Can ObamaCare’s insurance mandate survive a court challenge? A Virginia legislator intends to find out

Written by Dan Calabrese Source: Courtesy of Northstar National

Assuming ObamaCare actually becomes law, what happens when its onerous health insurance mandate – complete with the threat of fines and prison time if you don’t buy insurance deemed acceptable by the federal government – is tested?

You file your tax return. You fail to offer proof that you have a policy that puts you in compliance with the law. The IRS tries to penalize you, possibly by garnishing your state tax refund.

If you live in Virginia, you might have the commonwealth in your corner. And that’s not only because the primary sponsor of a bill to protect taxpayers believes they deserve the protection.

It’s also because he’s opening to provoke a test case that could get ObamaCare thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bob Marshall, a Republican delegate to the legislature from the city of Manassas, has submitted a bill that reads as follows:

No law shall restrict a person’s natural right and power of contract to secure the blessings of liberty to choose private health care systems or private plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, nor shall any law impose a penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, to decline or to contract for health care coverage or to participate in any particular health care system or plan, except as required by a court where an individual or entity is a named party in a judicial dispute. Nothing herein shall be construed to expand, limit or otherwise modify any determination of law regarding what constitutes lawful medical services within the Commonwealth.

In other words, the Commonwealth of Virginia will not recognize any law that requires a resident to enter into a health insurance contract not of his or her choosing. In any situation that would require the involvement of the Commonwealth in enforcing such a requirement – and there would surely be many – Virginia won’t play ball. Not only that, but it will go to court to defend its right not to do so.

Marshall makes no bones about the fact that he is proposing this legislation for the purpose of provoking a series of test cases. The premise for his action is that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to require anyone to buy health insurance. What’s more, he says one of the 60 senators who voted for ObamaCare admitted as much.

“At the end of a 10-minute conversation, he said, ‘You’re probably right that we don’t have the authority to do the mandates, but that’s not my primary concern,’” Marshall said.

Because hey, who cares about a little thing like constitutional authority?

Marshall does.

“An oath is when you swear before God that you will do or won’t do certain things,” Marshall said. “So that’s apparently second fiddle at this point. When you’re so slipshod about the means and the ends, that doesn’t bode well for our democracy.”

Can the bill pass? Marshall is confident it will pass the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, but is less confident about the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. And with no election scheduled until 2011, there isn’t going to be an opportunity to change that configuration any time soon.

But the seed that’s sown in Virginia may be harvested elsewhere. Marshall said legislators in at least four other states – North Carolina, New York, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania – have contacted him to learn about the bill, and are considering introducing similar bills in their own states.

Somewhere along the line, you have to believe a state is going to step up and refuse to play ball with ObamaCare’s most constitutionally egregious provisions. Whether this ultimately leads to a Supreme Court showdown that could put the whole thing in jeopardy is hard to predict at this point, but at least we can say that federalism and our the system of checks and balances aren’t dead yet.

Granted, the Democrats have filibuster-proof majorities and they control the White House, which means, theoretically, they can do whatever they want. But if they exceed their authority under the Constitution, there are still mechanisms to challenge their power grab. Perhaps Marshall has found the one that will work.

If not, the bet here is that, eventually, someone does.

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Meetings, Marches and More. 2010 is Going to be a Big Year.

December 5, 2009 · Posted in January 18th March on Richmond, health care

A lot is going on, so this may be a long post.

We need to keep pressure on Warner and Webb. When we get closer to a final vote, we will organize a rally at their Roanoke offices. In the meantime, please continue to call, email and send letters. There will also be another march on Washington on December 15th. Details are here.

To further our goals we will begin to have monthly public meetings. Our first meeting will be on Feb 4th 6:30-8:45 PM at the main Roanoke Library located at 3131 Electric Road SW, Roanoke VA 24018. This will be to discuss plans and to set up our formal organization. We are targeting the 3rd Thursday of each month for this meeting. More coming soon.

We will begin to attend local events on weekends early in 2010. If you are interested in assisting with this, please contact me at We will start attending events handing out information and doing voter registration drives.

I attended the VTPP (Virginia Tea Party Patriots) Quarterly Meeting. Tea Party groups from across the state, as well as other Constitutional and 9-12 groups gathering together to pool resources and get more accomplished. It was a good and productive meeting.

As we’ve stated before, our focus in 2010 will be shifting to elections and making demonstrable political changes. We will do some selective marches, but we need to find more direct ways to push our agenda. That is also the focus of the VTTP.

