AHA monster:

The (a) (no) government EVER returns power once acquired.

Never.

Ever.

Sherman1864 on June 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Just NOW has slipped into tyranny? I kinda think that happened a while back – perhaps not too long after the last presidential inauguration…
climbnjump on June 28, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I guess what I mean is that tyranny has now been legitimized by the highest court in the land. All nicely wrapped in a bow as an extra “get bent” to us Conservatives courtesy of our Overlord Cheif Justice.

jawkneemusic on June 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Never returns power willingly that is.

Sherman1864 on June 28, 2012 at 10:07 PM

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.

Haven’t read the comments yet (Just got home, I’ll get around to it. Maybe.) but I have a slightly different idea about this one.

The record of crime reduction that results from the passage of carry laws in the states is pretty well established. What is to prevent the federal government from requiring that you purchase a firearm for self and community defense, and imposing a penalty/tax for those who fail to provide proof that they have done so? The old militia laws used to basically do this very thing, but those were state laws or local ordinances.

novaculus on June 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM

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”?

I’m not so sure this debunks anything. Has there ever been a challenge to the whole “shell bill” maneuver? Given that challenging a “shell bill” tax requires some sort of standing, I’m betting it’s never actually come up before the court.

It should be manifest in any clear reading of the Constitution that you can’t really claim a bill originated in the House if you removed the entire contents and substituted your own contents. Now, in most cases it might not matter, because it’s widely viewed as just a legislative shortcut. But if a bill proposes something NOT counted as a tax and SCOTUS retroactively calls it a tax, that seems like grounds to file a lawsuit. I’m not sure how SCOTUS could pretend that gutting a bill from the House and substituting your own contents in the Senate really satisfies the requirement that revenue bills originate in the House.

But given today’s decision, I have no faith that SCOTUS can engage in a clear reading of the Constitution.

tom on June 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Oh I think you will find, if you actually look, that Congress has had before it a bill to tax Constitutional rights before it every session for the last 40 years. Right now we are taxed enormous amounts for pure big government propaganda, such as PBS and the many PSAs. Taxes for guns and Ammo have been before Congress for decades, although not passed. States are regularly fined under police powers that simply do not exist in the Constitution. Forfeiture laws abound in the federal system.
We have crossed the road to become a police State where the government can now tax individuals for conduct. That ‘tax’ is a penalty to conform. If not paid, you will go to jail. All your property as well as your spouses property liened, and you will be financially destroyed.
The creativity of governments, including States, cities and counties to now force conduct is unlimited.

pat on June 28, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Frankly, with Kelo and Gonsalves V Raich the country is losing alll of the Consitution. Only the States can fight back, and so many are basket cases now that they themselves wish to be another Greece rather than in America. After all, Greece is a lot safer than Detroit or even downtown Denver.

pat on June 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM

If I am a GOP Senate candidate, I have one slogan:
“I will be your 51st vote”.

hillsoftx on June 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM

I am now wondering what impact this ruling might have on the National Firearms Act and the refusal of the Treasury to accept new machine gun registrations.

Abacab on June 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM

But given today’s decision, I have no faith that SCOTUS can engage in a clear reading of the Constitution.

tom on June 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Bingo! Wickard, Kelo, and today demonstrate that we cannot rely upon the Supreme Court to preserve either liberty, rule of law, nor the Constitution. It is not a reliable institution, it is simply 9 people in black robes, 5 of whom have demonstrated that they are nothing but statists who care not a whit what the original intent of the Constitution was, who are more ignorant of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers than the average citizen of this country and who view the Constitution as merely a paper full of words to be manipulated to provide for unfettered federal power and control.

Roberts demonstrated today that he is no better than Breyer or any of the other liberal justices on the court who view the Constitution as an impediment that they have the power to over-ride. In their world, their constitutions look like your typical middle class housewife’s daily paper with all the coupons cut out. … or one of Eric Holder’s e-mails with the relevant information blacked out.

AZfederalist on June 28, 2012 at 10:26 PM

topdog and others – the Roberts “reasoning” on taxes here is, uh, pathetic and completely unpersuasive. His ruling is incoherent and eerily echoes the incoherence and self-contradiction – and baseless precendent-free invention – of the government’s case in defending this ridiculous legislation.

