A federal court wants to kill a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) tax provisions — and a lower-court ruling holding that those provisions started out in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A three-judge panel at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had a chance to weigh in on the origins of the PPACA tax provisions in a ruling on Hotze et al. vs. Burwell et al. (Case Number 14-20039). Instead, the panel ruled that the court that first heard the case should dismiss the case due to lack of a good reason to consider the case, rather than due to any weaknesses in the plaintiffs’ arguments.
E. Grady Jolly, the circuit judge who wrote the opinion explaining ruling, says the court looked at the case from scratch.
A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas originally dismissed the case base on the merits.
“We never reach the merits,” Jolly writes in the opinion.
The district court never should have looked at the merits of the suit, because one of the plaintiffs, Steven Hotze, M.D., failed to allege any injury from the PPACA individual mandate that gave him standing to challenge the mandate, Jolly writes.
The other plaintiff, Hotze’s employer, Braidwood Management Inc., cannot sue over the PPACA employer mandate tax, because that suit is clearly barred by the federal Anti-Injunction Act, which protects new taxes against lawsuits seeking to keep the taxes from taking effect, Jolly says.