February 1, 2011

What’s the status of all the current ObamaCare cases?

By What’s the status of all the current ObamaCare cases?

Author: Timothy Sandefur

Update (June, 2011): See here for the June 16, 2011 update.

Today, I’ve updated my earlier memo listing all the current ObamaCare lawsuits and their current status. This is, of course, subject to change, but it’s up to date as of right now.

There are now 20 lawsuits challenging the Obama Administration’s health care law, 19 of which challenge the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate. So far there have been trial court decisions in six of these cases. Four of them are currently before courts of appeal (the Sixth, Fourth, and Ninth Circuits), but yesterday’s decision in the Florida case will be appealed shortly to the 11th Circuit. Some cases that haven’t enjoyed as much attention as the Florida or Virginia cases are the lawsuits in Missouri, Pennsylvania, and the Ninth Circuit.

If there are any errors in this, please let me know at tms@pacificlegal.org.

Update: Windows Explorer users report having problems getting the link to open. So below the fold is the text of the memo in HTML format.

=Pending cases=

[1]  State of Florida, et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 3:10-cv-91 (N.D. Fla.., Pensacola Division), Judge:  Roger Vinson, Filed:  3/23/10 (The Florida case joined by several states)

Status: Summary judgment granted for plaintiffs, Jan. 31.

Allegations and arguments:  Alleges state sovereignty and individual rights claims.  Court rejected some state sovereignty claims, but ruled for plaintiffs on individual rights claims.  The plaintiffs and defendants have now moved for summary judgment.

The plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion argues
    (1) that the commerce clause does not authorize control over inactivity.
    (2) that the necessary and proper clause does not support the requirement; Comstock allows only a modest or narrow addition to a legitimate federal program, and because the individual mandate is the central feature of PPACA, not a means to a different, legitimate end.  Citing New York v. United States and Printz, the plaintiffs contend that the necessary and proper clause was not sufficient to uphold the violations of state sovereignty in those cases, and use this not only as an argument in support of their state sovereignty allegations, but also as an analogy to support their individual mandate allegations.  The necessary and proper clause does not sustain an unprecedented expansion of federal power which overturns the federalist structure, and the mandate is not necessary because the increased costs to insurers could have been made up by a tax and direct subsidy rather than mandate to purchase.
    (3) the law violates the Dole spending clause standard by reaching the level of compulsion suggested in dicta in that case.  The all-or-nothing approach taken by the Medicaid expansion clauses are much more extreme than the moderate diminishment of funds at issue in Dole.  Also, there is no legal procedure in place for a state to withdraw participation in Medicaid, and the addition of extensive new Medicaid liabilities for states constitutes a rewriting of the terms on which the state agreed to participate in the Medicaid program.
    (4) the law coerces the states by requiring them to fund an expanded Medicaid program and barring them from reducing costs.

On Jan. 31, 2011, the court rejected arguments 3 and 4, holding that the state’s participation in the Medicaid program was voluntary and did not exceed Congress’s spending clause powers.  However, it ruled for the plaintiffs on arguments 1 and 2.

 

[2]  Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius, No. 3:10-cv-00188 (E.D. Va.), (4th Cir. Nos. 11-1057, 11-1058)
Judge:  Henry Hudson, Filed:  3/23/10

Status: Summary judgment granted for plaintiffs on Dec. 13, 2010; Appeal filed Jan. 18, 2011.

Allegations and arguments:  The complaint alleges that PPACA intrudes on state sovereignty because Virginia has enacted a statute that declares that no individual may be compelled to purchase health insurance.  The complaint alleges that the individual mandate exceeds the commerce clause authority, thereby infringing on the state’s sovereign interest in enforcing its own state law.  The court ruled that the individual mandate exceeds Congress’ Commerce Clause power, and is not supported by the Necessary and Proper Clause.  It also concluded that the mandate is not an exercise of the General Welfare Clause power, because it is not a tax.

The case is now on appeal before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The opening brief in that case is due March 28.

