The decision from Judge Roger Vinson has a couple of important points, but this one really stood out for me:
On a related note, Vinson ruled that the fee imposed on people who fail to comply with the individual mandate amounts to a “penalty” rather than a “tax.” This would mean that Congress’s ability to impose it cannot derive from its constitutional powers of taxation. Vinson, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, also rebuked government attorneys for arguing that the fee was a tax in the response to the lawsuit after congressional supporters had characterized it as a “penalty” during the debate over the health-care law.
“Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing, after which the defenders of that legislation take an ‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ tack and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely,” Vinson wrote, “thereby circumventing the safeguard that exists to keep their broad power in check.”
The brilliance of our Founding Fathers continues to shine thanks to the separation of powers they built into the Constitution. The system of checks and balances allows the judiciary to call out the blatant hypocrisy of the Administration and Congress. “It’s a penalty!” “It’s a tax!” Thankfully, Judge Vinson isn’t going to let them have it both ways.