President's weekly report — October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014 | By ROB RIVETT

Obamacare — The Affordable Care Act, Taxes, and the Origination Clause

In Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, we filed a petition for rehearing en banc in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.  On Oct. 9, the court ordered the Federal Government to respond to the petition within 15 days.  We are asking the court to revisit our argument that when the Constitution says that revenue-raising taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, it means just what it says and there is no exception if Congress happens to have another purpose in mind.  In other words, just because the law is supposed to improve health care, that doesn’t mean that the billions of dollars in taxes associated with the statute are immune from the prescription of the Origination Clause.  See our blog for an extended discussion of where this critical Obamacare case is heading.

Property Rights — No more illegal taxation

This week, we filed our opening summary judgment brief in Building Industry Association — Bay Area v. City of San Ramon. We are challenging the City’s levying of a tax on potentially all new development in the City. We contend that the tax violates the Mello-Roos Act’s limitations on landowner-approved taxes, as well as the California Constitution’s limitations on the levying of “general taxes.”

Property Rights — Raisin Takings

We filed our amicus brief in Horne v. United States Department of Agriculture urging the Supreme Court to take this case.  Under a depression-era statute, raisin growers must give a substantial portion of their raisins to the federal government or else.  The or else here was a fine of $700,000.  The Ninth Circuit held that there was no taking of the raisins here, relying on a fairly odd take on takings doctrine.  As explained in more detail in our blog, we’re arguing that when the government physically takes private property — whether that property be land, money, or food — the government must pay for what it takes.  We trust the raisins will be dancing over our brief.