 

[3]  Coons, et al. v. Geithner, et al., No. 2:10-cv-01714 (D. Ariz., Phoenix Division),
Judge:  Murray Snow, Filed:  8/12/10 (The Goldwater Institute’s case)

Status:  Motion for preliminary injunction filed.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) Challenges the individual mandate on fifth amendment and ninth amendment grounds, because it interferes with the individual’s right to medical autonomy that is recognized also by state law.  It does so by forcing individuals to create an intimate relationship concerning health and medical care with non-physician intermediaries employed by health insurers.
    (2) Challenges the mandate on privacy grounds under the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments.
    (3) State officials named as clients allege that PPACA restricts their autonomy.  Arizona law recently expanded eligibility for the state’s program providing health care to the poor.  This proved too expensive, but because PPACA sets a baseline for care based on the state’s previous level of provision—i.e., it requires states to freeze in place their criteria for eligibility into state health programs—deprives the legislators of their “quasi-sovereign legislative voting power over state legislation and appropriations concerning the cost, nature, and structure of Arizona state government, compelling them to vote in the manner preferred by the federal government in the controversial area of health care policy.”  In addition, PPACA requires states to establish insurance exchanges, and if the state does not do so, it allegedly displaces the state’s sovereign powers to regulate the insurance industry.
    (4) The complaint also names federal legislators as clients, and alleges that PPACA creates an agency called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (“IPAB”) which makes policy with regard to Medicare spending; such policies are implemented unless Congress amends them by August 15 of each legislative session.  Due to the structure of the PPACA statute, these policies will reduce reimbursements to states.  PPACA’s procedural restrictions make it impracticable for future Congresses to amend IPAB’s policies or to repeal IPAB’s enabling authority.  Thus PPACA restricts Congressmen’s right to vote.
    (5) Challenges the individual mandate on commerce clause grounds.
    (6) The individual mandate penalty is not a tax, but if it were, it would be an unapportioned direct tax.
    (7) Exceeds the spending power by changing the terms of Medicaid participation and offering so much money as to make it no real choice—i.e., Dole arm-twisting.
    (8) The establishment of IPAB violates separation of powers because it is an executive agency which exercises legislative powers over which there is no meaningful congressional review.
    (9) The act violates the necessary and proper clause by depriving states of autonomy, consolidating powers in the federal government, violating separation of powers, and attempting to create an unrepealable act.
    (10) Exceeds the Tenth Amendment by intruding on state autonomy.
    (11) Alleges “non-preemption”—that the Act fails to make clear whether it was intended to supercede state’s health care freedom act declaring that individuals cannot be forced to participate in an insurance program.

Note:  The plaintiffs have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on the grounds of count 4, the non-repealability element.  No hearing date has been set.

 

[4]  Liberty University, et al. v. Timothy Geithner, et al., No. 6:10-cv-00015 (W.D. Va.), (4th Cir. No. 10-2347)
Judge:  Norman Moon, Filed:  3/23/10

Status: Dismissed Nov. 30; appeal filed Dec. 1; opening brief filed; plaintiffs’ answering brief due Feb. 18, 2011.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) Challenges the individual mandate on commerce clause, general welfare, or tax and spending powers—these are all combined in a single “ultra vires” cause of action.
    (2) Argues that the mandates exceed the Tenth Amendment.  Unusually, the complaint alleges that Liberty University and the individual plaintiffs have “exercised their individual rights reserved under the Tenth Amendment,” and that a state official plaintiff has exercised rights of their constituents under the Tenth Amendment by voting for the Virginia health care freedom act, and that these rights are violated by PPACA.
    (3) Establishment Clause—PPACA allows federal officials to determine what religions will qualify for exemptions from the mandate, thereby giving preferences to recognized religions.
    (4) Free Exercise Clause—PPACA does not provide sufficient religious exemptions for individual plaintiffs’ religious beliefs because it requires them to purchase insurance in a manner that facilitates, funds, eases, or supports abortion.
    (5) Violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—the mandate burdens plaintiffs’ religious beliefs without advancing a compelling government interest as required by RFRA.  This allegation is very cursory.
    (6) Violates the Equal Protection Clause because it establishes a series of religious exemptions for some religions but not others.
    (7) Argues that the individual mandate violates First Amendment speech and association rights by forcing a person to “formally associate privately with others who are complicit in elective abortion” against their conscience, and to subsidize insurance programs that fund abortion.
    (8) Concedes that the penalty is a tax, and alleges that it is an unapportioned direct tax.
 (9) Alleges that PPACA violates the Republican Guaranty Clause because it exceeds Congress’ constitutional authority (thus redundant of the Tenth Amendment arguments).