Just as the government performed the heretofore unseen spectacle of arguing mutually exclusive diametrically opposed points (it’s a tax, it’s not a tax, uh …. what?) in different venues, Roberts and his majority (behold the majesty of the legal intellectual power of Breyer and Ginsberg) absurdly waives the Anti-injunction Act issues and – then – magically finds that indeed there is a tax to be considered! Are you kidding me?

Roberts’ “reasoning” is conclusory silliness, simply dismissing the entire legislative history of the bill and making embarrassing empty comments to dismiss the dissenters’ specific and unanswerable (obvious, really) points about taxation. Some of which SHOULD lead to instant additional legal action to mine the idiotic weakness of this ruling.

The pernicious invention and arbitrary action from the bench that has been one of the chief problems for the US for decades has never been worse than in this decision. Rewriting a bill that already was a noteworthy atrocity in US legislative history for other reasons – does it get any worse? Why yes, yes it does.

And as for AP’s shallow (but hardly surprising) rationalization of the shell bill farce – gee, how do you think we ever arrived at a point where, on many large issues, the US is as lawless and chaotic as a Zimbabwe or a Venezuela? Partly though the death of a thousand cuts like this. I’m not sure (as in really not sure) whether AP’s comment on the dissenters not objecting to this issue makes any sense, as it was not one of the issues certified for consideration by the court. In any case, I can personally confirm that this sort of thing was unthinkable in the Senate not that many years ago – regardless of party and issue.

I have long since lost any respect for the SCOTUS as an institution. It has now become, unambiguously, an unelected third branch of the legislature – and a pathetically unimpressive one at that. For all of you political geniuses beclowning yourselves with silly speculation about how this atrocity actually helps in the campaign, remember there was an actual system that has been destroyed here, and winning temporary control of two branches of it has just been rendered far less important.

“It’s much more than just the economy, idiot”

“Elections have consequences, or at least they used to”

IceCold on June 28, 2012 at 10:30 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

Very interesting. So it appears the “shell bill” question has come before the court, but was allowed under certain conditions that are not applicable on ObamaCare.

I don’t see how SCOTUS could avoid taking up the issue in a lawsuit. But by the time a lawsuit works its way to SCOTUS, it might well be repealed.

Regardless, this was still a horrible decision regardless of any machinations that might work to get ObamaCare repealed or thrown out in the future.

tom on June 28, 2012 at 10:42 PM

IceCold on June 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Thank you for your reply.
Roberts has created a dangerous precedent which, it seems to me, has eviscerated Article I Section 9 of the Constitution. I hope I am wrong.

topdog on June 28, 2012 at 10:49 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

I see what Roberts did being similar to Walker vs. Kasich when it came to PSUs – sometimes the purist approach isn’t the best one…

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

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

I’m expecting the next few weeks to be fun, fun, fun, as the Left shockingly starts realizing just what a stealth sh!t sandwich they were delivered today!

Bizarro No. 1 on June 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM

I reposted cause I don’t like being the last post on a page.

KCB on June 28, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Oh man I hate that. I seem to have a knack for it.

slickwillie2001 on June 28, 2012 at 10:57 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

This is THE silver lining, IMO. When waivers were issued before, based on the HusseinCare calling for FEES, SCOTUS now says these are FEDERAL TAXES. And as such, there is no waivers for these, at least I am not aware of any. So, all of these waivers are gone now I would imagine.

riddick on June 28, 2012 at 11:12 PM

If Obamacare is a tax, how does one go about getting out of paying it by saying it would be inconvenient? By what authority can the Administration pass out exceptions to its friends if it’s a tax? Doesn’t those sorts of loop-holes have to be written into law by Congress?

Fred 2 on June 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

John Eastman pointed this out to Dennis Prager today:

http://www.mrctv.org/audio/dennis-prager-interviews-john-eastman-about-scotus-decision-obama-care

papa_giorgio on June 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM

bizarro, perhaps you are just dashing off a comment and using whatever words come to mind (I am certainly one to do that, and mess up quite a bit), but one pet-peeve that is actually more substantive than that.

