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States' lawsuit challenging federal health-care law can proceed

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The lawsuit filed by 20 states, including Indiana, challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health-care law can go forward on two counts, a Florida federal judge ruled Thursday.

In a 65-page order, U.S. District Senior Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, denied the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss regarding two claims: that the individual mandate and concomitant penalty exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause and violate the Ninth and 10th amendments; and the act coerces the states with respect to Medicaid by altering and expanding the program in violation of the Constitution.

A hearing on the surviving claims is scheduled for Dec. 16.

The judge dismissed the other four claims raised by the states, including that the employer mandate interferes with states’ sovereignty.

“In this order, I have not attempted to determine whether the line between Constitutional and extraconstitutional government has been crossed. That will be decided on the basis of the parties’ expected motions for summary judgment, when I will have the benefit of additional argument and all evidence in the record that may bear on the outstanding issues,” wrote Judge Vinson. “I am only saying that (with respect to two of the particular causes of action discussed above) the plaintiffs have at least stated a plausible claim that the line has been crossed.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement he’s pleased the two most important elements of the suit survived and the states hope the United States Supreme Court will take the case to rule on the issues.

“I recognize that due to the recession, many of our fellow Hoosiers struggle without health insurance. But as I have traveled our state, many Hoosiers also have told me this overreaching new federal law tramples on their ‘God-given right to be left alone,’ and they wanted my office to challenge the law in court. I am pleased that the legal work we performed on this challenge was all within our existing office budget approved in 2009, and that we have spent no additional dollars on legal fees or other costs to participate in this case,” he said.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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