Tuesday, July 29

DC Appeals Court: Constitution's clear "origination clause" doesn't apply if a bill has any other purpose but just *happens* to raise taxes

Today a federal appeals court rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare. 

Plaintiffs argued that the Affordable Care Act is a bill for raising revenue and that it violated the Origination Clause of the Constitution because it began in the Senate. The Constitution requires that bills to raise revenue must originate in the House.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the main purpose of the ACA is not to raise revenue but to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance.  Since it isn't primarily a revenue bill, there was no need for it to originate in the House.

Judge Judith Rogers wrote "The Supreme Court has held...that revenue bills are those that levy taxes in the strict sense of the word...," and that bills designed for other purposes that increase taxes in an incidental way need not originate in the House.

This is too cute by half.  Let's go see what the Constitution says about it.  It's buried way down in Article 1 (that is, the very first article) Section 7, in the opening paragraph.  So it's not hidden or hard to find.  And it says
1. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Now, I can understand how all liberal judges would naturally interpret this paragraph as applying only to bills designed purely to raise revenue.  Thus if a bill merely, oh, doubled taxes incidental to accomplishing something else, like giving all folks on welfare a free home, the tax increase wouldn't violate this provision because the bill also had some purpose other than raising taxes, and the latter was just sort of accidental.

Makes perfect sense.  Especially when you consider that such a loophole would nullify the stated goal of paragraph one, and we know how much the Founding Fathers liked to screw around with things like that--writing in provisions that they knew would be nullified by logical interpretations, just to mess with future generations.

Those founder dudes really had a great sense of humor, eh?

Oh, Judith Rogers was appointed by Bill Clinton, while the other two judges in the case were appointed by the Emperor himself.  So just remember, citizens:  The Constitution does NOT require that all bills that raise revenue originate in the House.  As long as a bill has any other purpose, anything goes.

Wow, that's so EASY!  Let's try some more, shall we?


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