{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

That congress can exercise powers which are merely

Info icon This preview shows pages 27–29. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
that Congress can exercise powers which are merely “incidental” to Congress’s enumerated powers” (www.scotusblog.com). The Supreme Court did not sustain the individual mandate under the commerce clause or the necessary and proper clause ; however, in the deciding opinion, Chief Justice Roberts concluded that the individual mandate could be upheld as a constitutional power of Congress to tax. Having already explained the reason for why Congress cannot force an individual to buy something under the commerce clause, the court decided that it was a tax. In Article 1 of the Constitution, the phrase “collect and lay taxes” appears. This phrase allows Congress to construct taxes and tariffs as seen fit. Chief Justice Roberts in his opinion stated: “The Affordable Care Act describes the ‘shared responsibility payment’ as a ‘penalty,’ not a ‘tax.’ The payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance; the payment is not limited to willful violations, as penalties for unlawful acts often are; and the payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation. Neither the Affordable Care Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS. And Congress's choice of language—stating that individuals “shall” obtain insurance or pay a “penalty”—does not require reading §5000A as punishing unlawful conduct. It may also be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insurance.” As described earlier, the wording of the Affordable Care Act makes the individual mandate a penalty and not a tax. It is a penalty due to the fact that if an individual does not acquire the minimum coverage of healthcare they will be subject to pay when they file their tax return. In the opinion of the court, this factor along with the fact that the penalty is determined by similar
Image of page 27

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
factors of individual tax such as taxable income, number of dependents, and joint filing status helps the argument that the individual mandate it itself constitutional as a tax (pp 33, 567 U.S.). Although the mandate itself may not have been called a tax, there have been cases in the past where the Supreme Court has upheld exactions that were also not labeled as taxes. Such examples include the License Tax Cases in which the Supreme Court held that federal licenses to sell liquor and lottery tickets for which the licensee had to pay a fee could be sustained under the taxing power of Congress (pp 34, 567 U.S.). The Supreme Court goes on to say that they are not concerned with the wording of an individual tax law, only the practical operation. In this case, they are looking at what the individual mandate actually is. They conclude that the fact that the Affordable Care Act describes the words as a penalty does not alter the fact that they are a tax in character (pp 35 567 U.S.).
Image of page 28
Image of page 29
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}