Note: The court found that plaintiffs had standing and the case was ripe; also that the case was not barred by the Tax Anti-Injunction Act. However, the court dismissed on the grounds that PPACA is constitutional under the commerce clause, because the decision to refrain from buying insurance is an economic choice which, via supply and demand, has an effect on the market for health care.  Congress may therefore regulate it.  The court found no need to address the Necessary and Proper Clause.  It also found that the penalties for non-compliance are not taxes, but penalties that are constitutional under the commerce clause—therefore, there was no need to discuss whether it constituted a direct, unapportioned tax.  The court also rejected the freedom of association argument, finding that the Constitution only protects the freedom of expressive association, and that the connection between the purchase of insurance and the provision of abortions is too remote to intrude on expressive association or speech.  The court rejected the religious arguments, finding first that the Free Exercise Clause does not require exemptions for religious observers, and that there was no evidence of hostility in the granting of exemptions; second, that there was no plausibility to the claim that PPACA burdens religious exercise, thus defeating the Free Exercise and RFRA arguments.  It also upheld the exemptions under rational basis scrutiny, which applied because the exemptions served a secular purpose of accommodating religious practices.  There was no problem with allowing the government to “recognize” certain faiths for exemption purposes because this was necessary to the fair operation of an exemption, and did not contemplate “excessive” entanglement with religion.

 

[5]  Matt Sissel v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 1:10-cv-01263 (D.D.C.), Judge:  Richard Leon, Filed:  7/26/10 (Pacific Legal Foundation’s case)

Status:  Motion to dismiss pending; briefing completed; argument has not yet been set.

Allegations and arguments:  Challenges individual mandate as exceeding the commerce clause.

 

[6]  Thomas More Law Center, et al. v. Barack Hussein Obama, et al., No. 2:10-cv-11156 (E.D. Mich.) (6th Cir. No. 10-2388)
Judge:  George Steeh, Filed:  3/23/10

Status:  Partially dismissed; appeal filed Oct. 22, 2010; briefing completed, oral argument not set.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) Challenges individual mandate under commerce clause,
    (2) Challenges individual mandate as an unapportioned direct tax,
    (3) Challenges individual mandate as exceeding the Tenth Amendment,
    (4) Challenges individual mandate as violating the Free Exercise Clause by forcing people to provide funding for abortions,
    (5) Challenges individual mandate as violating the Equal Protection Clause by granting religious waivers to the individual mandate in some instances but not granting exemptions to those who object to funding abortions, and also because it extends tax exemptions to certain groups on the basis of their political viewpoints
    (6) Challenges individual mandate as violation of due process clause, but does not explain how.

Notes:  The trial court has dismissed the commerce clause and taxing power arguments.  It found that plaintiffs had standing due to the fact that they must now make financial arrangements for the future purchase of health insurance in 2014.  It also rejected the government’s Anti-Tax Injunction Act argument because the government has not attempted to collect or assess any tax.  The court found that the Supreme Court “has expanded the reach of the commerce clause to reach purely local, non-commercial activity” if it is integral to a broader scheme for legitimately regulating interstate commerce.  Although the activity/inactivity distinction “arguably presents an issue of first impression,” the court found that “by choosing to forego insurance, plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now,” and that this decision is a commercial act akin to paying a ticket by credit card rather than by check.  This is subject to commerce clause power, and thus the individual mandate is constitutional.  “While plaintiffs describe the Commerce Clause power as reaching economic activity, the government’s characterization of the Commerce Clause reaching economic decisions is more accurate.”  The court also rejected the direct taxes argument, in a passage that is clearly dictum.  Prior to appealing, the parties stipulated to dismiss without prejudice all but the commerce clause and direct taxation arguments; those will be the only issues argued on appeal.

