Conservative Group Wants Obamacare Declared a Tax

A conservative legal group asked a federal appeals court Thursday to break new legal ground and overturn Obamacare by declaring it a tax bill that originated in the Senate — a violation of the Constitution’s demand that the House have exclusive right to initiate all revenue measures.

It’s an issue the courts have rarely dealt with, and only once has the Supreme Court struck a bill down under what’s known as the “Origination Clause” of the Constitution, lawyers said. But conservatives hope the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will venture into virtually uncharted territory and strike a death blow against the Affordable Care Act.

“What happened here is unprecedented and very unique,” said Timothy Sandefur, the lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation who argued the case.

The three judges on the panel gave little indication how they were leaning, though it appeared the challengers have a high legal bar.

The judges also took up another Obamacare case Thursday, hearing the challenge from Priests for Life and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, which both argue the administration’s policies violate their religious rights by requiring that employees of religiously affiliated groups get free contraception under their health plans.