Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Third Circuit rules in favor of United States in Purpura v. Sebelius

This is a few days old, but the Third Circuit recently issued a per curiam opinion in Purpura v. Sebelius affirming the district court's dismissal of the lawsuit. The panel consisted of Circuit Judges Scirica, Smith, and Vanaskie.

In their complaint, pro se plaintiffs Nicholas Purpura and Donald Laster alleged that the ACA violated nineteen different clauses in the Constitution. Those claims included that "the Act originated in the Senate, not the House of Representatives, in violation of Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution; that the provision in the Act requiring all non-exempt individuals to maintain a certain minimum level of health insurance or pay a fine violates the Commerce Clause; and that President Obama lacked authority to sign the Act into law because he is not a natural-born citizen." (CA3 op. at 2)

The district court held that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing, and the Third Circuit affirmed that judgment. Here is the crux of the Third Circuit's analysis:
[A]ppellants' complaint here is “barren” with respect to standing: appellants have provided no information about themselves beyond the fact that they are New Jersey residents and believe that the Act is unconstitutional. These allegations are insufficient to establish standing. (CA3 op. at 4)
You can access the Third Circuit's opinion here.