 

[7]  U.S. Citizen’s Association, et al. v. Barack Obama, et al., No. 5:10-cv-01065 (N.D. Ohio), Judge:  David Dowd, Filed:  5/12/10

Status:  Motion to dismiss partially denied, partially granted, on Nov. 22; motion for summary judgment filed Jan. 24, 2011.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) individual mandate exceeds commerce clause authority,
    (2) violates freedom of association because it requires persons to associate with and finance insurance providers against their will and requires plaintiffs to associate with doctors who cover or provide medical procedures plaintiffs disagree with,
    (3) violates due process clause because it requires plaintiffs to provide medical information to private insurers and to pay insurers for coverage for types of medical treatment they may not believe in, and
    (4) violates the right to privacy because it requires disclosure of private medical information to private insurance companies.

Note:  Relying heavily on the Florida decision, the district court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss on standing, ripeness, and Anti-Tax Injunction Act grounds.  It also denied the motion to dismiss on the merits of the commerce clause, finding that the court needed time for further consideration.  The court did dismiss counts 2, 3, and 4 of the complaint on the merits, but did not elaborate on the reasons therefor.

 

[8]  Ryan Walters, et al. v. Eric Holder Jr., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00076 (S.D. Miss.),
Judge:  Keith Starrett, Filed:  4/2/10, amended complaint filed 9/16/10

Status:  Opposition to motion to dismiss filed. Briefing completed, no oral argument date set.

Allegations and arguments:  Plaintiffs are individuals as well as the lieutenant governor, who sues only in his individual capacity.  The complaint is a purported class action challenging individual mandate under the commerce clause and the due process clause, the latter on the grounds that it intrudes on personal decisions.  It also alleges that the mandate is an unapportioned capitation tax.  The amended complaint added causes of action that the mandate regulates the state’s own compensation of its employees in violation of state sovereignty.

 

[9]  Peter Kinder, et al. v. U.S. Department of the Treasury, No. 1:2010-cv-00101 (E.D. Mo., Southern Division), Judge:  Rodney Sippel, Filed:  7/7/10, amended complaint filed 8/18/10

Status: Motion to dismiss filed Jan. 18; opposition filed Jan. 25.

Allegations and arguments:  Plaintiffs include the lieutenant governor and individual plaintiffs, but is not brought on behalf of the State of Missouri or any agency.  Plaintiffs include elderly Medicare recipients, a young person with only catastrophic coverage, and a mother of an autistic child.  This latter point is relevant because Missouri recently enacted a law requiring private health insurance companies to cover behavior therapy for children with autism.  The complaint alleges:

    (1) commandeering of state employees in violation of state sovereignty, because section 1341 requires states to adopt and maintain a reinsurance program, and section 1513 requires states to provide a qualified health benefit plan to pay penalties to the Treasury Department.  This may present a standing problem, since the state is not a party and the complaint makes clear that the lieutenant governor does not appear on behalf of the state.
    (2) commandeering on the grounds that section 1513 mandates how the state may compensate its officers.  This allegation relies heavily on Gregory v. Ashcroft, and appears to be unique among the cases.
    (3) a tax on governments:  the state alleges that sections 1311(d)(3)(B)(ii) and 10104(e)(1) of PPACA directly tax the State of Missouri in violation of immunity described in South Carolina v. Baker (1988).  It allegedly does so because it requires the state to pay the IRS on behalf of any individual who is eligible for a state tax credit that defrays costs or benefits over and above those provided by PPACA.  Because Missouri requires insurers to provide benefits for, e.g., autistic children, which are not provided under PPACA, the state is required to pay to the IRS the difference between the PPACA mandated benefits and the higher benefits that the individual receives that would otherwise be taxable.  This is a unique allegation.
    (4) in what appears to be a recharacterization of allegation number 3, the state argues that PPACA violates the Guaranty Clause because under state law (the “Hancock Amendment”), the state may not tax Missouri citizens’ income above a certain percentage of the state GDP, and is required to provide a balanced budget; PPACA requires states to accept into the Medicaid program about 465,000 persons who were previously excluded under state law.  This allegedly requires taxpayers of Missouri to provide coverage for a much larger class of citizens.  Although a federal subsidy defrays these costs, this subsidy expires in 2020, and covers only benefits, not administrative costs.  This mandate violates state law under the Hancock and balanced budget requirements, and therefore violates the Guaranty Clause.
    (5) Commerce clause challenge.  Although plaintiff Samantha Hill has catastrophic coverage, the complaint alleges that section 1302(e) only allows persons to satisfy the mandate on this basis if that person is under 30 and if her premium payment is more than 8% of household income.  All other persons are required to have minimum essential coverage.  Thus PPACA requires her to buy insurance that covers ambulatory patient services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, laboratory services, and pediatric care.
    (6) Direct tax.  The complaint concedes that the penalties for failing to maintain coverage are taxes, and alleges that they are unapportioned direct taxes.
    (7) Equal protection, due process, and privileges or immunities clauses of the fourteenth amendment.  Plaintiffs who are participating in Medicare Advantage allege that section 3201 of PPACA reduces Medicare Advantage coverage by freezing payments at 2010 levels, and then reducing reimbursements for Medicare supplemental coverage reimbursements at too low a rate.  Certain counties in Florida are specifically exempted from this process.  This is alleged to violate the due process and equal protection clauses because it draws distinctions between citizens without a rational basis, and because it burdens persons who would otherwise move out of those Florida counties (along the lines of Saenz v. Roe).
    (8) Due process and free speech rights.  The complaint alleges that doctors are permitted or required to resolve questions of medical care within the boundaries of appropriate treatment as determined by federal officials under section 4003 of PPACA, and individuals are required to certify that they have obtained the legally mandated insurance coverage.  The complaint alleges that this intrudes on doctor-patient confidentiality.
    (9) Due process.  The complaint alleges that PPACA violates the due process clause because the newly enacted Missouri Healthcare Freedom Act provides that no person shall be compelled by law to participate in any healthcare system.

