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Class action lawsuit, with a twist

And maybe a backflip too.

As many of you (okay the three of you who have found this blog) may be aware the United States recently passed a rather long series of laws, regulations, restrictions, and other named things relating to the health insurance industry.

Very little in that law actually had to do with health care, it was really about the health insurance, so I refuse to call it a health care law just as I would refuse to call a law about speeding a tire life longevity law, just because it might affect tire life doesn’t mean that is what it is about.

Now, some of you may also be aware that some people do not care for the law.

Yes, amazing isn’t it that in a country where elections are often decided by “swing” voters a sizable amount of people don’t care for some of the laws made.

Well, a few states have filed suit, a few people have too. But today I saw this news story that just jumped out at me.

Not entirely new, some we have heard(read) before, the usual claims:

  • Federal government lacks the authority to force people to buy a, or even any, given good. What would have been the point of enumerated powers if the same document gave carte blanche to do as they pleased. Secondly the principles of “Last in time” and that of avoiding absurdity would seemingly demand that the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution must have meaning and that if the commerce clause was so overpowering as to enable the Congress to do anything it so whimed it would have rendered them both meaningless, before they were even adopted.
  • Violates the right to privacy as it relates to the information of a person and their health care. A rather novel claim, right to privacy being a fairly broad area I have to say this is an interesting claim and it harkens to Roe v. Wade for support (nice inclusion too)
  • Involuntary servitude. Now this is a really cool claim. Income tax isn’t involuntary servitude because there is no debt until one has income. The health insurance laws though create an assumed debt (health insurance) which the person must pay off, or face a government mandated penalty. In short the government forces the person to work, in order to pay a debt the government created for them (allegedly) under the auspices of the commerce clause.  This is a very interesting interpretation, if it is sound, and is upheld then the government may as well create an assumed debt for every citizen at the moment of their birth for some proposed % of what it may cost the government to provide them a social security check, call it a form of insurance. And if the person has not paid of X% of it by ages 30, 40, 50 and 60 then punish them with a penalty.
  • Violate the recognized right to free association in that the government would be compelling them to associate with others in an insurance pool, regardless of their desire to join any pool. Since participation is mandatory it offers no alternative if the individual has no desire to associate with any of the many possible insurance pools.

Okay, I might buy a couple of these. Some seem very novel interpretations. Some really present things in a very interesting light and give rise to very interesting conclusions.

And it should come as no surprise I consider the mandate to be beyond the powers of the commerce clause. Forced participation in commerce, if upheld (again one could argue), under the penalty of law does mean the government can pretty much tell every person what to do. Mandatory aptitude testing in schools followed by mandatory job training and employment is not that big a stretch and would definitely have an effect on interstate commerce, so why not make that the law also?

But here on page 5, line 23 is the doozy, “violates the First Amendment of the Constitution’s prohibition again the government’s establishment of religion by establishing, promoting and compelling participation in the secular religion of Socialism.” That is an amazing claim isn’t it? How about secular capitalism then, would that be illegal also? No, really this is an amazing claim.

That is unless one reads a bit further into the complaint, page 18 line 13 actually. Seems one of the plaintiffs claim that their religious views are such that government charity would violate them, and forcing her to participate would be compelling her to join into a religion against her will.

Now, while I may be predisposed to agree with a lot of this suit, this claim is absurd. Freedom of religion does not include the ability to force your religious views on anyone else. And under this claim the only way something can be legal is if this particular religious view is forced upon everyone else. The basis for forcing that position though is a religious reason, unlike th health insurance law which originates from a secular stance (or at least has a hell of a one). Oh, and two points for them finding a way to include Obamcare into it.

In short, it should be an interesting lawsuit, they even included the loony claims on the off (REALLY OFF) chance one of them could stick if all the others failed.

Of course that is if I thought it would actually get heard, well who knows, maybe it will.


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