The Other McCain

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4th Circuit Court To Virginia: If We Say You Lack Standing, We Can Ignore You

Posted on | September 8, 2011 | 23 Comments

by Smitty (via Lisa Graas)

I don’t want to get too upset about this horrendous abortion of a legal opinion handed down from the 4th Circle of Hell, emphasis mine:

The decision is no surprise given the stacked nature of the panel, as computers at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that randomly selected the panel of three judges from the appeals court to conduct oral hearings on the legal debate surrounding the law picked three judges from a evenly-divided court who are all Democrats. All three judges listening to two legal challenges were appointed by Democrats — Judge Diana Motz, the senior member of the panel, is a Clinton appointee while Judges Andre Davis and James Wynn were appointed by Obama.

The three judges dismissed the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the national health care law’s individual mandate by saying the state lacked the standing to sue. As a result of the decision, the panel did not delve into the merits of the case itself and whether the Obama administration has the Constitutional ability to compel citizens to purchase health care, which could pay for abortions with taxpayer funds and include rationing. The judges disagreed with Virginia’s contention that it was an injured party because it passed a law before Obamacare making it so Virginia residents are not required to purchase health care insurance.

Thanks, judiciary, for kneecapping my state’s efforts to protect my liberty from a rapacious federal government. You craven judges draw much vacuum. Thankfully, the Cooch responds, via email:

RICHMOND, VA (September 8, 2011)- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responded today to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Virginia’s lawsuit against the federal government’s health care reform act.

“Obviously, we are disappointed in the ruling. Our disappointment not only stems from the fact that the court ruled against us, but also that the court did not even reach the merits on the key question of Virginia’s lawsuit-whether Congress has a power never before recognized in American history: the power to force one citizen to purchase a good or service from another citizen,” said Cuccinelli.

In summarizing the ruling, Cuccinelli noted that, by resting its decision on an alleged lack of standing by the commonwealth to even bring its lawsuit, the court dismissed Virginia’s claimed injury as illusory.

“Contrary to the court’s suggestion, this suit has always been about vindicating the power of the Virginia General Assembly to legislate about a subject that has historically been viewed as falling within the areas the Constitution left to the states. Health, safety, and welfare issues have long been recognized as being part of the powers reserved to the states by the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said.

Cuccinelli noted that the court’s stated reasons placed the ruling’s reasoning at odds with constitutional design. “In rejecting Virginia’s right to bring the action, the court said that allowing such suits would allow the states to serve as ‘roving constitutional watchdogs.’ This was exactly a role that the Founding Fathers planned for the states to have. As James Madison wrote, under the Constitution, ‘the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments…Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments [state and federal] will control each other…'”

Cuccinelli continued, “Not only does the court’s opinion reject the role of the states envisioned by the Constitution, it dismisses an act of the Virginia General Assembly-the Health Care Freedom Act-as a mere pretense or pretext. It is unfortunate that the court would be so dismissive of a piece of legislation that passed both houses of a divided legislature by overwhelming margins with broad, bipartisan support.”

Cuccinelli vowed to appeal the court’s ruling.

Diana, Andre, James: may the Almighty have mercy on you.

Update: More at Legal Insurrection and Ace of Spades.


23 Responses to “4th Circuit Court To Virginia: If We Say You Lack Standing, We Can Ignore You”

  1. Matt Lewis
    September 8th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    …such suits would allow the states to serve as ‘roving constitutional watchdogs.’

    Love it.  I’ll take 57 of them.

  2. CalMark
    September 8th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

    Funny,  how the ACLU and every other stinking leftist organization has standing to sue whomever, whenever, and wherever they want. 

    Yet fewer and fewer people on our side have the right to sue about things that directly affect them.  So say the LEftist judges.

    This is how tyranny looks.

  3. dad29
    September 8th, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    I would suggest that the prospective harms done to Virginia’s (and every other State’s) Medicaid program should be considered.  ALL States will be taking a hit due to ObozoCare under the revamped Medicaid formulas.

  4. Dell Hill
    September 8th, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    I have the distinct feeling that SCOTUS just may disagree with this ruling and say so in words that even a Democrat can understand.  Stacking courts isn’t rocket science, but having ones name on this decision is a guarantee of humiliation in case law annals.  To suggest that the states have no standing is beyond unconstituional…it’s criminal.  The court has said that we, the people, no longer have redress against the government.  It’s all coming to a head, folks.  Stock up on popcorn.

  5. McGehee
    September 8th, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

    Virginia will undoubtedly insist on an en banc hearing, though the full court being evenly split doesn’t bode well.

  6. Adjoran
    September 8th, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    All those people who vote for third party losers or stay at home because the Republican nominee isn’t “pure” enough to suit them should take note:  elections matter, and judicial appointments are for life.

    On this particular issue, it will end up at SCOTUS anyway so the setback isn’t devastating.  But there are hundreds of cases every year where Democratic-appointed judges wreak havoc with justice and the Constitution.  They can do it because they are there.  Most of the time, they are there because a Democrat appointed them.

  7. DaveO
    September 8th, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

    Personnel is policy. 2 of the judges were Obama appointees. Looking at how he’s already stacked the DOJ with fellow travelers, and his appointments to judgeships (another area of double standard our GOP craven caves on), and the current 5-4 anti-Constitution make-up of the SCOTUS, Obamacare is here to stay.

    Until the PRC collects.

