Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The Supreme Court today issued a ruling on the severability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the president's signature domestic legislative accomplishment. In late March the Court heard three days of arguments over "Obamacare." The first concerned whether the mandate was a tax and therefore the Anti-injunction Act precluded the court from hearing the case. The second concern the issue of whether the mandate was constitutional and the third was held on which parts of the legislation, if any part is struck down, could be severed from the rest.

Last week the court ruled on the first two of these issues starting that because the mandate is not a tax the Anti-injunction Act does not apply but because the mandate is a tax it is authorized by the constitution. Today the court ruled to sever the words "tax" and "penalty" as used in many pre-trial articles on the ACA ruling that the mandate is "a tax and not a penalty" and inappropriate use of the phrase "tax penalty" was unconstitutional under the commerce clause.

Justice Scalia was heard at a dinner party stating "God damn-it! If those liberals think they can use the commerce clause to mandate insurance purchases than I can use it to infringe on their rights to free speech." Scalia is best known for his theory that growing pot at home for home consumption is interstate commerce.

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