There’s something about our system of common law that I fear many people, especially those who have lived under a civil code system, do not understand or at least don’t understand its implications. Our law is not necessarily logical and there’s no requirement that it be consistent or coherent.
Given that preamble, can anyone produce an explanation relying solely on constitutional law that the Tea Party Republicans were acting illegally in refusing to fund Obamacare? Keep in mind Article I, Section 7, Clause 1:
1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
I read that as saying that the House of Representatives, in theory the most representative body in the federal government, identifies the spending priorities. Neither the Senate nor the president nor the Supreme Court have any power to compel the House to fund anything.
As I’ve pointed out before, it’s very difficult for a Congress to compel future Congresses. That’s why carefully constructed legislation that extends over any period of time includes trust funds, multi-year appropriations, and so on. They make it harder for a future Congress to undo a past Congress’s work.
I’ve argued against the actions of the House’s Tea Party Republicans but on grounds of decorum, civility, political prudence, and maybe even morality not of law. If there’s a legal argument please make it. Saying “a law was enacted by a past Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court” is not such a legal argument. It assumes things that are incorrect: that Congresses have the power to bind future Congresses, that past laws can compel the House of Representatives, and that there’s some requirement for our law to be logical, consistent, or coherent.