Flanked by 25 Republican legislators at the Capitol this morning, a conservative lawyer announced his plans to file a privately funded challenge against Obamacare in federal court.
Lawyer Andrew Schlafly is representing Steven Hotze—a GOP donor and Houston “wellness” doctor whose website is currently promoting “Hormonal Balance: The Best Mother’s Day Gift of All”—in a complaint arguing that the Affordable Care Act violates both the Fifth Amendment and the Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Schlafly is perhaps best known for creating Conservapedia, a conservative response to Wikipedia. His mother is Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.
Texas, which joined a coalition of states in a challenge that reached the Supreme Court, is not a part of this lawsuit. But Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was good enough to set aside the Senate press room so two dozen lawmakers could help lend some gravitas to Schlafly’s effort—a little unexpected political theater to lighten the mood in the Legislature’s busy last few days.
His suit, which he’ll file in U.S. District Court in Houston, is not the only attempt to torpedo the Affordable Care Act based on the Origination Clause, which says any bill that would raise revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. His challenge based on the “takings clause” of the Fifth Amendment isn’t novel either—he’s general counsel for a group that’s already suing on that point.
“Rather than providing affordable care to patients, what [the ACA is] really doing is causing a redistribution of wealth,” Schafly said. “It’s forcing Dr. Hotze, his company, thousands of other businesses and individuals to pay money to insurance carriers under the threat of penalty if they don’t do it.”
Schafly said even Democrats agree the law is a train wreck, though no Democratic legislators were there to help him introduce the suit.