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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Obamacare rematch -- Editorial, The Washington Times

The United States Supreme Court is seen Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Washington, two days before the court will begin hearing arguments Monday on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derisively labeled "Obamacare" by its opponents. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)Obamacare is headed for a do-over in the Supreme Court, and perhaps this time the court will be more amenable to doing its duty by putting this badly implemented scheme out of the nation's misery. The high court on Monday declined to hear Liberty University's expansive challenge to the employer mandate, but it did agree last week to consider a more focused challenge to the requirement that private firms pay for contraceptive devices and abortions, regardless of any moral objections they might have.

The justices should also give a hard look at another case wending its way up the federal court pipeline that puts Obamacare's foundation on shaky ground. The Pacific Legal Foundation argues that President Obama rammed his health care bill through Congress in violation of the Constitution's Origination Clause, which stipulates that taxing and spending bills must be introduced in the House, not in the Senate. An impatient Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn't wait for the House, which was under Democratic management in 2010. The Nevada Democrat took a House bill granting housing tax credits to veterans, the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act, and in a maneuver known as "gut and amend," deleted its language and substituted the 2,700-page monstrosity that is Obamacare.

The legal challenge to Mr. Reid's gimmick is now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Forty-three House Republican members filed a friend of the court brief expressing their displeasure with the upper chamber's usurpation. "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," they wrote, "and pasting it on the 'Senate Health Care Bill,' and then claiming that the resulting bill originated in the House, in explicit contravention of the supreme law of the land, then the American 'rule of law' has become no rule at all."

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