Monday, August 02, 2010

Virginia v. Sebelius: Dismissal Denied!

Today the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied the Government's Motion to Dismiss the Virginia Attorney General's challenge to Obamacare.

In his decision. Judge Henry E. Hudson found:
  • Virginia has standing to bring the challenge;
  • The challenge is ripe for adjudication;
  • Referring to the individual purchase mandate, "Never before has the Commerce Clause and associated Necessary and Proper Clause been extended this far" and the complaint "advances a plausible claim with an arguable legal basis."
The court concluded as follows:
While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate--and tax--a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce. Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue. No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce. Given the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side's position, this Court cannot conclude at this stage that the Complaint fails to state a cause of action. fn.10

The Secretary's Motion to Dismiss will therefore be denied. Resolution of the controlling issues in this case must await a hearing on the merits.

Footnote 10: "11 is well-established that defendants bear the burden of proving that plaintiffs' claims fail as a matter of law." Bennelt v.MIS C0rp., 607 F.3d 1076, 1091 (6th Cir. 2010). "Under Rule 12(b)(6), the party moving for dismissal has the burden of proving that no claim has been stated." James Wm. Moore, et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 12.34(1 )(a) (3d ed. 2010).
It is not clear to me what facts need to be tried, but a court cannot decide an entire case on a motion to dismiss. I expect that the case will be decided on motions for summary judgment, which are motions that may allow a decision if there is no issue of any genuine material fact for trial. Trials are for deciding facts. deciding the law or application of agreed facts to the law is generally decided on motions.

Virginia v. Sebelius - Opinion Denying Motion to Dismiss

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