Sunday, October 17, 2010

Legal Docket: Geert Vilders; The Federal Mandate to Purchase Health Insurance

Dutch Prosecutors Ask for Geert Vilders’ Acquittal

Geert Wilders, a member of the parliament of the Netherlands who is most known for resisting the Islamification of Europe, is charged with hate speech against Muslims. His prosecutors have taken the unusual step of asking the judge to acquit him, citing the fact that Gilders criticized Islam, not Muslims. The case is seen as a major test of free speech in the West versus increasing efforts by Islamists to silence critics of Islam.

Update: A Federal Judge Rejects the Obama Administration Defense in the States’ Lawsuit against the Federal Mandate to Purchase Health Insurance

The federal district judge hearing the lawsuit filed by Florida and joined by nineteen other states against the Obama Administration’s mandate to purchase health insurance has rejected the Administration’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge ruled that the Obama Administration had contradicted itself by claiming that the mandate to purchase health insurance was a tax, for which the federal government has authority, after having called it a “penalty,” for which it does not have authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which gives Congress the power to regulate only interstate commerce (in order to prevent states from imposing tariffs on goods that are traded across state lines, i.e. to establish a free trade zone within the federal Union). The mandate is part of the Administration’s federalization of health insurance. For the first time in U.S. history, it would require the purchase of a product as a condition of residing within the States of the Union, which the States participating in the lawsuit consider an abuse of federal power and a violation of state sovereignty. The judge dismissed the Obama Administration’s contradictory argument on behalf of its motion to dismiss the case as similar to “Alice in Wonderland” and allowed the case to proceed.

In another federal case brought by private citizens in Michigan, a federal judge upheld the federal mandate, but the media reports did not explain her rationale. It appeared that the judge assumed that the federal government has constitutional authority over all economic activity, instead of only interstate commerce. The state lawsuit is considered the stronger case, at least until the federalization of health insurance is complete and private citizens can prove they have actually suffered harm.

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