800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewThe House’s entire legal team would like, first and foremost, to express its gratitude and respect for Judge Rosemary Collyer in issuing this historic and profound decision. The opinion is attached below.

The ruling today means that the United States House of Representatives now will be heard on an issue that drives to the very heart of our constitutional system: the control of the legislative branch over the “power of the purse.” We are eager to present the House’s merits arguments to the Court and remain confident that our position will ultimately prevail in establishing the unconstitutional conduct alleged in this lawsuit.

Today’s victory is not for the legal team or even the House of Representatives but the country as a whole. Regardless of any divisions that we may have in politics, we remain united by a common article of faith in our constitutional system. Securing this decision means that the fundamental questions raised by the Administration’s actions will be resolved by the courts and not simply the court of public opinion. The system as a whole will be benefited by clarifying the respective powers of the branches.

The House filed this lawsuit after the Administration openly violated the Constitution by paying – and by continuing to pay – billions in public funds to insurance companies under an Affordable Care Act program without any appropriation from Congress. Article I, section 9 of the Constitution, states very clearly and very plainly that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

In his FY 2014 budget request to Congress, the President specifically asked Congress to appropriate several billion dollars for payments to insurance companies for that fiscal year. Congress declined to appropriate the requested funds. The Administration then unilaterally opted to take money from the Treasury and to make payments to insurance companies in the absence of any appropriation from Congress. To date, the Administration has paid out more than $4 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that amount will reach $175 billion over the next 10 fiscal years.

Rather than address the merits head on, the Administration argued that even if the President broke the law and committed $175 billion to insurers without authority, Congress may not seek judicial enforcement of the Constitution and the courts have no authority to order appropriate relief. The position would have sharply curtailed both the legislative and judicial branches. The Court has now answered that question with a resounding rejection of this extreme position.

Judge Collyer held:

“Neither the President nor his officers can authorize appropriations; the assent of the House of Representatives is required before any public monies are spent. Congress’s power of the purse is the ultimate check on the otherwise unbounded power of the Executive. . . . The genius of our Framers was to limit the Executive’s power “by a valid reservation of congressional control over funds in the Treasury.” . . . Disregard for that reservation works a grievous harm on the House, which is deprived of its rightful and necessary place under our Constitution. The House has standing to redress that injury in federal court.”

Finally, I would like to thank the extraordinary team that played such a key role in bringing about this case and this victory. Specifically, I would like to thank General Counsel Kerry Kircher; Deputy General Counsel William Pittard; Senior Assistant General Counsel Todd Tatelman; and Assistant Counsels Eleni Roumel, Isaac Rosenberg, and Kimberly Hamm. They are unparalleled in their constitutional knowledge and experience in this area.

Jonathan Turley
Lead Counsel, United States House of Representatives v. Burwell

Burwell Decision (Sept. 9, 2015)


  1. Forgotten: You are all wrong. America lags behind nearly two dozen Socialist nations in whatever unit of measure you care to use; economic, health, education…that last one explains why Americans share your opinions in significant numbers.

    Germany, Norway, Britain, Canada, Japan, they’re kicking our butts, and they own more of this country than Americans do.

    A free market economy is immoral. It’s a football game without rules and without referees. A free market allows insurance companies to deny your claim because your mother or your grandfather smoked. Or drag out your claim in the courts until you die. A free market allows companies to deceive investors by inflating the value of their assets. Gee, when was the last time that happened?

    The real fraud in this country, however, remains the one Americans perpetrate upon themselves when they convince themselves that they can beat the machine in a wide open contest. It explains the allure of Vegas and fantasy football. And Wall St. Forget it, it’s house rules and it’s rigged against you.

    I tell you this for your own good free of charge. You won’t listen. You’ll come back with more the same rambling, long-winded gobbledy-gook you’ve shown in this thread, and more’s the pity for it. In a no-rules game, I’m willing to bet you’re one of those who’ll get hurt the worst.

    Best of luck.

  2. Hildegard,

    I’m saying that America has a false basis; a false history. Lincoln should have been thrown in prison for nullification of the founding documents – the highest of crimes. Obama is not eligible, unconstitutional and illegal – and he knows it.

    That which was done by criminals is itself criminal. It is criminal to perpetuate the criminal acts of criminals.

