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.
Good grief can this court get any worse? Sadly yes!
The American Marxists have planned, schemed, and worked for 110 years to get to this point. It is ludicrous to think that Reagan's prophecy of a "...thousand years of darkness..." can be avoided any other way.
If you Google "Anti-Injunction Act", there are many web pages of analysis devoted to it. Here is the partial text of one of them:
"The most sensible reading of the Anti-Injunction Acts text and purpose is that it does not apply until the authority to assess and collect taxes has come into being, just as it does not apply after that authority has been exercised."
The authority to tax does not come into being until 2015 ...
Well, sounds like the Roberts Court is going to be the rubber stamp for 0bamaCare, just as it was for the dubious inauguration of the Kenyan Usurper, sworn in THREE TIMES by Roberts himself.
Hey, maybe the next appointment to the SCOTUS can be somebody like Roland Freisler? (Hell, maybe he’s already there)
“Good grief can this court get any worse?”
Yes, and that’s very scary. We can’t afford another liberal appointment.
The rats included several years of funding in Obamacare.
I think I’m going to be ill.. Our ONLY option is to roundly defeat the 0bama in Novemebr and overwhelmingly take both houses.
THANK YOU! You just lowered my BP 10 points.
The only Problem I see and one it seems the Cowards on the Bench have,is they dont have the Balls to say to one of the Litigants,make up your mind on how you want to argue this Case,do you contend it is a Tax or not.
In public they are Contending it is Not a Tax and that is what the President has said in Public in Interviews,but in court they are arguing it is because they know thats the only way they win. To me whether it is a tax or not The Freakin Government is going to have the Power to do whatever the hell they want to do as long as they call it a tax. How Crazy is that.
You will eat arugala because we will fine you if you dont and we can do it because it is a Tax .
thats it, this truely shows where the allegiance of SCOTUS lies, and it is not with WE THE PEOPLE
thats it, this truely shows where the allegiance of SCOTUS lies, and it is not with WE THE PEOPLE
never been a doubt on the fix being in,
only people living in denial will get the bricks falling on their heads
DO YOUR JOBS!
The Bill to repeal it would have to go throught the Senate first before anyone could sign it.
Reid has not brought to the floor.
We would have to have a GOP Senate to send it to the President.
Very simple reason. The court is expecting it to be repealed by congress and the next President and then it will save them a headache.
This is the problem when there are too many laws...
There are just as many loopholes.
That’s exactly what I would expect from a “stacked” court. Doesn’t it seem strange that the decision will be made AFTER Obama’s reign?
(Rick Santorum the 45th POTUS)
“We would have to have a GOP Senate to send it to the President.”
I know. That’s why the Republican voters who want the Obamacare bill repealed next January, must be 110% behind the post qualified and competent candidate, to win the November election AND the majority in both Congress chambers.
Newt’s Gingrich Day One Plan:
1. Repeal Obamacare and pass a replacement that saves lives and money by empowering patients and doctors, not bureaucrats and politicians.
“Obamacare is a disaster and the first task of my administration will be to repeal it.
The Obamacare law is unconstitutional, unaffordable, unworkable, and stunningly unfair. Its so-called “individual mandate” is blatantly unconstitutional and an unprecedented expansion of federal power.
If the federal government can coerce individualsby threat of finesto buy health insurance, there is no stopping the federal government from forcing Americans to buy any good or service.
In addition to the unconstitutional nature of individual and employer mandates, we are learning that they simply dont work.
Their intractable problem is this: once you have a mandate, the government has to specify exactly what coverage must be included in insurance for it to qualify. This introduces political considerations into determining these minimum standards, guaranteeing that nothing desired by the special interests will be left out.
And once the government mandates such expensive insurance, the government becomes responsible for its costs. It has to adopt expensive subsidies to help people pay for the expensive plans that it is requiring. The resulting cost to the taxpayer and strain on the budget leads the government to try and control healthcare costs by limiting healthcare services. The inevitable result is rationing by a nameless, faceless, unaccountable board of government bureaucrats.
The Obamacare law also creates one thousand, nine hundred and sixty eight separate grants of power to bureaucrats, most of them to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and her bureaucracy. It creates 159 new boards, agencies and other government entities to administer health decisions that should be up to the individual in consultation with their doctor. This unprecedented grant of discretionary power to unelected bureaucrats guarantees the rise in arbitrary and corrupted decision-making by the federal government.
For these reasons and more, I will fight for the repeal of Obamacare until it is repealed in its entirety.
We must either limit government or we will have government limit us.”
If they delay the decision, are they not delaying the implementation?
The court accepted the case. By doing so, they admit there is an actual, not hypothetical, controversy.
The implementation of the law cannot move forward until the case is decided, otherwise there is nothing to prevent the court from delaying until 2525!
Everyone of the candidates other than Romney have said they would repeal Obamacare. Some of the others actually never were behind the idea of mandates, which give them a strong leg to stand on.
In the case of Romney, he promised a waiver to every state via an Executive Order which means nothing.
The real question is why over a long period of time have have people in the freest country in the world been willing to gradually let go of what others (immigrants and patriots) have lost their lives to have here. Milton Friedman has some insights that shed light on this question. One of them is kind of long and bad resolution, but well worth the time to listen. Links below.
This inexorable move to the left has been at times slowed (the Reagan era for instance). I guess a question related to the short-term is, will the four conservatives on SCOTUS be able to wait out this next four years in hopes of a conservative POTUS in 2016? If not, looks like the gig may be up.
Loopholes are the saving grace in the law-heavy and litigious society we now live.
I think Castro's bother's also under consideration.
Since all we have remaining in this country is the Tea Party, everyone else in Congress will rubber stamp whoever Obama props up.
“I think Castro’s bother’s also under consideration.”