Sissel v. United States Department of Health & Human Services

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Sissel v. United States Department of Health & Human Services
District of Columbia Court of Appeals Seal.svg
No. 13-5202
Court United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Full case name Matt Sissel, Appellant v. United States Department of Health & Human Services
Argued May 8, 2014
Decided July 29, 2014
Case history
Prior action(s) Petitioner's claim dismissed
Subsequent action(s) Rehearing en banc denied (D.C. Cir. August 7, 2015).
Case opinions
Rogers
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Judith W. Rogers,
Nina Pillard,
Robert L. Wilkins
Keywords
Origination Clause, Affordable Care Act

Sissel v. United States Department of Health & Human Services was a lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation as a constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Background of the case

The lawsuit, initiated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argued that the ACA was still unconstitutional, even in light of the "saving construction" given the law in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, on the ground that the enactment of the essential coverage mandate violated the Origination Clause.[1][2] The suit also sought clarification from the District Court as to what extent lower courts were legally bound by the conclusion of Chief Justice Roberts and the four dissenting justices that the Act did not pass constitutional scrutiny by way of the Commerce and Necessary & Proper Clauses.[1]

District Court

On June 28, 2013, the District Judge Beryl A. Howell dismissed the plaintiff's suit,[3] holding (1) that the Commerce Clause challenge to the ACA was foreclosed by the Supreme Court decision in NFIB v. Sebelius, (2) that the Origination Clause challenge failed, as the bill enacting the individual mandate was not a bill for raising revenue, and (3) that even if the bill enacting the individual mandate were a bill for raising revenue, the Origination Clause challenge failed because the bill was an amendment to a bill that had originated in the House of Representatives.[4]

Court of Appeals Ruling

On July 29, 2014, that decision was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[5][6] However, the Court of Appeals concluded that section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code (sometimes called the "individual mandate") was not a "Bill for raising Revenue", and thus was not subject to the restriction in the Origination Clause of the Constitution. The Court of Appeals stated that, therefore, there was no reason for the Court to determine whether the bill originated in the House of Representatives.[7] The Court also rejected Sissel's contention that the law violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, stating that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 2012 in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius "necessarily disposes of Sissel's Commerce Clause claim."[8]

Subsequent Actions

On 7 August 2015, the request to hear the case en banc was denied. Four judges dissented in the denial of rehearing. The judges wrote an opinion dissenting on the denial of rehearing and on the merits of Sissel's claim. They agreed with the 3 judge panel's rejection of the petitioner's claim, but offered a different rationale.[9]

On January 19, 2016 the Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari.[10]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "PLF takes the next step in challenging Obamacare". Pacific Liberty Blog. Pacific Legal Foundation. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ellis, Ashton (20 September 2012). "If ObamaCare Is a Tax, Did It Violate the Origination Clause?". Center for Individual Freedom. Retrieved 9 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Sissel v. United States Department of Health and Human Services". JustiaLaw. Retrieved 15 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Memorandum Opinion, June 28, 2013, Matthew Sissel v. United States Dep't of Health and Human Services, case no. 10-1263 (BAH), U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
  5. Andrew Zajac, "Obamacare Challenge Over Origins of Law Tossed by U.S.," July 29, 2014, Bloomberg News, at [1].
  6. Case no. 13-5202, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  7. See p. 11, slip op., July 29, 2014, Matt Sissel v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, case no. 13-5202, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  8. See p. 10, slip op., July 29, 2014, Matt Sissel v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, case no. 13-5202, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  9. http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/CADC-en-banc-on-Origination-Clause-8-7-15.pdf
  10. http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/011916zor_l5gm.pdf