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.
(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.”
Isn't it really a two step process?
1. A mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance (or have it as part of employment).
2. A penalty if health insurance is not purchased.
It would seem the argument of what is or is not a tax could only be made for the second, penalty stage.
The SCOTUS has just confirmed with this announcement that it is totally corrupt, this should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind.
Is there a rule where Thomas, Scalia, Roberts are not allowed to explain this delay...can they open their mouths?
If I were a skeptic, I might think that obamacare isn’t so much about affordable health care for everyone but rather the wrong people are living way too long.
Whenever life saving treatment is restricted, delayed or denied for whatever reason...people die.
The Anti-Junction Act will only apply if they deem the mandate a tax rather than a penalty, and that is likely the determinative issue anyway. So if they are inclined to strike down the mandate because it is a penalty and not a tax, then the AJA won't apply anyway.
This reads sort of like a public-interest group trying to draw attention to its advocacy. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing to get alarmed about either.
FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.
Follow the money....
The USSC has done NOTHING to protect the Constitution, and Liberal Judges have destroyed the Founders' Intent by making "interpretations" that are totally Leftist, at their core.
The main issue, and one that can be decided very quickly, is the mandate issue.
The whole law depends on it. If the mandate is unconstitutional, the rest of it has no basis.
“The GOP has been amazingly passive and just keeps laying it off on the Supreme Court. Where is the fire to take every step to stop implementation, defund agency programs that have any part in implementation, cripple rule making, etc? It all seems to have died with Boehners tears.”
Right on, FRiend. McConnell and Co. just want the lobbyist cashola. They could care less what is good for the country. I dream of a repeal of obamacare but there is zero percent chance McConnell will beat the Maine hags with a wet noodle and push repeal through the Senate. We are doomed unless we get a strong President who just repeals obamacare by fiat.