To that end.

We will be starting a Political Action Committee, pooling the resources of all of the VTTP members. We will have more information on this in about a week, but this will allow us to have a lot more influence with politicians in Richmond and Washington.

We heard from a pollster who has done extensive polling in Virginia. Democratic politicians across the state are in real trouble. There was a lot of information shared and I’ll be posting some soon, but not surprisingly our values are what the majority of Virginians support. Don’t let the MSM fool you, the Republicans won because they were perceived as Conservative.

The focus of much of our work will be in Richmond. Why?

We are local

We have a friendly Governor and Attorney General to help us

What better place to start asserting out 10th Amendment rights?

To that end, there will be a rally we will be asking everyone to attend. It will be on January 18th (MLK Day) One of the keynote speakers will be Delegate Bob Marshall, who has written a fantastic piece of legislation that will allow Virginians to ignore the onerous provisions of Obamacare if this abomination passes Congress.

The bottom line is that forcing health care on citizens is absolutely unconstitutional and the provisions of this bill will assert our rights as Virginians under the 10th Amendment. We will be covering this in more detail, but here is some basic information. Bob Marshall’s Plan is a brilliant piece of legislation that, if we are successful, will eventually become part of our state Constitution.

There is another piece of legislation planned that will address 2nd Amendment issues in a similar fashion.

January 18th, the General Assembly will be in session and Richmond is not used to having more than a few hundred people show up for a rally. If thousands of us descend on Richmond and demand our state legislators assert our 10th Amendment rights, we can have a much bigger impact then we can on Washington, where the current powers that be, see the majority of Americans as a nuisance. We will also be going into the State House to make our presence felt.

This will protect our rights as Virginians and send a more powerful message to Washington then any DC rally could ever do. Hopefully other states will take our lead. Ken Cuccinelli has already promised to support this movement and will be a keynote speaker at the January 18th rally.

What can we do in the mean time?

Plan on being in Richmond on January 18.

Join the 10th Amendment group to stay up on the many Richmond issues going on. Click here for their website.

Stay tuned for information on exactly what we will be doing in Richmond on January 18th. Here is some basic logistical information.

Much more to come. 2010 is shaping up to be a tremendous year.

10th Amendment Revolution Lobby Day/Rally

Start: 01/18/2010 9:00 am

1 Capitol Square

Richmond, VA 23219

The Virginia 10th Amendment Revolution Lobby Day/Rally is to be held on capitol grounds in support of 10th amendment legislation to challenge the powers of the federal government not delegated to it by the states.

Lobbying will begin at 9:00AM and go on throughout the day with a Rally hosted by Virginia Campaign for Liberty at the Bell Tower from 10 – 11AM.

Patrick Henry impersonator, Mike McHugh of the Virginia Gun Owners Coalition, will emcee the event dressed in period costume and will give the famous Patrick Henry speech.

Other confirmed speakers:

Philip Van Cleave, VCDL David Alan Carmichael, Freedom Minitries Josh Eboch, FreedomWorks Jamie Radtke, Virginia Tea Party Patriots Ben Marchi, Americans for Prosperity John Taylor, Tertium Quids Donna Holt, VA Campaign for Liberty Patrick McSweeney, Constitutional Lawyer

Keynote Speakers:

Attorney General Elect Ken Cuccinelli Delegate Charles (Bill) Carrico Delegate Robert (Bob) Marshall

Marshall to Propose 'Healthcare Freedom' Constitutional Amendment

Source: The Washington Post Blog, Virginia Politics Written by Rosalind Helderman

With health care the hot topic in Washington, it should be no surprise there is likely to be an equally vigorous debate on the issue in Richmond when the General Assembly meets in January. It should also come as no surprise that Del. Bob Marshall, one of the body's most creative conservative minds, has some thoughts about how Virginia's General Assembly could best go about resisting President Obama's health insurance initiatives.

Marshall believes Obama's real goal is a socialist single-payer system. He believes it is unconstitutional for the government to mandate, at risk of penalty, that all individuals have insurance or that companies provide insurance for employees, as contemplated in bills being considered by the U.S. House and Senate. He notes contract law has long provided that contracts cannot be signed under duress.

"If that's not duress, then I don't know what is," he said of the mandates.

His solution: Make it easier for Virginians to sue the federal government over the mandate, if it is imposed.