  8. Joe
    September 8th, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    Still, to argue standing (for a state!) on an issue like this is a stretch for any honest liberal (are there any left in Virginia?). 

  9. Bob Belvedere
    September 8th, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    ‘Honest liberal’, what’s that?

    If you are a Leftist, you are either someone who knows exactly what you’re doing or you’re a dupe/useful idiot of the former.

  10. Bob Belvedere
    September 8th, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    …or the RINO [the majority of Mitt’s appointments in Massachusetts are Bolshes in suits].

    Well put.

  11. Anonymous
    September 8th, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    I’ve never understood why the Justice Department doesn’t challenge standing every time the ACLU sues on behalf of terrorists (a foreign power) or when the enviro wackos sue to stop us from using natural resources.
    And another thing, the long term insurance against enviro nitwits derailing our prosperity  in the future would be to give most federally owned lands to the states with a provision that the federal government gets a cut of the proceeds when the leases are sold. This would be a social/economic justice move to make up for a century of discrimination against the western states who’ve been crushed by the “disparity” in the percentage of lands held in “bondage” within states that received their “right” to be States later than others. No land justice for western states no peace!

  12. Anonymous
    September 8th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    I’ve read the articles at ACEs and I get the ruling but don’t agree with the argument but if the states don’t have the right to protect their citizens from harm ie having their constitutional rights violated who does. This is basically asserting that only the three branches of the federal government have the authority to “question” what is harm. When the court ruled against SC in the state nullification case they ruled that SC didn’t have the power of nullification. They didn’t rule that SC lacked the right to argue their case.

  13. Mfm Droid4site Reg
    September 8th, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    Yeah, I read alot of surprise out there on various Libertarian and Conservative sites. How can those people be surprised? The “no standing” is used when a suit need to be dissappeared.

    Take, for example, the “Prez.Stinky’s not a NBC” suit. Here was a chance to clarify, in law (as apposed to using supporting docs such as The Federalist Papers”, letters betwixt the crafters of our Constitution, etc. Whether you believe Stinky is a Natural Born Citizen, or isn’t because of birthplace or dual citizenships, to claim that a Citizen has no standing is asinine.

    This emination of Constitutional thought – when it has long been acknowledged that Citizens are the final judges, and the enforcement body of the Constitution… under the mechanism that the people who have lent their power to the government through that document have the final say on its use. In other words, WE employ the Federal Government, the States acting as Agent. But, what to do if the Agent screws up? The employer goes and fixes it. To say that I can’t question the actions of my Agent is nonsense. That you cannot call the government to account for not obeying the Constitution is incomprehensible.

    I saw this type of outcome with the NBC dispute based on the way the Progies work – when they find something that lets them rob you blind they go full tilt on it. They did that with smoking and seatbelts. Everyone’s attitude with the smoking ban & tobacco lawsuits was either “doesn’t affect me” or “Good! Make them stop smoking, I don’t like it!”… with the seatbelts it was minding your neighbors’ business– for his own good, of course! Now see! The Progies have generalized the method to control everything and YOU *WILL* BUY STINKYCARE! — for your own good, ofcourse!

    When they started throwing out the NBC suits, on the basis of no standing, AND even many “Conservatives” were in mocking agreement with the specious reason, I knew at that point that when the time was ripe the Progies would generalize this tool. It is too easy and bulletproof to waste.

    Expect the “No Standing” tactic to be increasingly common as a judgment from now on.

  14. Matt Lewis
    September 8th, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    Not to defend terrorists, and IANAL, but given that the suing terrorists are in US custody, it seems like they would have standing in the court for matters related to their detention.

    Those cases should generally be tossed or lost for more substantive reasons than standing.

  15. Matt Lewis
    September 8th, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

    Closest to an “honest liberal” I can think of is Mickey Kaus.  He’s generally got decent reasoning, but a few of his starting principles are, uh, skewed.  So he recognizes that 2+2=4, and is willing to say so, but he thinks that first two should really be a 3.  Or something.

  16. Anonymous
    September 8th, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

    The terrorists lack standing to challenge our processes because they are unlawful combatants, the ACLU cannot assume the cloak their client never had. Can you imagine the Nurmberg defendants being given standing to challenge that court’s authority based on their rights under the US constitution?

  17. Anonymous
    September 8th, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    Smitty, you’re on a tear.  I especially love the Inferno reference.  Sic ’em!

    Paul Hsieh has a hysterical take on Obamacare as a jobs model:

  18. Anonymous
    September 9th, 2011 @ 1:36 am

    Some tried that. Got hanged anyway.

  19. Anonymous
    September 9th, 2011 @ 1:37 am

    What caliber popcorn you have in mind there, Dell? I’m partial to the NATO 5.56 variety, myself. 😉

  20. Anonymous
    September 9th, 2011 @ 2:28 am

    Sounds like precedent to me.

  21. Anonymous
    September 9th, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    I like something in 7.62mm, and I’ve got about 4 digits worth around, and multiple poppers.

  22. Anonymous
    September 9th, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    Any appointment is for as long as no one is willing to pay the price to take the appointee out. That’s the point of the Second Amendment in a nutshell. The remedy for tyranny is always available, if a citizen is willing to pay the price.

  23. Bob Belvedere
    September 9th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    I think you’re right, but the fact that he still espouses an alien philosophy [ie: Leftism] despite his decency, classifies him as a Dupe, in my opinion.