Another year, another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. This time, they're going after legislative procedure to claim it's unconstitutional.
The new appeal, filed on behalf of small-business owner Matt Sissel, stems from the Constitution's Origination Clause, which requires that the House be the first to pass a bill "for raising revenue."
In a statement posted Monday, the foundation claimed the Affordable Care Act as America knows it essentially was created by the Senate -- by taking an unrelated House bill, gutting it and replacing the text with ObamaCare.
"This was done as part of an overall effort to avoid fair democratic deliberation over the merits of that law," the foundation said.
Lower courts have rejected the foundation's argument. A unanimous three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington said that while the health care law does contain tax-raising provisions, its primary purpose was not to raise revenue, but rather to expand health care coverage.
When the full 11-judge appeals court considered whether to hear the case, the four Republican-appointed judges concluded that the legislation should qualify as revenue-producing. But they would have ruled in favor of the administration anyway. They said the bill properly originated in the House, even if the measure was stripped of its original language.
The petition to the Supreme Court revives the allegation.
The petition states: "The PPACA did not originate in the House, but in the Senate, which erased the entire text of a House-passed bill relating to a different subject and replaced it with what became PPACA."
Except the PPACA did originate in the House. It was reported out of the House committee on July 14, 2009, passed by the House and sent to the Senate, where we waited for Max Baucus to delay it for as long as possible before they finally passed their version on December 23, 2009. (I'm writing these dates from memory, because it's etched on my soul forever.)
Remember all that? I sure do.
What these ACA haters are doing is to rest on the technicality that the actual vehicle Harry Reid used to "fill the tree" was another House bill unrelated to the ACA. It's done all the time.
But once again into the breach. If the Supreme Court decides to hear yet another challenge to the ACA, we can count on going through yet more rounds of nail-biting questions about whether this time Justice Roberts will roll with the other conservative justices and undo the whole thing over a procedural question.