GOP member says healthcare ruling on par with Dred Scott decision

The Dred Scott decision of 1857 was eventually overturned by the adoption of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution in 1865 and 1868, which ended slavery and gave everyone the right to citizenship.

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McClintock said the healthcare ruling dramatically reduces the rights of all Americans because it is easier for the government to enforce a tax, and harder to enforce penalties.

The ruling upheld the individual mandate and related penalties for failing to buy health insurance, and said these charges are constitutional when viewed as a tax. In his floor remarks, McClintock said this rationalization will make it much easier for the government to impose this tax, because Americans will bear the burden of showing they should not have been taxed.

In contrast, if the enforcement mechanism were a penalty, the government would bear the burden of showing the law has been violated.

"This decision fundamentally alters the most cherished principle of our justice system: the presumption of innocence," McClintock said.

McClintock also added that the tax will allow the government to fine people first, after which disputes may be heard about whether that fine was justified. "You are punished first, and then tried," he said.

"By this reasoning, it can now tax speech it finds offensive, tax people who choose not to go to church, or people who do, tax people who own guns, or people who don't," McClintock added. "As long as can call it a tax under this decision, there are no limits to the power of the federal government."