 

[10]  Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Inc. v. Sebelius, et al.,
No. 1:10-cv-00499, (D.D.C), Filed:  3/26/10, amended complaint filed Sept. 13

Status:  Motion to dismiss denied as moot Jan. 13, 2011.  Answer to complaint due Feb. 10, 2011.

Allegations and arguments:  This is an unusual case combining a constitutional challenge to PPACA with various administrative challenges to newly enacted regulations.  Putting aside the administrative matters, the complaint alleges that the employer and individual mandates exceed Congress’ commerce clause authority and constitute a regulatory taking without just compensation (by raising the cost of insurance premiums).  In response, the government argues that the takings claim is barred by the Tucker Act, and makes a strong argument against the allegation that the penalty is a direct or capitation tax.

 

[11]  Mead, et al. v. Holder, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00950 (D.D.C.), Judge:  Gladys Kessler,
Filed:  6/9/10 (ACLJ’s case)

Status:  Motion to dismiss pending.  Hearing held Jan. 31, 2011.

Allegations and arguments: (1) challenges individual mandate on commerce clause grounds; and (2) individual mandate violates Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it burdens rights of religious plaintiffs without being least restrictive means or advancing compelling interest.   Clients do not qualify for religious exemptions because they are not members of recognized religious group, but believe in faith healing.

 

[12]  Baldwin, et al. v. Sebelius, et al., No. 3:10-cv-01033 (S.D. Cal.) (9th Cir. No. 10-56374)
Judge:  Dana M. Sabraw, Filed:  5/14/10 (Pacific Justice Institute’s case)

Status:  Dismissed; cert. denied; appeal now pending in Ninth Circuit; opening brief filed Dec. 3, 2010; Answering brief filed Jan. 27, 2011.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) the individual mandate exceeds the commerce clause.
    (2) the penalty provision makes it a bill for raising revenue and therefore that PPACA violates the “originate in the house” clause.
    (3) by passing the act, “Congress effectively expanded the Enumerated Powers” and therefore PPACA “constitutes an amendment to the Constitution made in direct contravention of the proper amendment procedure set forth in Article V.”
    (4) The penalty is an unapportioned capitation tax.
    (5) Section 1552 of PPACA requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to list on the internet all authorities provided to the Secretary under the Act.  This was not complied with.
    (6) Violation of privacy rights because individuals are deprived of the right to be sole decision-maker about health insurance needs.
    (7) Violation of physician-patient privilege because it requires individuals to disclose a broad range of private medical information to government and private entities.
    (8) Violation of the equal protection clause because PPACA creates various Offices of Women’s Health, but no Offices of Men’s Health
    (9) Asserts that PPACA provides public funding for abortion, but does not identify what law or constitutional provision is thereby violated.