    The histories of both of these actors should have been revoked and rescinded. Lincoln’s “property-cum-citizens” must be repatriated to properly immigrate from their countries of origin. Obamacare must be entirely revoked and rescinded. Roosevelt’s pure communism of Social Security, Medicare and the “New Deal” must be revoked and rescinded. The “dictatorship of the proletariat,” AKA the Fed/Treasury/Military/Industrial Complex and its allies, the striking government worker unions with their “comparable pay,” must be abolished and disbanded.

    It’s time for the RESET BUTTON. The entire socialist/communist/collectivist welfare state, including Bankster bailouts and floated currency/funny money, must be voided, nullified, revoked and rescinded.

    The Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights must be RESET.

    The Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights must be re-implemented.

    1. “Socialism is half communism. Socialism is half wrong. Ergo, socialism is all wrong. ” I couldn’t agree more. You might like this article: Democratic Socialism is a Lie

      By the way, Bernie Sanders has all but said directly that he supports drug company sponsored forced vaccinations. So much for individual rights and socialist anti-corporatism.

      “The Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights must be re-implemented.” Amen to that. Save the U.S. Constitution; my bumper sticker soon to be replaced with “No More Fake News”.

      Sounds like you’re well informed and on to something. Every day we’re becoming more enslaved. People cannot long for freedom until they fully feel the degree of their enslavement. What keeps us from fully experiencing it? Gurdjieff calls it the “God of self-calming” and we’re all guilty of worshiping that God to varying degrees. Notice the ire you elicit when you try to pull back the curtain of deception by showing the somnambulists something like THIS:


      ” Obama is not eligible, unconstitutional and illegal – and he knows it. ” Oh thank God someone here knows this besides me.

  3. T. Hall.

    “If you’re half right, you’re half wrong.

    If you’re half wrong, you’re all wrong.”

    Socialism is half communism. Socialism is half wrong. Ergo, socialism is all wrong.

    Free enterprise is ALL right. Freedom and free enterprise are all American.

    Open, free and competitive insurance markets are constitutional.

    Central Planning is unconstitutional communism. Interfering and corrupting markets is unconstitutional.

    All the dark money in the world shall not and cannot subvert the Constitution and shall not and cannot diminish the maximal efficiency of free market competition. If you leave it alone, it will grow.

    That is the mission of the SCOTUS; to assure that actions comport with law. Too bad it doesn’t.

    The singular American failure has been the SCOTUS as it “legislates from the bench.”

    Government is limited to Justice, Tranquility, Common Defence, Promote General Welfare.

    The “blessings of liberty” are freedom and free enterprise without interference by government.

    “…to ourselves and our posterity,…”

    No Central Planning
    No Control of the Means of Production
    No Social Engineering
    No Redistribution of Wealth

    Karl Marx understood that the American founding documents did not include anything close to these principles and, because of that distinct omission, he proposed them in the Communist Manifesto.

    The American thesis is for the people to create (i.e. wealth) and for the government to facilitate creation by the people.

  4. This decision is a GREAT win for the Democratic Party going into this Presidential election. What insurance companies want, insurance companies get, and except for a few wrinkles the ACA suits them just fine.

    Expect to see pallets of dark money going to Congressional races in the next year. And bank on this case becoming moot after the next Congress forks over the money.

  5. Hildegard

    Chief Justice Taney told Lincoln that he had no authority to suspend Habeas Corpus and that slaves were property and could not be made citizens.


    Through the links you posted, you are saying that America can’t handle the truth of actually applying the literal words of the Constitution. For example, every bill related to Obama would be nullified upon his impeachment and conviction.

    If Americans can’t handle the truth of the founding documents, the unintended consequences, then someone else is ruling America.

    P.S. To be sure, in a free America with free enterprise, slavery, an economic, labor issue, should have been addressed through private free market economic mechanisms. Lincoln should have remained in the private sector and conducted private free market activities, such as boycotts and divestment, to eliminate slavery. That would have been eminently constitutional. Just as in a free America, the only way to constitutionally effect redistribution of wealth is through private, free market charities.

