Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius – Challenge to Constitutionality of Health Care Commences

March 23rd, 2010

Ken Cucinelli, the AG of Virginia just filed this complaint in the case of Commonwealth v. Sebelius.

From the Fact section:

Paragraph 12:  Congress lacks the political will to fund comprehensive health care in this way because taxes above those already provided in (the legislation) would produce too much opposition.

Paragraph 13: The alternative, which was also a centerpiece of the failed Clinton administration health care proposal, is to fund universal health care in part by making healthy young adults and other rationally uninsured individuals cross-subsidize older and less healthy citizens.

From Count 1 – Commerce Clause:

Paragraph 17:  “The status of being a citizen of Virginia is not a channel of interstate commerce; nor a person or thing in interstate commerce; nor is it an activity arising out of or connected with a commercial transaction. Instead, the status arises from an absence of commerce, not from some sort of economic endeavor, and it is not even a non-economic activity affecting interstate commerce. It is entirely passive.”

Paragraph 18:  The Commerce Clause authority has never been held to “require citizens to buy goods or services. To depart from that history to permit the national government to require the purchase of goods or services would deprive the Commerce Clause of any effective limits contrary to Lopez and Morrison and would create powers indistinguishable from a general police power in total derogation of our constitutional scheme of enumerated powers.”

Paragraph 19: “Requiring citizen-to-citizen subsidy or redistribution is contrary to the foundational assumptions of the constitutional compact [under the Necessary and Proper Clause].”

And in an epic citation, they cite Calder v. Bull (1798)

An ACT of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority. The obligation of a law in governments established on express compact, and on republican principles, must be determined by the nature of the power, on which it is founded. A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. A law that punished a citizen for an innocent action, or, in other words, for an act, which, when done, was in violation of no existing law; a law that destroys, or impairs, the lawful private contracts of citizens; a law that makes a man a Judge in his own cause; or a law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with SUCH powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it.

I love this quote, and used it as the introduction to my Olech article.

The complaint concludes:

“because the individual mandate exceeds the enumerated powers conferred upon Congress. Because the individual mandate is an essential, non-severable provision, the entire act is likewise invalid.”

I am writing up on op-ed on this complaint, and will have more commentary shortly.