An Appeal to a Higher Court

An Appeal to a Higher Court
House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
July 10, 2012

Mr. Speaker:

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on the so-called "Affordable Care Act," the House will once again take up the imperative of repealing it. 

But the Supreme Court decision has much more dire implications for our nation and its cherished freedoms than merely affirming the government takeover of our health care. 

In reaching its conclusion, the Court obliterated a fundamental distinction between a penalty and a tax.  Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes, and therefore, the Court reasons, it can apply a tax for any reason, even those otherwise outside the confines of the Constitution. 

In this case, the Court ruled that Congress could not pass a law requiring citizens to purchase a government-approved health plan under the commerce clause, but it can enforce exactly the same requirement through a tax.  Government cannot fine you for disobeying, but it can tax you for disobeying.   

If the government fines you $250 for running a red light, or it taxes you $250 for running a red light, the effect is the same.  What’s the difference?  There are two critical differences. 

First, as a fine – as a penalty – the burden of proof is on the government to prove that you ran that red light.  As a tax, the burden of proof is on you to prove that you did not run it.  Anyone who has ever undergone an IRS audit knows exactly what I mean.  This decision fundamentally alters the most cherished principle of our justice system: the presumption of innocence.

There is a second, even more chilling difference between a penalty and a tax.  Under our Constitution, no penalty can be assessed without due process – you cannot be punished until you have had your day in court.  But to challenge a tax, you must pay first pay that tax before you can seek redress through the court.  You are punished first, and then tried. 

This is the madness of Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen brought to life: “Sentence first – verdict afterwards.”

Americans may now be coerced, under threat of seizure of their property, to take any action the federal government decrees without any Constitutional constraint, enforceable in a manner that denies both presumption of innocence and due process of law. 

By this reasoning, we can now tax speech we find offensive, tax people who chose not to go to church – or people who do; tax people who own guns – or people who don’t.  As long as we call it a tax, there are no limits to the power of the Federal government under the decision of this court. 

I believe this decision will go down in history as one of the most deplorable ever rendered, taking a place of infamy next to Dred Scott.   

If the Court has failed to defend our Constitution, what appeal is left?

There is one.  The Constitution does not belong to the Federal government.  Its ownership is made clear in its first three words: “We, The People”.  As Ronald Reagan said, “The Constitution is not the government’s document telling the people what we can and cannot do.  The Constitution is the people’s document, telling our government those things we will allow it to do.” 

Thus, the Supreme Court is not the highest court in the land.  That position is reserved to the rightful owners of the Constitution, the sovereign American people, through the votes they cast every two years.

The infamous Alien and Sedition Acts were never struck down by the Court – the American people did that in the election of 1800.  The Supreme Court declared American slaves outside the protection of the Constitution when it struck down the Missouri Compromise – but the American people reversed that decision in the election of 1860.
 
Let us pray – while we still can – before that, too, is taxed -- that this infamous decision will be repudiated by what is actually and rightfully the highest court in the land -- the American people.

# # #

Tele-townhall banner 

Latest News

Remarks in Opposition to Authorizing the Arming and Training of FSA (Free Syrian Army)

All of us recognize the threat posed to our nation by the Islamic State. The question before us is whether to arm and train supposedly vetted elements of the Free Syrian Army as a proxy ground force.

Confronting the Islamic State

Contrary to the President's assertions last week, the Islamic State IS Islamic and it IS a state - or at least has all the attributes of a state. It is precisely this combination that makes it so dangerous: a messianic and clearly stated intention to wage jihad on American soil and the resources and equipment to do so.

Lake Tahoe Summit

I want to thank Senator Feinstein for hosting this year's summit and for directing its attention to the threat of catastrophic wildfire, the greatest natural threat facing the Lake Tahoe region.

View more »

Search

Connect with Tom

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • News Feed

Upcoming Events

Staff Satellite Office Hours

Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
Upcoming Staff Satellite Office Hours for October:
 
Amador County

Jackson
Tuesday, October 28th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Conference Room D
County Administration Center
810 Court Street
 
Calaveras County
 
San Andreas
Tuesday, October 7th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Calaveras County Water Agency Conference Room
120 Toma Court
 
El Dorado County
 
Camino
Thursday, October 9th
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Camino Pollock Pines
Chamber of Commerce
4123 Carson Road
 
El Dorado Hills
Thursday, October 9th
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce
2085 Vine Street, #105
 
South Lake Tahoe
Thursday, October 16th
9:00 am - 11:00 am
South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District
1275 Meadow Crest Drive
 
Fresno County
 
Auberry
Thursday, October 23rd
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Auberry Library
33049 Auberry Road
 
Madera County 
 
Oakhurst
Thursday, October 2nd
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Coarsegold
Thursday, October 2nd
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse
30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway
 
Mariposa County 
 
Mariposa
Tuesday, October 21st
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Nevada County
 
Truckee
Thursday, October 30th
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Truckee Town Hall
Council Chambers
10183 Truckee Airport Road
 
Placer County
 
Auburn
Wednesday, October 15th
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Auburn City Hall
Room #10
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Lincoln
Wednesday, October 15th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin
Tuesday, October 28th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3980 Rocklin Road
 
Tahoe City
Thursday, October 23rd
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Tahoe City Public Utility District
221 Fairway Drive
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora
Tuesday, October 7th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 N Washington Street
 
For further information on staff satellite office hours, please call 916-786-5560.