Note:  The trial court dismissed on standing grounds, finding that (a) PJI—which sued in its own name—did not employ enough people to be subject to the employer mandate, and (b) the individual mandate would come into effect only in 2014, and it was impossible to know if the individual plaintiff would be subject to the mandate at that time.  The court also dismissed several causes of action as simply airing generalized political grievances or failing to state specific injuries.
    After dismissal, plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit (No. 10-56374).  But immediately after receiving the briefing schedule from the Court of Appeals, the plaintiffs filed a petition for certiorari directly to the Supreme Court.  It is unclear why this petition was filed, but it was denied as moot on Nov. 8.  The case is therefore pending in the Ninth Circuit.

 

[13]  Physician Hospitals of America, et al. v. Sebelius, No. 6:10-cv-00277 (E.D. Tex.),
Judge:  Michael Schneider, Filed:  6/3/10

Status: Motion for summary judgment pending.

Allegations and arguments:  An unusual case that alleges that a specific provision of PPACA violates rights of physician-owned hospitals.  The law restricts the ownership of hospitals by physicians, and the expansion of hospitals owned by physicians, unless they meet certain new legal requirements.  These requirements are vague and challenged as violations of the due process and takings clauses.  This case does not challenge the individual or employer mandates.

 

[14]  Calvey, et al. v. Obama, et al., No. 5:10-cv-00353 (W.D. Okla.), Judge:  David L. Russell, Filed:  4/7/10

Status:  Pending.  No responsive pleading filed yet.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) individual mandate exceeds commerce clause authority;
    (2) penalty constitutes unapportioned direct tax;
    (3) individual mandate violates Tenth Amendment;
    (4) by forcing people to contributing to the funding of abortion, PPACA violates Free Exercise Clause;
    (5) by exempting some religious believers from the mandate, but forcing others to contribute to funding abortions despite their religious objections, PPACA violates the Equal Protection Clause; also violates the Equal Protection Clause because it funds certain groups, including labor unions, instead of others;
    (6) individual mandate violates due process clause; and
 (7) violation of right to privacy because it requires disclosure of confidential medical information to p   rivate parties.

 

[15]  New Jersey Physicians Inc., et al, v. Obama, et al., No. 2:10-cv-01489 (D.N.J.),
Judge:  Susan D. Wigenton, Filed:  3/24/10

Status: Dismissed Dec. 8, 2010.

Allegations and arguments:
    (1) Individual mandate violates commerce clause;
    (2) is an unapportioned direct tax; and
    (3) creates a system of socialized medicine that is not necessary and proper, and undermines and compromises state sovereignty.

The court dismissed the case on standing grounds, finding that the individual plaintiff had not alleged a present injury, but a speculative future injury.  It distinguished the Virginia and Florida cases on the grounds that individual plaintiffs in those cases alleged a present injury, while plaintiffs in this case alleged speculative future harm.  The court also dismissed the employer-plaintiff on similar grounds, and rejected the New Jersey Physicians Association’s standing because no individual member of the Association was shown to have standing.

 

[16]  Independent American Party of Nevada, et al. v. Obama, et al., No. 2:10-cv-01477 (D. Nev., Las Vegas), Judge:  Robert Johnston, Filed:  8/31/10

Status: Court has issued notice of intent to dismiss on Feb. 25 if no proof of service is filed.

Allegations and arguments:  Combines unorthordox arguments—e.g., that Marxism is a religion, and since PPACA imposes Marxism, it violates the Establishment Clause—with challenges to individual mandate on commerce clause, privacy, due process, freedom of association, Tenth Amendment, and capitation tax grounds; challenges to exemptions on equal protection grounds, and free exercise and RFRA grounds, which appear to be based on the Marxism-as-religion argument.  Also that the mandate violates the Thirteenth Amendment because it compels people to work to pay for insurance.

 

[17]  Bellow v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00165 (E.D. Tex.), Judge:  Keith F. Giblin, Filed:  3/24/10

Status: Motion to dismiss pending; motion for summary judgment filed; motion to stay summary judgment proceedings filed.