“purist”

Uh – one of the worst words now in vogue on the webs at sites like this. It usually – always? – denotes someone with that characteristic combo of our times, arrogance and ignorance. Oh-so-smart (but hardly, obviously) folks here and at similar sites lecturing (often) vastly more experienced and thoughtful people about political strategery, etc. – and always (always) urging that bad, or half-bad, things and developments be hailed and celebrated.

Uh, no.

Using common sense, and facts, and law, and the constitution, are simply wise. Not “purist”. There is nothing “pure” about any serious political strategy or suggestion. “Purists” will support building the bridge all the way to the opposite shore; “others” will support building the bridge half-way. Thus, a useless enterprise. Not a perfect analogy – but far, far, far more appropriate than terming an intelligent, serious approach “purist”.

Those who even think about using the term “purist” betray an ignorance, a lack of experience, that puts all of their offerings under a substantive cloud of suspicion. Not to mention sort of branding them arrogant.

IceCold on June 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Get a Harvard law dgree. Then destroy America.

bgibbs1000 on June 28, 2012 at 8:52 PM

…one of my kids wanted to go there in the last year…I didn’t say no…I YELLED NO!

KOOLAID2 on June 28, 2012 at 11:28 PM

I don’t care if it’s big or small, I do not intend to comply with it. If you have to write in the details of your med plan on your taxes I intend to write -NONE- (even though I have a plan) and let them come after me, then I’ll counter sue for whatever BS reason I can think of. I want to tie them up for eons trying to collect what they don’t owe. EVERYONE should do the same. Cripple the idiots with their own stupidity.

Wolfmoon on June 28, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Sure, don’t comply. But by doing this, I think they will get you for fraud, not for tax evasion / not paying the Obamacare tax.

cptacek on June 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM

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

Pssst…RTFA.

cptacek on June 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM

bizarro, perhaps you are just dashing off a comment and using whatever words come to mind (I am certainly one to do that, and mess up quite a bit), but one pet-peeve that is actually more substantive than that.

“purist”

Uh – one of the worst words now in vogue on the webs at sites like this. It usually – always? – denotes someone with that characteristic combo of our times, arrogance and ignorance. Oh-so-smart (but hardly, obviously) folks here and at similar sites lecturing (often) vastly more experienced and thoughtful people about political strategery, etc. – and always (always) urging that bad, or half-bad, things and developments be hailed and celebrated.

Uh, no.

Using common sense, and facts, and law, and the constitution, are simply wise. Not “purist”. There is nothing “pure” about any serious political strategy or suggestion. “Purists” will support building the bridge all the way to the opposite shore; “others” will support building the bridge half-way. Thus, a useless enterprise. Not a perfect analogy – but far, far, far more appropriate than terming an intelligent, serious approach “purist”.

Those who even think about using the term “purist” betray an ignorance, a lack of experience, that puts all of their offerings under a substantive cloud of suspicion. Not to mention sort of branding them arrogant.

IceCold on June 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Why are you getting so excited about a word?

Do you believe Reagan could have gotten his tax cuts w/o making some compromises? You are overcomplicating what is a simple concept, I say because black & white thinkers like you are too narrowly focused on getting what you want, while you forget to factor in the human/emotional aspect of voters whose votes you wish to get.

Let me ask you, do you believe that if Walker had gone all-in by including police/fire when he went after the PSUs in WI, he would have had succeeded as he did? If you don’t believe he would have, would you still say that he should have gone about doing it the way Kasich did, who tried to get the whole ball of wax at once and miserably failed because of it?

Bizarro No. 1 on June 28, 2012 at 11:54 PM

IceCold on June 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Here’s the shorthand version of what I’m saying: I see people like you being the type who are quick to call someone like Scott Walker a RINO because, in your minds, he sold out his principles by not including police/fire in his assault on PSUs…

Bizarro No. 1 on June 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Headline:
“Epileptic squish trashes the constitution so he can get more reacharounds at liberal cocktail parties.”

TexasJew on June 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM

My thought this afternoon was not to tax guns, but when a conservative comes in create a tax on those who dont own guns (and are people with clean records)

We put such a burden on our law enforcement (like we put a burden on those paying their medical bills and the add ons for the uninsured) so everyone shall nore be required to own a gun to protect themselves or pay a tax to cover our rising police cost. everyone has a right to be protected (like the “right” to have healthcare) so they need to first show their trying to protect themselves.