    1. I’m not sure how exactly you’re disagreeing with me, except that you state that the laws Obama has signed would be nullified if he were impeached and that is clearly not the case and has never been the case. Unless you can show me some convincing evidence I guess we disagree on that. Did you read the Western News Daily article? That explains very clearly, I thought, why impeaching a usurper is unconstitutional. Impeachment is for legitimately elected presidents. (Although since we basically live in a banana republic, we haven’t had fraud-free elections in some time but that’s another story.) A usurper belongs in the criminal justice system

      “If Obama is not “a natural born Citizen” or has renounced such citizenship, he is simply not eligible for “the Office of President” (Article II, Section 1, Clause 4). That being so, he cannot be “elected” by the voters, by the Electoral College, or by the House of Representatives (see Amendment XII). For neither the voters, nor the Electors, nor members of the House can change the constitutional requirement, even by unanimous vote inter sese (see Article V). If, nonetheless, the voters, the Electors, or the members of the House purport to “elect” Obama, he will be nothing but a usurper, because the Constitution defines him as such. And he can never become anything else, because a usurper cannot gain legitimacy if even all of the country aid, abets, accedes to, or acquiesces in his usurpation.”

      The conundrum of removing Obama/Soetoro from office

      And as far as your comments on slavery. Oddly enough, because I doubt many would, i agree with you. Slavery was ended in spite of the civil war, not because of it and look at the results. Blacks for many many years and even to this date are still treated as “less than” although (in my opinion) their overall lot in life has improved. The bigger question is, “Are we ALL slaves?” The answer is yes, but some are more slaves than others. It’s just a matter of degree. http://losethename.com/

      “. Just as in a free America, the only way to constitutionally effect redistribution of wealth is through private, free market charities.” Or voluntary socialism.

  6. Just occurred to me that you may have meant that some foundation activity legislation may incorporate stipulations about funding necessity … however that alone does NOT appropriate funding. Appropriation is always a separate matter, usually annually but occasionally with longer expiration dates. Lack of an annual budget makes this a hazy concept with bureaucrats free to run amok if not watched closely. Which brings us back to your remark about ambiguity. To my knowledge the current administration has never had an annual budget passed by Congress, who lethargically sets up CR’s … I think the ancient Chinese called that kow-towing. 😀

    A CR allows considerable discretion by bureaucrats to allocate funds based upon prior periods, in total, but not necessarily proportionate to the appropriations of the prior periods…and there begins the slippery slope and confusion about what funds are applicable where, etc. based on foundation legislation not appropriation.

  7. Issac said (then asked a question)…

    There seems to be enough built in ambiguity to allow for right to proceed even when it may not be done to the letter of the law…

    And therein lies one of the biggest problems…ambiguity in the law. That said, NO new law setting the structure of an activity, be it the ACA or any other, has funding attached. None. Funding is provided by appropriations authorized by said structural law….they are separate matters. I know of no case where the “incorporated” funding issue has been taken before the SCOTUS successfully. A flaw lately has been our reliance on Continuing Resolutions rather than annual budgets (a sign of laziness IMO)…which allows for considerable manipulation of funding…up to 95% of a prior period’s funding in fact. We seem hooked on this process like an addict on a drug…even though it emasculates both Congress and the Courts, leaving us with a virtual autocracy.

    Said very simply, legally, authorizing legislation is not funding appropriation. Period. In my time as a “Fed” I never once lost in an argument over this matter of appropriation requirements…and I had several cases on point. Since the leadership often wanted my signature on documents permitting funding transfer I objected when there was no appropriation, past or present authorizing it, and I always won those debates…sometimes with rather clandestine Congressional assistance. You shove an instance of bureaucrats ignoring Congress in a Congress person’s face, they can get testy…and intervene directly if irritated enough. Worked for me 🙂

    If I didn’t answer well or misunderstood your question, please let me know and I’ll try harder.

  8. How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary By Dr. Edwin Vieira

    “It is time to put the Judiciary back in its proper place. Dr. Edwin Vieira, a Trustee of The Conservative Caucus Foundation (TCCF) and a brilliant legal scholar, has comprehensively addressed these and other issues in this study commissioned by the TCCF, ‘Constitutional and Statutory Remedies for Judicial Usurpation and Tyranny.’

  9. Mr. Appleton had the best response that has been written so far. His response is a high bar for anyone commenting on here.

    It is brilliant is scope, depth, quality and legal analysis.

