Will the Magna Carta defeat Obamacare?

When the feudal barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymeade in 1215, one of its main provisions was to severely curtail the King’s ability to levy taxes on them.  The Magna Carta required that all revenue raising measures had to originate in Parliament. The sentiment of that  provision became part of the United States Constitution in Article I, Section 7, which 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.

A law suit making its way through the courts is challenging Obamacare for not originating in the House.  Chief Justice John Roberts’ too-cute-by-half trick of calling Obamacare a tax in order to sustain it against Constitutional challenge in NFIB v. Sebelius forms the basis for this claim.

The case is Matt Sissel v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Plaintiff Matt Sissel explains the case this way:

Sissel is healthy and current on his medical expenses. He has chosen not to buy health insurance because he wants to be free to invest in his own business instead; and costly insurance premiums aren’t worth the money to him. Sissel says he wants the freedom and flexibility to do his own budgeting, including setting aside money for his medical needs as he chooses, without government oversight. “As a small business owner,” Sissel says, “I don’t need the government telling me how to manage my expenses; they can’t even manage their own.”

Sissel’s case was already in the court system before Chief Justice John Roberts went off on his judicial frolic and detour to save Obamacare.  But as soon as Sissel’s lawyers learned that the Chief Justice of the United States had pronounced Obamacare to be a tax measure, Article One, Section 7 popped into their heads, and rightly so.  So in September of 2012 they amended Sissel’s complaint to add a claim based on Obamacare having its origin as a Senate bill which, if it’s a tax, that would be prohibited by the Constitution.

This is all rather delicious.  If the Chief Justice’s disingenuous little ploy of calling Obamacare a tax ends up putting egg on in his face, well that will be justice.

The Pacific legal Foundation calls itself a “bulldog litigator” for limited government and individual freedom.  Read more about the Matt Sissel case here.

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