FRANKS, 42 COLLEAGUES FILE COURT BRIEF TO OVERTURN OBAMACARE FOR VIOLATING ORIGINATION CLAUSE

May 16, 2014 Issues: Health Care, The Constitution

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ 8th Dist.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, was joined by 42 of his colleagues yesterday in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, LA in the case of Steven Hotze, M.D. v. Kathleen Sebelius, a case which arose in a Texas federal court and which raises the issue of whether Obamacare violates the Origination Clause of the Constitution because it originated in the Senate instead of the House as required for all bills raising revenue. Obamacare contains 17 tax provisions raising approximately $500 billion in taxes, including the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, which the Supreme Court ruled could only be constitutional, if at all, under Congress’s power to tax.

The 30-page congressional brief traces the historical foundation of the Origination Clause demonstrating that the chamber closest to the people and elected every two years has the sole power to originate revenue raising bills. Last fall, Congressman Franks and his colleagues filed a similar brief in the related case of Sissel v. HHS in the D.C. Circuit which was heard last week and which Mr. Franks attended. 

Congressman Franks issued the following statement: “If the Senate can introduce the largest tax increase in American history by simply peeling off the House number from a six-page unrelated bill, which does not even raise taxes, and pasting it on the 'Senate Health Care Bill,' and then claim with a straight face that the resulting bill originated in the House, then the American 'rule of law' has become no rule at all.”

In addition to pressing his case in the courts, Congressman Franks is the sponsor of House Resolution 153 with 56 co-sponsors, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Obamacare violated the Origination Clause. Last week, Franks also held a contentious hearing on the topic before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, which is available to view here.

The amicus brief was drafted by Washington, D.C. attorneys Joseph E. Schmitz, jschmitz@jespllc.com, former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Paul Kamenar, paul.kamenar@gmail.com, constitutional lawyer and Supreme Court practitioner, and Jacki Pick, former counsel to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution.