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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Is the PP&ACA Constitutional?

For John, BLUFWe should be calling it Reid-Pelosi Care.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at The Washington Post yesterday, Columinist George Will writes about "Obamacare's Doom".

The lede:

If the president wants to witness a refutation of his assertion that the survival of the Affordable Care Act is assured, come Thursday he should stroll the 13 blocks from his office to the nation’s second-most important court, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  There he can hear an argument involving yet another constitutional provision that evidently has escaped his notice. It is the origination clause, which says:  “All bills for raising reveornue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”

The ACA passed the Senate on a party-line vote, and without a Democratic vote to spare, after a series of unsavory transactions that purchased the assent of several shrewdly extortionate Democrats.  What will be argued on Thursday is that what was voted on — the ACA — was indisputably a revenue measure and unquestionably did not originate in the House, which later passed the ACA on another party-line vote.

That seems straight forward to me.  Do it the right way.  Some will say that when Chief Justice Roberts wrote the PP&ACA was a "tax" he didn't mean a "tax" tax.

The ACA’s defenders say its tax is somehow not quite a tax because it is not primarily for raising revenue but for encouraging certain behavior (buying insurance).  But the origination clause, a judicially enforceable limit on the taxing power, would be effectively erased from the Constitution if any tax with any regulatory — behavior-changing — purpose or effect were exempt from the clause.
Only secondarily are taxes about raising money.  First they are about coercing behavior.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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