SCOTUS Denies Obamacare Individual Mandate Challenge

Posted: Jan 19, 2016 12:30 PM

The Pacific Legal Foundation has been denied the opportunity to challenge Obamacare’s individual mandate tax at the Supreme Court. Last year, the advocacy group questioned the health law’s legality by reminding the justices that any tax-raising bill needs to be introduced in the House of Representatives, per the Constitution. The mandate was introduced in the Senate. SCOTUS, however, has rejected the appeal.

Disappointed, PLF’s principal attorney Timothy Sandefur issued the following statement:

“It is very disappointing that the Court has chosen not to hear this important case, because the justices were being asked to uphold and enforce an important constitutional protection for all taxpayers. At issue was the Constitution’s Origination Clause, which requires all new taxes to start in the House, the chamber closest to the people.  Obamacare is a massive tax bill, but it was launched in the Senate through a procedural ploy.  The Senate’s subversion of the constitutionally mandated rules for tax bills is a danger not just in this case but in future cases as well. By allowing Congress to use procedural tricks to evade the constitutional rules, the Court has opened the door to Congress further evading democratic accountability for the laws it passes.”

Previously, a Washington appeals courts had halted PLF’s momentum by insisting they were misinterpreting the origination clause:

The three-judge panel rejected that argument, saying that under past Supreme Court cases, the origination clause applies only when a law’s “primary purpose” is to raise revenue. Judge Judith Rogers said money collected by the government was a “byproduct” of the law’s effort to encourage participation in the health insurance system.

As Bloomberg notes, this SCOTUS decision all but ensures Obamacare will remain intact at least until the presidential election in November.