In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) constituted a tax. The trouble is, the bill originated in the Senate: the Constitution requires that all revenue measures (namely, taxes) originate in the House of Representatives. The purpose of this restriction was to ensure that the branch of Congress most responsive to the people (the entire House of Representatives must stand for election every two years) is politically responsible for tax increases. This was just one of many measures that the Founders employed to divide and equalize power between the branches in the hope of protecting individual liberty.
The “Origination Clause” challenge to Obamacare, Sissel v. Sebelius, is currently before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The brief filed by the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence argues, in support of the plaintiff in the case, that Congress and the President have no power to agree to violate the Constitution, and that Obamacare is unconstitutional because it is a massive tax hike that originated in the Senate. We had previously filed a brief in the district court as well, the decision that is now being reviewed on appeal.
Read our brief in the District Court here.
Read our brief in the Court of Appeals here.
Jacki Pick, 2011 Lincoln Fellow and former Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, has given counsel on another amicus brief in the Court of Appeals case, signed by Congressman Trent Franks, et. al. That brief is available here.
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