Pacific Legal Foundation’s (PLF) legal challenge to Obamacare received important backing on Monday in the form of an amicus brief filed by Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona and Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, joined by several dozen other members of the House.
The amicus brief was filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in PLF’s case, Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
“We are grateful for this powerful support from Congressman Franks, a leading authority on the Constitution, and from many other key lawmakers,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II to the media in released statements.
“This support from members of the House is especially significant because PLF’s lawsuit defends the constitutional authority of the lower chamber, the legislative body that is closest to the people. We argue that Obamacare was enacted in a way that deprived the House of its authority to ‘originate’ new taxation. By extension, taxpayers were deprived of a core constitutional protection against reckless and oppressive use of the federal taxing power.”
In the amicus brief, the summary said:
“The ACA imposes a charge on Americans who fail to buy health insurance — a charge that the U.S. Supreme Court recently characterized as a federal tax. PLF’s amended complaint alleges that this purported tax is illegal because it was introduced in the Senate rather than the House, as required by the Constitution’s Origination Clause for new revenue-raising bills (Article I, Section 7).”
“Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by four justices, characterized the ACA’s charge as a federal “tax,” because it requires a payment to the federal government from people who decide not to buy health insurance.”
That holding prompted PLF’s new cause of action. “If the charge for not buying insurance is seen as a federal tax, then a new question must be asked,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II. “When lawmakers passed the ACA, with all of its taxes, did they follow the Constitution’s procedures for revenue increases? The Supreme Court wasn’t asked and didn’t address this question in the NFIB case. The question of whether the Constitution was obeyed needs to be litigated, and PLF is determined to see this important issue all the way through the courts.”