The most prominent federal lawsuit alleging that the massive healthcare-reform bill is unconstitutional now has the participation of at least one New Jersey politician.
Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5), fresh from his re-election to another term in the House, announced on Friday that he had joined the American Center for Law and Justice in filing an amicus curiae brief in the 20-State Florida case, on behalf of lead plaintiff Bill McCollum, Attorney General of Florida.
The federal health care law isn’t just bad public policy, it’s unconstitutional. As countless constitutional scholars have pointed out, our founding fathers never envisioned a federal government with such expansive powers. Forcing Americans to purchase health insurance under penalty of law represents an unprecedented power-grab by the federal government and would set a dangerous precedent for the future. If we were to give Congress this power under the Constitution, then there would be virtually no limit on its authority to compel our country’s citizens to comply with the whims of future congressional majorities. I submit that the federal health care law will be found unconstitutional when it is litigated in our courts.
Garrett had filed his own bill, HR 4999, on April 13, 2010, to repeal the healthcare-reform bill entirely.
The ACLJ brief has the names of 65 Members of the House on it, including Garrett’s and those of Michele Bachmann (R-MN-5), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Joe (“You lie!”) Wilson (R-SC-2). Three days earlier, incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had filed his own amicus brief, as has Senate Republican Floor Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The ACLJ brief makes two arguments:
- The individual mandate to purchase health insurance of a kind acceptable to the government is an unconstitutional construction of Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).
- Because the individual mandate is not severable, the entire act is invalid. (Most legislation has a severability clause to protect the rest of the law from invalidation of only part of it. HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is not one of them.)
New Jersey Eagle Forum President Carolee Adams sent out a mass e-mail last night asking interested New Jerseyans to call Governor Chris Christie and ask him why he has not joined the lawsuit. She criticized him, as well, for his appointment of Paula Dow, a “liberal Democrat,” as his Attorney General. Dow had worked for Christie in the New Jersey United States Attorney’s office prior to his election as governor. Christie had earlier considered joining the Florida lawsuit but then declined.
Two South Jersey men are still pursuing their own 15-count pro se lawsuit (Purpura et al. v. Sibelius et al.) against the healthcare bill. On Thursday, plaintiffs Nicholas E. Purpura and Donald R. Laster, Jr., sent a second letter to US District Judge Freda Wolfson, asking her to recuse herself from handling the case. In an exclusive to this Examiner, Laster wrote:
We have asked that Judge Wolfson to recuse herself due the blatant violations of judicial procedure she has been engaging in. She had unsigned TROs served on the Defendants and then issued rulings denying the TROs without holding hearings on the TROs. TROs are either signed and then served and the Defendant attempt to get the TRO vacated. Or a hearing is held on the TRO and a determination is made at that point to sign or to not sign the TRO. We have never been given the opportunity to present our case for the TROs in any hearing. The Court acting in collusion with the Justice Department has responded to the TRO and then Judge Wolfson has parroted the Defendants replies and denied the TROs. These are violations of Judicial Procedure and by rights we can file complaints with the Judicial Conduct Board over this blatant misconduct.
Regarding Garrett’s latest joining of the Florida case, Laster said:
If Scott Garrett is really interested in supporting legal action to remove the Senate originated “H.R. 3590” he should be supporting our legal action that was brought on behalf of the people of New Jersey and the US. We address the same issues that the States have brought as well as 13 more issues related to other violations of this bill, now “law”, that violates the US Constitution. The violations of the US Constitution are obvious to anyone who has taken the time to read the whole bill and who knows what the constitutional contract actually states.
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