May 21, 2014

Baked from scratch?

PLF principal attorney Timothy Sandefurspeaks at a
Capitol Hill news conference.

Obamacare's taxes were baked entirely in the Senate in violation of the Constitution.  Pacific Legal Foundation principal attorney Timothy Sandefur, facing tough questions by three judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on May 8, made PLF's case that the tax penalty under the individual mandate is unconstitutional because it was devised entirely in the Senate. It was not, Tim said, an amendment to a House revenue bill.


"The original House bill was not a bill for raising revenue," Sandefur stated in his argument. "It did not levy any taxes.  The Senate then transformed that bill into a bill for raising revenue, which the Senate originated, in violation of the Constitution." 


The Origination Clause, Article I, Section 7, requires that legislation to raise revenue must start in the House, in order to keep the taxing power close to the people.  But Obamacare began in the Senate when Majority Leader Harry Reid took an unrelated House bill (a measure to help veterans buy homes, which raised no revenue), gutted it, and inserted the language of Obamacare. 


"The only thing we know for absolute certain about the Origination Clause is that the Senate cannot originate revenue-raising measures," Sandefur said.  "Here we have a complete substitution of a six-page bill that was not a bill for raising revenue with a 2,000-page bill that was a bill for raising revenue."

PLF's Obamacare Fight Continues in the Court of Appeals
PLF's Obamacare Fight Continues in the Court of Appeals.

If the appeals court rules against PLF, Sandefur said a request will be made to rehear the case. If that is denied, he said PLF intends to seek review at the U.S. Supreme Court.

More information on Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Read Ilya Shapiro's opinion article about PLF's case in Forbes.

High-speed trial 

PLF Podcast
Listen to PLF's podcast of our case.

A California appellate court will hear oral argument May 23 in litigation over California's High-Speed Rail project. PLF's challenge on behalf of a Bakersfield church, will be among those considered by the Third District Court of Appeal on Friday.

PLF argues that California voters are being railroaded by the High-Speed Rail Authority because the project citizens approved six years ago has undergone major modifications, and its cost has skyrocketed (current projection is $68 billion). We contend the courts should not approve the sale of $8.6 billion in California High-Speed Rail bonds because the state has not complied with core legal and constitutional requirements designed to guarantee the project's integrity, and the will of the voters.


High hopes   


After being denied at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the owners of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.  PLF attorneys just filed an amicus brief in support of Kevin and Nancy Lunny, owners of the popular oyster farm located within the Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California.  The Lunny's sought an extension of a 40-year lease from the Secretary of the Interior, but they were denied.  


PLF supports Drakes Bay Oyster Company supreme court appeal
PLF supports Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Supreme Court appeal


The 80-year-old, family-owned oyster farm is fighting for its life against a federal move to shut it down, idle its 30 employees, and deprive consumers of a facility that's the source of 40 percent of all oysters harvested in California.


Read PLF's news release about our "friend of the court" brief.


Real winner

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PLF President Rob Rivett's Signature
Robin L. Rivett
Pacific Legal Foundation


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