Rbastid on June 29, 2012 at 12:33 AM

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.

That shite would never happen in Nebraska – our US Constitution needs to be worded in a similar fashion as that of Nebraska:

Excerpt from Nebraska State Constitution Article III-14

…No bill shall contain more than one subject, and the subject shall be clearly expressed in the title. No law shall be amended unless the new act contains the section or sections as amended and the section or sections so amended shall be repealed.

electric-rascal on June 29, 2012 at 12:37 AM

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

Nothing is unconstitutional now, nada, nothing at all. Anything goes.

wsucoug on June 29, 2012 at 12:37 AM

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.

Right now, the Constitution is whatever the Democratic Party and Lord Obama say it is, occasionally supplemented by a Leftist court. There is no rule of law right now. The first few years spent on litigating any issue is trying to get standing to go to court. Because if you are not in the Political Class, and especially supported by the Left or having paid off sufficient politicians and judges; merely being adversely affected by government action does not mean that you have a right to be heard in court. Democrats do not listen to anything but special interest groups. The Institutional Republicans sometimes pretend to listen, but refuse to fight the Left.

Thus, not having the government pay for birth control on demand is a “substantial burden”; but any government taxes or restrictions on firearms, speech, or religion [ask the Catholics about being ordered to furnish birth control and abortions in Catholic hospitals] are just “commonsense regulations”. “Substantial burden” is now completely at the whim of the government.

A few days ago, Rasmussen found that only 22% of the country believed that they were being governed with the “consent of the governed”. Today, that number is probably smaller. It is an interesting experiment in political science in progress. “How low can the percentage of people who believe in the government can go before the government loses legitimacy and the right to the allegiance and obedience of the people?”.

Subotai Bahadur

Subotai Bahadur on June 29, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Too bad John Roberts chose this particular morning to swallow his tongue.

TexasJew on June 29, 2012 at 12:58 AM

51 votes seems doable though I wish the court had struck the mess down and we would be done with it.

Blake on June 29, 2012 at 5:27 AM

I don’t see this as a tax at all because in this case the government is forcing people to purchase something from a private company not from the government. It is not a tax in exchange for government services. It only charges those who don’t purchase said private company products, therefor not everyone will pay it. It is more like a fine or a fee rather than a tax.

Dollayo on June 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM

51 votes seems doable though I wish the court had struck the mess down and we would be done with it.

Blake on June 29, 2012 at 5:27 AM

You mean 51 conservatives. The number of Republicans would be higher since the RINOs would vote with the Dummycrats.

Annar on June 29, 2012 at 6:39 AM

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.

And just which amendment to the Constitution protects Abortions? We all know the 2nd Amendment covers guns. The SCOTUS seems to find a lot which is not actually in the Constitutions or it’s amendments.

jackal40 on June 29, 2012 at 7:25 AM

The (a) (no) government EVER returns power once acquired.

THIS. Please come to grips with reality. This decision shows the fix was in on Obamacare from the very beginning in the crafting of the House bill. This isn’t getting repealed. At best, we will have a President Romney who will work within the framework of Obamacare to craft something else more palatable to Conservatives’ tastes. That is if you dont already think Romney is lying to you. I mean the guy wrote Obamacare in MA and has stated numerous times he supports the mandate.
There is so much money and infastructure already devoted to it that we will be told even by Ed and Allah that repeal would cause too much “chaos”.
Roberts delivered the nail to the coffin yesterday. Rah rah sis boom bah, go give Romney that money if you like, but as a person of faith I need to start saving up for a good bankruptcy lawyer.

quiz1 on June 29, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Do we have to call each other “comrade” now?

Bevan on June 29, 2012 at 8:02 AM

There is no constitutional right to an abortion. Roe v Wade was created from whole cloth and was nothing more than an illegitimate SCOTUS legislating from the bench.

Quartermaster on June 29, 2012 at 8:10 AM

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.