Allegations and arguments:  Pro se case challenging individual mandate as exceeding commerce clause and Tenth Amendment authority, and violating Fourth Amendment right to privacy because it requires disclosure of private medical information.  On the same day that the defendants filed their reply to the opposition to the motion to dismiss, plaintiff filed a three-page motion for summary judgment, simply citing to the Virginia decision.  Defendants have asked the court to stay summary judgment proceedings pending ruling on the motion to dismiss.

 

[18]  Goudy-Bachman, et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00763 (M.D. Penn.), Judge:  Christopher C. Conner, Filed:  4/9/10

Status:  Motion to dismiss denied on Jan. 24, 2011.

Allegations and arguments:  Individual mandate exceeds commerce clause authority.  On Jan. 24, the court issued an opinion rejecting the government’s procedural arguments for dismissal, finding that individual plaintiffs had stated sufficient present injuries to proceed, that the case was ripe, and that the Tax Anti-Injunction Act did not apply because the mandate is not a tax.  The court did not address the merits of the plaintiffs’ commerce clause arguments.

 

[19]  Peterson v. USA, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00170 (D.N.H.), Judge:  Joseph N. Laplante,
Filed:  5/6/10, second amended complaint filed Dec. 20, 2010.

Status: Hearing on motion to dismiss set for Feb. 2, 2011, postponed due to weather.

Allegations and arguments:  Pro se complaint basically argues that PPACA exceeds the commerce clause and necessary and proper clause, as well as the takings clause, the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV, and various other provisions.

 

[20]  Purpura, et al. v. Sebelius, et al., No. 3:10-cv-04814 (D.N.J.), Judge: Freda L. Wolfson, Filed:  9/20/10

Status: Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and defendant’s motion to dismiss pending. 

Allegations and arguments:  This is a frivolous pro se case making a large number of allegations, including that President Obama was not born in the United States.

=Cases no longer live=

[21]  Burlsworth, et al. v. United States Department of Justice, et al., No. 4:10-cv-00258 (E.D. Ark.), Judge:  Susan Webber Wright, Filed:  4/27/10

Status:  Voluntarily dismissed without prejudice (9/8/10)

Challenge to individual mandate on commerce clause and 10th amendment grounds.  Attempted class action lawsuit, but was voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs.

 

[22]  Anthony Shreeve, et al. v. Barack Obama, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00071 (E.D. Tenn.),
Judge:  Curtis Collier, Filed:  4/8/10, amended complaint filed July 27, 2010

Status:  Dismissed Nov. 4, 2010.

This absurd lawsuit names some 278 pages worth of persons as plaintiffs.  Filed by Tea Party Christians member and patent attorney Van Irion, the complaint makes other absurd arguments: e.g., alleging that President Obama, Rep. Pelosi, and others had “abused their authority” in unspecified ways, had violated the Tenth Amendment—on the unelaborated theory that “nothing in the Constitution grants the Federal Government authority to regulate health care”—and had violated their oaths of office to defend the Constitution.  Noting that the plaintiffs had not even alleged that they would be compelled to buy insurance, the District Court dismissed.

 

[23]  Judicial Watch Inc. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, No. 1:10-cv-00443 (D.D.C.), Judge:  Ellen Huvelle, Filed:  3/17/10

Status:  Dismissed with prejudice by stipulation (7/14/10).

Argued violations of Freedom of Information Act on the grounds that the government failed to provide documents about alleged secret negotiations with unions and other private lobbyists prior to the enactment of PPACA.  Did not challenge any substantive provision of PPACA.  The government answered by saying that it found no documents responsive to the plaintiffs’ request.  The case was dismissed by stipulation.

 

[24]  Fountain Hills Tea Party Patriots L.L.C. v. Sebelius, et al., No. 2:10-cv-00893 (D. Ariz., Phoenix Division), Judge:  David K. Duncan, Filed:  4/22/10

Status:  Voluntarily dismissed, 6/16/10.

Allegations and arguments:  Frivolous argument that PPACA exceeded Congress’ power under the preamble “as there are no ‘liberties’ in the Act.”

Timothy Sandefur
Pacific Legal Foundation

P.S.: Special thanks to the Goldwater Institute for its helpful website monitoring all of the pending cases.

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