Skip to comments.ObamaCare: Supreme Court may postpone ruling till 2016
Posted on 02/21/2012 11:55:07 PM PST by STARWISE
This morning's newspapers report an ominous development in the ObamaCare litigation, now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court:
The Court posted a seemingly minor but potentially portentous administrative change, which suggests it might postpone delivering a final ruling on the constitutionality of ObamaCare until the middle of 2016!
Specifically, the high Court increased the time it will devote to hearing oral arguments on whether the health care mandate is a tax for purposes of something called the Tax Anti-Injunction Act (26 U.S.C. § 7421(a)).
The historically lengthy oral arguments in the case, HHS v. Florida -- now expanded by 30 minutes to an unprecedented six hours -- are slated to take place late next month. A formal ruling in the case is expected by early July.
But will it be the final ruling? That's now less clear.
First enacted in 1867, the Tax Anti-Injunction Act sweepingly forbids any court from hearing any case in which any person attempts to prevent the assessment or collection of a tax. Once the tax has been assessed and collected, however, a court may hear a case on it.
The ObamaCare mandate is enforced by means of a penalty fine, collected by the IRS. With a few exceptions, this fine will be imposed on every citizen who doesn't check a box on his tax return affirming that he has purchased government-controlled health insurance.
Is the IRS penalty a tax, or not? So far, lower federal courts have come down on both sides of this issue. And for complicated legal reasons, the Obama Administration has actually been taking boths sides on it: in Congress, the President's men say it's not a tax; in court, they say it is.
If the high Court decides the mandate is a tax, it will be a dream come true for the Administration:
President Obama faces reelection in November 2012. ObamaCare doesn't go into full operation until January 2014. The first time the IRS can levy the mandate penalty/tax won't be until folks file their tax returns, in mid-April 2015. The slow judicial process will likely delay a final Supreme Court ruling until mid-2016.
Until now, everyone has been assuming the Court will rule on the law's constitutionality in early July, five full months before the 2012 elections.
And we've all been assuming that, however the Court rules, the ruling will provide voters with a critical piece of information: What does the Supreme Court think about ObamaCare's constitutionality?
Alas, today's development calls that assumption into doubt. The Court might punt!
The expanded time given to the Tax Anti-Injunction Act issue suggests two things:
1) The high Court is taking seriously the idea that the mandate is a tax -- the strongest possible basis for finding ObamaCare constitutional.
2) If the Court decides that the mandate is a tax, it may be forced to postpone a ruling on the mandate's constitutionality until after the tax has actually been collected on a citizen -- three years hence.
Today's development is just another reason why we cannot count on the courts to repeal the government takeover of health care. However the Supreme Court finally decides, we citizens must keep fighting to protect our threatened health care liberties in the halls of Congress -- and at the ballot-box.
Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks' Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy
P.S. Last week, we filed a formal legal brief in this important litigation.
The Supreme Court has announced it will allow a full six hours for oral arguments over constitutional challenges to President Obama's health care law, granting the case the longest hearing in recent history.
The justices said Tuesday morning they would lengthen the hearing by an additional 30 minutes, after both the administration and parties challenging the law had asked the court to spend not 60 but 90 minutes on a tax law known as the Anti-Injunction Act.
The question is whether the act stands in the way of judicial action on the challenge until after the health care law fully goes into effect.
With the extra 30 minutes, the court is slated to spend 90 minutes on the Anti-Injunction Act, 120 minutes on the law's individual mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance, 90 minutes on whether just parts of the act can be invalidated while allowing other parts to stand, and an hour on the Medicaid expansion contained in the new law over a three-day period in March.
Oh boy .. not liking the sound of this ...
The Anti-Injunction Act issue is under consideration because of a ruling in Liberty v. Geithner that essentially deemed the individual mandate a Constitutional exercise of Congress's taxing power.
In my view, the worst possible outcome of this Supreme Court battle is that the Court call the mandate a tax. Everyone recognizes that it is NOT a tax (including the acting White House budget director), but a ruling to the contrary would delay a ruling on the health care law until as late as 2016.
Sounds like the fix is in.
Perfect graphic for O’deathcare.
Talk about a headline guaranteed to make a stomach drop! 2016 far too late to save America.
How convenient! NOT.
Let us not put the cart before the horse.
The question before the Court THIS YEAR is whether Obamacare is a "tax", as the Administration contends. Or if it is an unprecedented "requirement" to purchase a service [with a fine, if the requirement is not met] - as the States contend.
If the Court rules it to be a "tax" [this year], then it cannot be contested until AFTER the tax is collected [in 2015].
HOWEVER, if the Court rules it to be a "requirement", it can then rule THIS YEAR as to whether the "requirement" is constitutional.
The Tax Anti-Injunction Act WOULD NOT apply in this case since it would have been ruled a "requirement" as opposed to a "tax" ...
The context isn’t the the above?
The Anti-Injunction Act issue is under consideration because of
a ruling in Liberty v. Geithner that essentially deemed the individual mandate a Constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power.
This is VERY bad news.Scary news!!!
Just another reason to vote for Newt Gingrich!
And 'real' tea party Congressional candidates. The PROUD GOP establishment basically shunned those 'tea party' Republicans we sent to represent US in election 2010... This mess is not just of the liberal creation, there are too many in the PROUD GOP that accept the plan to socialize our 'free market' health care system.
AND some religious denominations are all for UNIVERSAL health care so long as some of the religious traditions are exempt.
I can see that Liberty v. Geithner would be litigated in 2016, because Liberty would not be "injured" until the tax kicked in during 2015.
BUT, in Florida et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services the Staters are CURRENTLY "injured" due to the requirements that the Act imposes on the States NOW.
On January 31, 2011, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the health insurance mandate in section 1501 falls outside the federal authority in the Constitution, and that the provision could not be severed; Judge Vinson therefore concluded the entire PPACA must be struck down.
On August 12, 2011, a divided three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Vinson's decision in part; the court agreed that the mandate was unconstitutional, but held that it could be severed, allowing the rest of the PPACA to remain.
On September 26, 2011, it was reported that the Department of Justice would not ask for an en banc review by the 11th Circuit, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court as the only option for appeal.
The government petitioned for the Supreme Court to review the court's ruling. On November 14, 2011, the Supreme Court granted certiorari on the case, setting oral arguments for March 2012.
They’re really begging the body politic to fix the problem. Once they dug in on letting Kagan participate, they found themselves in a credibility hole.
of the sabotage in our government to where we lose rights.
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