But you’re not taxing abortion. You’re taxing not birthing a baby. You’re not taxing guns – you’re taxing not owning a gun.
By the same token wasn’t it previously true that if I am forced to enter into a private contract that contract is null and void? SCOTUS just said that I can now be taxed for not entering into a private contract.

gwelf on June 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Nobody sane is arguing against health care reform, but the leviathan that is the PPACA is a monstrous government expansion/power grab that benefits mostly those who don’t have to live under its draconian taxes and regulations. Proponents of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the law argue that it will provide health care to millions who currently don’t have it, but there are still tens of millions who will not be covered, and most of them are working adults. There are provisions in the law that many people like, such as children on their parents’ health insurance to age twenty-six. But the more this 2000 page monstrosity sees the daylight, the more we find ourselves taxed, and taxed, and taxed for the privilege of being herded into a health care system that will increase costs, necessitate delays of service, and potentially codify denials of treatment.

We are taxed on our income, our investments, our inheritances, our purchases, and now, the SC says it’s constitutional to tax us for what we don’t buy. Whose interest does it serve to tax people for something they don’t do? It most decidedly is not in the interest of the person being taxed. How the Court could find an individual government mandate, with the full weight of the IRS behind it, to buy something that we either don’t want or don’t need is beyond the pale of nanny state intervention into personal freedom. What shall they tax us on next, the fact that we didn’t buy broccoli this week or that we didn’t join a union (yes, that’s all of you in states that have no “right to work” laws)? What happens to people like my son, who is twenty-two and works full time but doesn’t have full benefits through his company? He can’t really afford health insurance (he is currently on his father’s policy) and doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, so he will be taxed because he works for the wrong employer and isn’t poor/unemployed. Again, whose interest does it serve to burden a population with such as this, and at a time when the country can least afford it? It most decidedly is not in the interest of those who are stuck with the tab.

If this law is so good, why was it necessary to pass it hastily, in the dead of night, behind closed doors, excluding Republicans from meetings and votes, using the nefarious process of “reconciliation,” a misnomer for “end run around the people?” This is a 2000 page bill, for which innumerable regulations have yet to be written. Those in Congress who were being forced to voted on it admitted that they hadn’t read it. Even then Speaker Nancy Pelosi said we would have “read it to find out what’s in it.” What?! Health care reform had waited for years and years, and suddenly it was wise and careful to pass an enormously complicated bill without so much as having read it? Really?! There are those of us out here in the voting public who are quite well informed and well educated who would have been happy to review the bill and publish an opinion on it. Why was it not posted and vetted by the public for 72 hours prior to a congressional vote, as President Obama had promised during his campaign? Because Democrats knew exactly what would happen if it was posted; public opinion was already against it. Pelosi was right in that we would have pass it before we could find out what was in it because they sure weren’t going to tell us ahead of time.

So, unless Republicans can gain a majority in both houses and in the White House and repeal the PPACA, we are doomed to the already failed socialist policies under whose weight Europe is currently collapsing. Why do we continue to try this experiment “just one more time” to see if we can get it right? Why do people not learn the lesson of history that government, left to its own devices, can only grow and expand until it has complete control over people’s lives? Well, this comes pretty close. Those who are in favor of this law will change their opinion pretty quickly once they are on the receiving end of an IRS audit for non-compliance because they thought it was all going to be “free.” Check out the number of new IRS employees who are being hired to enforce this law. If this is such a great law, why would it need such vigorous enforcement against a citizenry it ostensibly benefits? Again, whose interest is being served to throw the full weight of the government against ordinary citizens for breaking a law with which they can’t comply? It most decidedly is not in the interest of those citizens who have to live under the weight of its oppressive mandate.

College Prof on June 29, 2012 at 11:15 AM

SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., dissenting

“The Government’s opening brief did not even address the question—perhaps because, until today, no federal court has accepted the implausible argument that §5000A is an exercise of the tax power. And once respondents raised the issue, the Government devoted a mere 21 lines of its reply brief to the issue. Petitioners’ Minimum Coverage Reply Brief 25. At oral argument, the most prolonged statement about the issue was just over 50 words. Tr. of Oral Arg. 79 (Mar. 27, 2012). One would expect this Court to demand more than fly-by-night briefing and argument before deciding a difficult constitutional question of first impression.”

Resist We Much on June 28, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Note that this argument makes NO mention that the Justices deliberated together on the tax issue.

Couple that with the reference to Ginsburg as being the dissenting argument on a couple of occasions, it really does look like a last moment bait/switch by Roberts.

Carnac on June 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM

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