I got thinking more about the Obamacare decision last night, after Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the progressive justices and found the individual mandate constitutional, as long as it is a tax. I mentioned in my post yesterday that the individual mandate and its penalty has never really been considered a tax before yesterday, which is why it took everyone by surprise when the announcement came.
So, why would the Chief Justice do such a thing? He’s never really done this kind of bench legislation before. From the oral arguments back in March, he seems very skeptical of the individual mandate and the Obama administration’s argument. So what changed his mind? Would a Bush appointee (granted, Bush was no doubt a disaster) simply give in to pressure from President Obama? Highly unlikely, unless he has no gonads. Did he really think that this is something constitutional on the grounds of taxation? More likely, but a completely odd conclusion to come to.
But then I got thinking. With the insight of a fellow conservative, I’ve come to realize that there is a minuscule chance–but a chance!–that this has been planned by the Chief Justice all along, and that it might just do away with the individual mandate altogether.
Because, it’s a tax.
Pull out your pocket Constitution and open her up to Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1. It reads, “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.”
Think about that for a moment. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.
Recall the cluster that was the Obamacare vote back in 2009 and 2010. The House passed a version of the bill on November 7, 2009 that the Democrats in the Senate didn’t think went far enough with the individual mandate and funding for abortion. The Senate passed their version of the bill–which included a variety of amendments–on Christmas Eve 2009. It was then sent back to the House for a vote, but it hit a roadblock. This is when the bill–the Affordable Health Care for America Act–was essentially thrown out for something new that originated in the Senate–the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Still, the House would not budge over a period of nearly three months. In typical fashion, Harry Reid and the Democrat Senate devised a way to “deem” the bill passed if the House did not comply: reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority of 51 votes. The House wound up voting for the Senate’s bill anyway, 219-212, with the promise that things would be fixed during the budget reconciliation process, which they were not.
What does this mean? Well, the individual mandate ought to be invalid if it’s a tax. The bill that wound up passing did not originate in the House! That would make the whole law invalid.
So, did John Roberts do the most maddening, clever, genius thing imaginable? Or did he just screw up big time and set deadly precedent for the future? What say you? Cincinnati’s FOX-19 has more on the theory here.
Nonetheless, pass this along to as many people as you can, including your representatives on all levels. If this theory gains traction and passes a constitutional litmus test, we may have been given the greatest gift a Supreme Court justice could give, but at a grave price.