Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Opposition to a Hypothetical Excise Tax on Soft Drinks

A proposed excise tax on the manufacture and consumption of soft drinks would be unconstitutional because it is not an enumerated power of the United States Federal Government to provide for health care.

In the 1936 decision of United States v. Butler, Justice Owen Roberts wrote the opinion of the 6-to-3 majority: “[t]he power of taxation, which is expressly granted, may, of course, be adopted as a means to carry into operation another power also expressly granted. But resort to the taxing power to effectuate an end which is not legitimate, not within the scope of the Constitution, is obviously inadmissible…”

In the 1987 decision of South Dakota v. Dole, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote the opinion of the 7-to-2 majority: “[Butler resolved] a longstanding debate over the scope of the Spending Clause, determined that ‘the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution… the exercise of the spending power must be in pursuit of the ‘general welfare.’ In considering whether a particular expenditure is intended to serve general public purposes, courts should defer substantially to the judgment of Congress.”

No comments:

Post a Comment