Search  |  Login  |  Register

By Edward White1329165431000

The American Center for Law & Justice (“ACLJ”) filed its third amicus brief today in the ObamaCare case that the Supreme Court will consider this March. This brief addresses the Anti-Injunction Act (“AIA”) issue.

The AIA issue is the least publicized of the four issues the Court will consider in the coming months. It is overshadowed by the other three issues: (1) whether the individual mandate (requiring Americans to buy health insurance from private companies for the rest of their lives or pay annual penalties) is constitutional, (2) whether the individual mandate is severable from the rest of ObamaCare (in other words, whether its unconstitutionality requires the Court to invalidate the entire law), and (3) whether the Medicaid expansion is constitutional.

The AIA should not be overlooked because, if the AIA applies, the Supreme Court would be barred from ruling on the constitutionality of the individual mandate and its severability for several years. Application of the AIA, however, would not stop the Court from resolving the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion at this time.

The AIA was enacted in 1867 to stop federal courts from preventing the federal government from assessing and collecting taxes. Under the AIA, a person who allegedly owes money under a truly revenue-raising tax provision cannot file a lawsuit to prevent the assessment or collection of a tax or related tax enforcement penalties; if he does, a federal court must dismiss the lawsuit. The person generally must first pay the tax and then file a lawsuit to challenge the legality of the tax and obtain a refund.

For the Supreme Court to apply the AIA to the ObamaCare litigation, it would have to conclude that the penalty for non-compliance with the individual mandate is a tax. If the Court decides that the AIA applies, the Court would be unable to decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate and its severability for several years.

The individual mandate takes effect on January 1, 2014. For a person refusing to purchase health insurance, his penalty must be paid at the time his federal income taxes are due and owed: April 15, 2015. Thereafter he could file a lawsuit challenging the penalty and the constitutionality of the mandate.

A lawsuit filed in 2015 would not reach the Supreme Court until 2017 at the earliest. Assuming ObamaCare is not repealed before then, the Supreme Court would not be issuing a decision on the individual mandate and severability until 2017, which is three years after the full implementation of the mandate.

As we explain in our amicus brief, the AIA does not apply because the individual mandate and its penalty are not taxes. The majority of federal courts that have addressed the issue have concluded that the AIA does not apply. One would expect the Supreme Court to follow suit. Thus, the Court would be able to determine the constitutionality of the individual mandate and whether it is severable by this June.

The two other amicus briefs the ACLJ has filed in this case explain that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that it cannot be severed from the rest of ObamaCare, rendering the entire law invalid. They are available here and here.

The ACLJ also has filed its own challenge to ObamaCare that is pending in the Supreme Court. To obtain more information about that case, click here.

Latest in
ObamaCare

Any Wonder ObamaCare Funds Abortion?

By Matthew Clark1418398462910

After his “glib” apology before Congress this week for calling the American people “stupid,” ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber attempted to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and … dodge every substantive question that came his way. He refused to answer even the simplest questions like how much ( millions )

read more

Abortion Distortion in Obamacare

By Nathanael Bennett1417634863942

From day one, we have warned that the real danger of Obamacare is not in the 2,700 pages of its text (as bad as they are), but in the hundreds of thousands of pages of rules and regulations that would flow out of that text. This week provides yet another example of that danger, and it is in the...

read more

Stimulus & ObamaCare “A Mistake”

By Matthew Clark1417020813934

Yesterday, liberal Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer lambasted Democrats for the political failure of both ObamaCare and the stimulus. While he certainly has not changed his core belief that government can solve all the people’s ills (and said as much), he slammed his party for its political failures.

read more

Obama Admin Grubered Americans

By Matthew Clark1416595737305

The lesson we learn from Jonathan Gruber (the MIT professor turned high-paid ObamaCare architect who admitted the Administration deceived the public to pass ObamaCare) is that the Obama Administration will do or say anything to prop up ObamaCare. You know the litany of lies (you can keep you plan,

read more