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Franks, 39 Colleagues File Court Brief to Overturn Obamacare for Violating Clause of the Constitution

Congressman Trent Franks (R- AZ 8th Dist.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, was joined by 39 of his colleagues in filing an amicus curiae brief over the weekend with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking to overturn Obamacare on the grounds that the law violates the Constitution's Origination Clause.

Found in Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, the Origination Clause requires that "all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." Obamacare, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that it was a tax (or a "bill for raising revenue") instead originated in the Senate.

In the brief, Franks argues,

"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 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 a recent floor speech, Congressman Franks also asserted that if the courts do not strike down Obamacare for this clear violation of the Origination Clause, "it would allow the Obama Administration to blow yet another hole in the constitutional fabric of this noble republic."

The 30-page hard-hitting brief in Sissel v. HHS, No. 13-5202, traces the historical roots of the Origination Clause which requires that bills raising taxes must originate in the chamber of Congress closest to the people and most accountable to them: the House of Representatives who are elected every two years, rather than the Senate, whose members enjoy a six-year term. The constitutional debates made clear that without this clause, the constitution would not have been ratified by the states whose constitutions had a similar provision. A copy of the brief is posted on Congressman Franks' website.

The Justice Department argued in the district court that the Origination Clause allows the Senate to amend revenue raising bills that originated in the House. But, far from merely amending legislation, what the Senate did was to take a House bill, H.R. 3590, a six-page bill that did not raise revenue but instead provided tax credits to veterans who purchase homes, and replaced it with the wholly-unrelated 2,074 pages that make up Obamacare.

The Origination Clause argument gained impetus when Chief Justice Roberts surprisingly ruled in the NFIB v. Sebelius that the penalty for not complying with the Individual Mandate provision was a tax authorized by Congress's taxing power. But Roberts issued a caveat that any such tax "must still comply with other requirements in the Constitution." The Origination Clause is just such a provision. In short, the canard that Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare as the law of the land is false; indeed the Court struck down the provision of forcing the states to expand their Medicaid program by a vote of 7-2. Moreover, there are dozens of other pending cases challenging other provisions of Obamacare.

In addition to pressing his case in the courts, Congressman Franks is the sponsor of House Resolution 153 that declares that Obamacare violated the Origination Clause. That resolution has garnered 55 co-sponsors, most of whom joined Congressman Franks on the brief.

The 39 Members joining Congressman Franks on the brief are:

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Rep. Joe Barton

Rep. Kerry L. Bentivolio

Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

Rep. Mo Brooks

Rep. Steve Chabot

Rep. K. Michael Conaway

Rep. Jeff Duncan

Rep. John Duncan

Rep. John Fleming

Rep. Bob Gibbs

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Rep. Andy Harris

Rep. Tim Huelskamp

Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr.

Rep. Steve King

Rep. Doug LaMalfa

Rep. Doug Lamborn

Rep. Bob Latta

Rep. Thomas Massie

Rep. Mark Meadows

Rep. Randy Neugebauer

Rep. Stevan Pearce

Rep. Robert Pittenger

Rep. Trey Radel

Rep. David P. Roe

Rep. Todd Rokita

Rep. Matt Salmon

Rep. Mark Sanford

Rep. David Schweikert

Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman

Rep. Lee Terry

Rep. Tim Walberg

Rep. Randy K. Weber, Sr.

Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup

Rep. Lyne A. Westmoreland

Rep. Rob Wittman

Rep. Ted S. Yoho

The brief was drafted pro bono by Washington, D.C. attorneys Joseph E. Schmitz, former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Paul D. Kamenar, constitutional lawyer and Supreme Court practitioner, and Jacki Pick, former counsel to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution.

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