    1. Which is why the trolls and ignorant refuse to comment on it since it shoots down all their pet theories about how the government functions. His contribution is the reason I liked this forum because I can get good legal advice on many topics and I LEARN something.

  10. Valerie Jackson
    1, September 10, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    “Rock on, Judge Collyer. Somebody actually read the Constitution.”

    Hear, hear!


  11. “…We should’ve impeached Bush,…”


    Trump on Iran deal: ‘We are led by very stupid people.”

    Stupid people. Imagine that.


    Hillary Clinton says her Iraq war vote was a ‘mistake’
    By Adam B. Lerner 05/19/15, 04:32 PM

    After days of Republican presidential candidates wrestling with questions on the Iraq war, Hillary Clinton weighed in Tuesday, telling reporters that her vote in favor of the war in 2002 was a “mistake.”

    “I made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple. And I have written about it in my book, I have talked about it in the past,” Clinton told reporters at an event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, adding that “what we now see is a very different and very dangerous situation.”


    WIKI –

    The Iraq Resolution or the Iraq War Resolution (formally the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,[1] Pub.L. 107–243, 116 Stat. 1498, enacted October 16, 2002, H.J.Res. 114) is a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243, authorizing military action against Iraq.[2]

    Republican 215 6 2
    Democratic 82 126 1
    Independent 0 1 0
    TOTALS 297 133 3

    United States Senate[edit]
    Republican 48 1
    Democratic 29 21
    Independent 0 1
    TOTALS 77 23
    58% of Democratic senators (29 of 50) voted for the resolution. Those voting for the resolution are:

    Lincoln (D-AR)
    Feinstein (D-CA)
    Dodd (D-CT)
    Lieberman (D-CT)
    Biden (D-DE)
    Carper (D-DE)
    Nelson (D-FL)
    Cleland (D-GA)
    Miller (D-GA)
    Bayh (D-IN)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Breaux (D-LA)
    Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
    Kerry (D-MA)
    Carnahan (D-MO)
    Baucus (D-MT)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Reid (D-NV)
    Torricelli (D-NJ)
    Clinton (D-NY)
    Schumer (D-NY)
    Edwards (D-NC)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Hollings (D-SC)
    Daschle (D-SD)
    Johnson (D-SD)
    Cantwell (D-WA)
    Rockefeller (D-WV)
    Kohl (D-WI)


    America has a “whole lotta impeachin’ to do.”

  12. Also Sandi, not only is this mess in the Mideast directly attributable to Bush’s unessesary war in Iraq, he should’ve been impeached for lying us into a war and then he should’ve been prosecuted for war crimes for the torture program.

  13. “Over the last year, in late-night meetings at the fortified compound of the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and in videoconferences between Baghdad and Washington, American and Iraqi negotiators had struggled to reach an agreement. All the while, both Mr. Obama and the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, gave the world a wink and nod, always saying that Iraq was ready to stand on its own but never fully closing the door on the possibility of American troops’ staying on.

    Through the summer, American officials continued to assume that the agreement would be amended, and Mr. Obama was willing to support a continued military presence. In June, diplomats and Iraqi officials said that Mr. Obama had told Mr. Maliki that he was prepared to leave up to 10,000 soldiers to continue training and equipping the Iraqi security forces. Mr. Maliki agreed, but said he needed time to line up political allies.”

    This month, American officials pressed the Iraqi leadership to meet again at President Talabani’s compound to discuss the issue. This time the Americans asked them to take a stand on the question of immunity for troops, hoping to remove what had always been the most difficult hurdle. But they misread Iraqi politics and the Iraqi public. Still burdened by the traumas of this and previous wars, and having watched the revolutions sweeping their region, the Iraqis were unwilling to accept anything that infringed on their sovereignty.” [The New York Times, 10/21/11]

    Let’s get our facts straight Sandi.

    1. Annie, several top oficials in the Bush Administration and high-level military have spoken of an agreement for US troops to remin in Iraq for very specific purposes. Then comes Obama changing the agreement from our side and claiming your statement of our troops being in legal jeopardy. This was not part of the Bush/Cheney package. Do you really think the Iraqis were too stupid to accept troops to keep the peace? As for trying any of our soldiers legally, the U.S. Wouldn’t accept and Iraqi government would be in jeopardy.are the Iraqi people pleased that U.S. Protection is no longer there? Hard to tell since their heads are gone and cannot speak.

