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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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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