Thursday, July 11, 2013

Letter to SCOTUS

I posted the following letter to SCOTUS (for those of you unsure, that is the Supreme Court of the United States) in regards to their decision in Natl. Fed'n of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct. 2566, 183

which is the decision they rendered June 28, 2012 in regards to the Individual Mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare.)  This was sent to them via the Public Information Office (PIO) webform on the SCOTUS website here.

I am not sure if the PIO will even show this to the Justices or not, but worth a try.  As you can see from below, I personally don't think they should have reinterpreted the "penalty" as a "tax" so they could consider this Constitutional, as it gives Congress carte blanche on taxing us for ANYTHING WE DON'T DO that Congress feels we should.  Agree? Disagree?  Let me know.

Amendment Guy
Twitter @amendment_guy

I am not sure if you will even do this, but I would like these comments provided to the Justices in regards to the case referenced in the subject line.  I hope that you will pass this along.


In reading the decision that was issued on this case regarding the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, I am disturbed by the precedent set in this matter.

By your decision, you have given Congress overreaching taxing authority on all Americans.  By this, I mean, that if Congress were to decide to pass legislation that, for example, imposed a direct tax on the citizens for not smoking, by the precedent you have issued in this case, that would be a constitutionally allowed tax.

Allowing Congress to literally tax citizens for not doing something is a slippery slope that could potentially be abused in the future.  In cases where states have been "encouraged" to legislate certain desires of Congress, as in your reference in the opinion that Congress withheld funds from states for roads unless they raised the legal limit for drinking to 21, is not a good analogy.  This is an example of reducing an entitlement that Congress granted to the states for not doing something.  But in the case at hand, or in other situations as the hypothetical provided above, this is not reducing an entitlement but penalizing individuals for not doing something.

In addition, the Affordable Care Act does view not paying the penalty as a criminal act, in that it allows the IRS to confiscate future funds that the individual is entitled to as a tax refund.  Tax refunds are essentially a return of funds over collected and that the Government was not entitled to and are the property of the taxpayer.  Therefore, creating a situation that any individual that fails to pay the penalty will have a seizure of property at a future date - this is in line with the penalties associated with the criminal behavior of underpaying or not paying taxes owed.

The decision in regards to the Commerce Clause that it does not grant Congress the ability to force someone to engage in Commerce is a very clear point, but you invalidated that same portion of the decision by saying that Congress could tax you for not engaging in Commerce.  The two points are linked and should not be severed from one another. Saying that Congress can't force someone to buy something but can tax them for that same inaction is applying two variations to the same set of facts and circumstances.  I do not believe that the framers of the Constitution would have accepted an argument that you can tax someone for not doing something.  The discussion regarding a poll tax is also, in my opinion, a flawed concept.  To be able to pay a poll tax, you must be alive and breathing - therefore you are doing something, living.  And this is the extreme example.  The intent of the poll taxes in the early days was that it was easier to tax people based on being there than tracking their income or property.  Now that is not a problem with the reporting and information available in comparison to the time the Constitution was written.  Circumstances change, which is why income taxes were created to replace poll taxes. Though there is another large discussion that could be had in regards to income taxes, I will leave that for another day.

I urge you, therefore, to reconsider this decision.  I understand that based on your ruling, no action can be brought, but that is only because you reinterpreted the penalty as a tax.  If you take up a reconsideration of the matter and reverse your decision and call this a penalty, then the Anti-Injunction Act would not apply again.

I thank you in advance for at least reading these comments, even if you decide not to reconsider the matter.  I pray for your good judgement and that God will guide your decisions, as the framers of the Constitution were led by him.

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