Lawmaker: Supreme Court questions imply government can tax freedom

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he was "staggered" to hear a Supreme Court Justice imply today that companies disagreeing with the ObamaCare mandate to provide contraception to their workers should simply not provide it, and then pay the penalty.

Speaking on the House floor, Gohmert said that line of questioning implies that companies and people can only enjoy their freedoms after paying a tax or fine to the government.

ADVERTISEMENT
"What is being implied by the question is, if you want to avoid paying to kill a child in the womb, then just pay the tax and we'll allow you to observe your conscience, your firmly held religious beliefs," he said.

"It is staggering that anybody, any Justice on the United States Supreme Court, would have rationalized to the point that could ever even dream of saying, just pay the fine, penalty, tax, and then you don't have to pay for killing children."

Gohmert did not name the Justice who asked the question, but several Justices today asked similar questions.

"Can you imagine if King George had set a decree that said pay a $2,000 penalty or tax, and then you can observe your religious beliefs?" Gohmert asked on the floor.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who joined Gohmert on the floor, agreed that this line of questioning indicates that the government can charge people for exercising their freedoms.

"The premise that the Justice is embracing is you don't have a guaranteed right to religious expression and to religious thought," she said.

"You don't have that right," she said, speaking for the government. "That is our right. We'll sell it."

Gohmert spoke after attending today's session at the Supreme Court. In the morning, the Court heard oral arguments in two cases brought by companies that oppose the ObamaCare requirement that for-profit companies must provide birth control services in their employee healthcare plans.

Gohmert, a former judge, added that because the Court did not provide an area for members of Congress to observe the court's proceedings, he now supports putting cameras in the Court to observe proceedings.

He said that because Congress is charged with funding the Supreme Court, the Court should therefore provide space for members to observe its proceedings.