      I would rather build a gigantic wall around the Middle East with a bigger one around Israel. Refugees in Libya, all men no women or children, should be in a walled camp.

      1. Insanity reins! The American Empire should build a wall around the Middle East, like the Berlin Wall or the Great Wall of China to forever lock in or lock out millions of people because Americans are paranoid and the illegal war in Iraq destroying the country and creating ISIS requires America to perpetually at war. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics estimates that the total cost of the Iraq war, including loss of lives, the injured, the cost of rebuilding the country at $3 trillion ( yes, trillion) dollars. Now, you hypocritical so called conservatives are going to spend trillions more? If Congress does not appropriwlate such funds, will Jonathan Turley file another lawsuit?

  14. Sandi, the Status of Forces Agreement was not agreed upon by the Iraqis. Our forces would’ve been in that country without any legal protections from prosecution by the Iraqi government.

    “But ending the U.S. troop presence in Iraq was an overwhelmingly popular demand among Iraqis, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to have been unwilling to take the political risk of extending it. While he was inclined to see a small number of American soldiers stay behind to continue mentoring Iraqi forces, the likes of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, on whose support Maliki’s ruling coalition depends, were having none of it. Even the Obama Administration’s plan to keep some 3,000 trainers behind failed because the Iraqis were unwilling to grant them the legal immunity from local prosecution that is common to SOF agreements in most countries where U.S. forces are based.”[Time, 10/21/11]

    “But talks ran aground over Iraqi opposition to giving American troops legal immunity that would shield them from Iraqi prosecution. Legal protection for U.S. troops has always angered everyday Iraqis who saw it as simply a way for the Americans to run roughshod over the country. Many Iraqi lawmakers were hesitant to grant immunity for fear of a backlash from constituents.

    “When the Americans asked for immunity, the Iraqi side answered that it was not possible,” al-Maliki told a news conference Saturday. “The discussions over the number of trainers and the place of training stopped. Now that the issue of immunity was decided and that no immunity to be given, the withdrawal has started.”” [The Huffington Post, 10/22/2011]

    Bush’s administration is guilty as hell for the mess in the Mideast and no one should forget it.

    1. Annie, people there said the agreement was in place. Without those troops Iraq proved itself incapable of governing, having a trained army, and keeping promises. Why do we keep finding nuclear bits and pieces (the latest a lot of yellow cake)? As to torture, water boarding three people and getting vital info makes it fine by me.why did all those Senators, Hillary is one, look at the info and agree. Except now Hillary says her vote was a mistake. The info was there or it wasn’t, you can’t change what you saw.

      Obama has been the biggest danger of all. I fear for future generations who will suffer due to his Presidency. Part of the job is to interact with congress. “My way or the highway” has been his motto. Impeachment takes too long. One more year, if we survive that!

      I am going on another break from this site!

  15. Airdog

    I admit to a limited knowledge of how the different parts of the government work. However, I have followed this government for some years now and throughout and recently on two occasions concerning the ACA arguments as well founded in structure have been taken to the SCOTUS and regardless of legal structure, have been interpreted otherwise. There seems to be enough built in ambiguity to allow for right to proceed even when it may not be done to the letter of the law. That is my point and your response would be appreciated.

  16. Congratulations Professor and team on this initial victory.
    An important case which I hope will be upheld in later stages.

    After all, as the founders knew full well, without the requirement of specific appropriation, the entire Treasury becomes merely a huge Executive Branch slush fund.

    Who needs a line item veto then?

  17. Another aspect of federal government finance I have concluded is understood by few is the simple fact that several agencies only have “project appropriation funding” and little if any “expense appropriation funding.” This requires that each agency so funded take from the project funds to pay for over head and several are quite good at doing so and stockpiling it as well. In short, if no project funds are appropriated for a given year or agency, under that system, that agency shuts down. Thus the politicians always fund a bit just to stay in office…who wants to be the folks who shuts down an agency? An example would the US Army Corps of Engineers civilian portion…most have no expense appropriation other than for Washington DC headquarters. Lately the Corps has been prostituting itself with the EPA, who has more administrative funding. Win-win.

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