D.C. Circuit Court Orders Government to Respond in Sissel Case


By Hadley Heath Manning

In a new and surprising development, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ordered that the Federal Government respond to their challengers' petition for an en banc hearing. This case, Sissel v. Department of Health and Human Services, centers on the Origination Clause and alleges that the Affordable Care Act was passed in an unconstitutional way. In short, according to Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, any legislation that raises taxes must originate in the House of Representatives. The ACA, or ObamaCare, includes 20 new taxes or tax increases, but originated in the U.S. Senate. 

Although Matt Sissel did not initially succeed at the D.C. Circuit, he has filed now for an en banc hearing, in which more judges on the appellate bench would rehear the case. The Court has now ordered the Federal Government to respond, indicating that judges are taking this request for a rehearing seriously. 

The case is gaining attention and support: Congressional leaders and several states have filed amicus briefs supporting Matt Sissel. The Pacific Legal Foundation is handling litigation for the case, and you can find out more at their Website.

Like other cases challenging ObamaCare, this is about limiting the government's power to the design put forth in the Constitution. The Founders understood that it was essential to limit the power to tax, to keep government from abusing the people.  The people are best represented in the House, the larger of the two bodies in our bicameral legislature, and therefore the Founders put forth the requirement that tax-raising bills originate in the House.  There is a reason why our government was designed this way, and today our judges should heed the ACA's challengers in Sissel, and uphold this important limitation. 



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