Sen. Chris McDaniel Files Suit Against Healthcare Legislation

We have heard a lot about the Haley Barbour/ Jim Hood battle over the healthcare lawsuit, but some Mississippians are taking matters into their own hands. Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) and the law firm of Hortman, Harlow, Bassi, Robinson & McDaniel, PLLC filed a lawsuit yesterday against Attorney General Eric Holder and several federal agencies regarding the new healthcare legislation.

The press release and petition are below.

A Petition for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief was filed today by Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel and the law firm of Hortman Harlow Bassi Robinson & McDaniel, PLLC in conjunction with Attorney Doug Lee of the Lee Law Firm against United States Attorney General Eric Holder and a number of federal agencies on the issue of Nationalized Healthcare.

Specifically, a Rule 23 injunctive class action was filed on behalf of three Mississippi Plaintiffs and “all others similarly situated” seeking a declaration that the Healthcare Act’s individual mandate requiring them to purchase health insurance from an insurance company is a violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The lawsuit was filed in the Hattiesburg division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Named as defendants in the suit are Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States; the United States Department of Health and Human Services; Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services; the United States Department of the Treasury; Tim Geithner, Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury; the United States Department of Labor and Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of the United States Department of Labor.

The lawsuit seeks a determination that certain provisions of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” H.R. 3590, as applied to Plaintiffs and the class, violate the United States Constitution by mandating American citizens to purchase health insurance, since the government does not have the authority to require citizens to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.

Senator McDaniel stated “a mandate to enter into a contract with an insurance company would be the first use of the Commerce Clause to universally regulate what can only be classified as inactivity,” and added “If this legal precedent is established, Congress would have the unlimited power to regulate, prohibit, or mandate any or all activities in the United States. Such a doctrine would abolish any limit on federal power and alter the fundamental relationship of the federal government to the states and the people.”

According to the Petition filed in Federal Court, “The Act represents an unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of individuals by mandating that all citizens and legal residents of the United States have qualifying healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. By imposing such a mandate, the Act exceeds the powers of the United States Government under Article I of the Constitution and violates the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.”

The lawsuit also charges that the tax penalty required under the Act, which must be paid by uninsured citizens and residents, constitutes an unlawful capitation or direct tax, in violation of Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution of the United States.

The suit likewise challenges federal authority to regulate the private lives of Mississippians under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

At least fourteen states have filed lawsuits against the healthcare bill with more expected to follow. Mississippi’s Attorney General, Jim Hood, has been requested to file suit on behalf of the State of Mississippi by Governor Haley Barbour and has stated that he is having the matter researched to determine his decision on whether to honor the request. Governor Barbour has stated that he will file suit on behalf of the state if the Attorney General refuses to file on behalf of Mississippi.

A majority of the states have introduced measures to stop individual mandates on health care. Many State Attorney Generals have threatened to sue if current federal reform proposals are passed into law. State legislators across the country are considering various bills that would allow their state to opt out of key provisions of the Healthcare Bill or provide state voters a chance at the ballot box to reject nationalized health care in their state.

But as of Friday afternoon, Mississippi is already in the fight.

By filing a federal class action, once the class is certified, then every Mississippian who falls under the act will have their rights and obligations adjudicated by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Majority in MS
4/5/10