30 June 2012

If it is a tax, then why is it not covered by the Anti-Injunction Act?

As a medical historian, I hold rather strongly to the view that universal healthcare is a human right. I support but dislike the Affordable Care Act, not because it isn't a step in the right direction (it is), but because it offers little in the way of cost controls even as it increases access.

That said, I was delighted that the Supreme Court of the United States found that the US Congress could pass policies leading to future social welfare programs. And declared such policies constitutional. That was a victory for the legitimacy of welfare state policies.

I am nevertheless baffled by one fact: in reading the Roberts' decision, I found myself wondering if this is a tax then why did the court rule on it at all? Shouldn't they have stated as a matter of procedure that this bill falls under the Anti-Injunction Act and therefore any decision is premature?


  1. Well, they addressed that issue & held that it wasn't a tax within the meaning of the Anti-Injunction Act. That might sound crazy or inconsistent, but it really isn't unusual for the same word ("tax") to be construed differently in different contexts (Congress's taxing power vs the Anti-Injunction Act). Of course it's also the case that all this play in the joints of legal interpretation/construction does allow the court a lot of freedom to do what it wants to do.

  2. Where does it say that? I missed it. Either way it strikes me as disingenuous.

  3. You talk about the Anti-Injunction Act. It is very necessary post. I am very happy for this post. I am waiting for your next post.