IS A NATIONAL HEALTH CARE MANDATE CONSTITUTIONAL?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 2, 2011) — Two New Jersey plaintiffs in the Purpura v. Sebelius lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care bill signed by Obama in March 2010 have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari, citing “Extrodinary [sic] Circumstances Requiring Emergency Relief.”
The lawsuit alleges that the health care bill, commonly known as “Obamacare,” violates 19 constitutional protections in 15 counts. The case had been filed with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where a judge appointed by Obama refused to recuse himself from reviewing it.
Challenges brought in other federal appeals courts have yielded mixed rulings, with some declaring the individual mandate to purchase health insurance constitutional and others stating the opposite.
The plaintiffs, Nicholas Purpura and Donald R. Laster, Jr., have named Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis as defentants. The plaintiffs are acting pro se.
Laster is Treasurer of the Jersey Shore Tea Party Patriots organization, and Purpura is an At-Large Board Member. Laster told The Post & Email that he and Purpura have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court because the Third Circuit Court of Appeals “ruled against all of the motions.” Laster added, ” Two Judges were required by Title 28 Section 455 to recuse themselves since they have a financial interest in the outcome. They participated in the violations. The Third Circuit violated their own rules from the outset and lied in their opinions. Nick believes, and I concur, the Third Circuit was trying to stall expecting us to appeal to a [sic] En Banc court.”
Documents pertaining to in the lawsuit, which was originally filed on September 20, 2010, can be found here. Laster and Purpura have listed approximately 600 petitioners who are also plaintiffs in the case. The U.S. Justice Department maintains that the bill protects people against potentially catastrophic medical expenses” and is “vigorously defending the law…”
Laster also reported that the two lower courts which had received the case had stated that “standing” was an issue on the part of the plaintiffs. Regarding that argument, Laster said:
One of the key items is the Rule 21 motion. Remember, neither of the Courts (Circuit or District) looked at the merits of the case. They chose to ignore the counts and fabricated a standing argument. The same cases they used to deny standing and jurisdiction are the same cases the 11th and 6th circuit used to support standing of individuals in the same circumstances. Because the SCOTUS is currently looking at the cases to take, a Motion to Expedite was filed as well.
The Post & Email asked Laster if the provisions of the health care bill have begun to impact individual states, and he responded:
Yes. The Government has started to implement the violations of Amendment 4 involving the seizure of health care records. And of course everyone has noticed the cost of insurance protection go up. Even the shortage of various medications can be attributed to this unconstitutional law. The Government has started implementing the law so a lot of money we don’t have is being wasted on this unconstitutional bill. And to that the destruction of Medicare and Medicaid – if you don’t pay doctors for their service to Medicare and Medicaid patients, those who accept them have to bill everyone else more.
My doctor in the 1980s for a regular office visit received $15.00 per visit (remember this is 30 years ago) for Medicaid and Medicare patients and had to bill other patients $33.00 per visit. And his office staff always was trying to get him to raise his rate. But being an old school doctor he always resisted. So consider what the costs are today with Medicare and Medicaid not paying for the true costs. Is it any wonder medical insurance protection costs are so high?
As of October 28, 2011, one website reported that there were five lawsuits challenging the health care bill which had reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Writing on the SCOTUS Blog, Lyle Denniston stated that “It has appeared, for some weeks, that the Obama Administration’s biggest domestic initiative could face its ultimate test — and a final ruling — before the Court recesses the current Term late next June. But the lawyers have now practically guaranteed that timetable. As a result, the Court may take its initial look at the issue as early as November 10, although that is not yet set.”
November 10 is the day on which the Supreme Court will reportedly decide which health care challenges it will review for the 2011-2012 term, which concludes at the end of June 2012. An announcement of the decision could be made on November 14. It appears established that November 10 will be the Court’s “first formal discussion” on the health care mandate, which has been challenged by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in a multi-state lawsuit. The lead attorney for that case, Paul D. clement, has also filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli challenged the bill, but his case was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Another case brought by Liberty University received the response from the same court that it could not rule on the individual mandate until people had begun to actually pay it in 2014, when the mandate takes effect.
The Post & Email asked Laster how his case is different from others which have been filed, and he responded:
Most of those cases involve only Amendment 10 or Article 1, Section 8, paragraph 3. A few have a couple of other items such as Amendment 1 or 5. Ours, to our knowledge, is the only case that cites 19 specific violations of the U.S. Constitution both in relationship to the creation and signing of the bill into law and provisions of the law itself. We may be one of the few people who actually read the whole bill and then compared the provisions of the bill to the Constitution.
The bill/law involves violations of Article 1, Section 7; Paragraph 1, Art. 1, Sec. 8, Pars 1, 3, 12, 14, 15 and 16; Art 1, Sec 9, Pars 4, 5, and 6;Art 2, Section 1, Par 5; Art 4, Sec 2, Par 1; Art 6, Par 3; Amendments 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 14 and 16. Even Amendment 6 is probably violated.
The footnotes on page 6 read:
Please Take Mandatory Notice (Federal Rules of Evidence 201(d)) that Petitioners had a lawful right to proceed without cost, based upon the following law:
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a natural man or woman is entitled to relief for free access to its judicial tribunals and public offices in every State in the Union (2 Black 620, see also Crandell v. Nevada, 6 Wall 35). Plaintiff should not be charge [sic] fees, or costs for the lawful and constitutional right to petition this court in this matter in which he is entitled to relief, as it appears that the filing fee rule was originally implemented for fictions and subjects of the State and should not be applied to the Plaintiff who is a natural individual and entitled to relief; Hale v. Henkel)(201 U.S. 43)