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Health care reform bill recusal motion



The Constitution, which sets forth the principle of rule of law, defines what is unconstitutional, and guarantees freedom of speech and other liberties of a Constitutional republic, and also describes the impeachment power. (How many know of the Jewish roots of this document?) Hypocrisy threatens Constitutional government. Could Israel use a constitution like this? More to the point: would a Convention of States save it, or destroy it? (Example: civil asset forfeiture violates the Constitution.) Quick fixes like Regulation Freedom Amendments weaken it. Furthermore: the Constitution provides for removing, and punishing, a judge who commits treason in his rulings. Furthermore, opponents who engage in lawfare against an elected President risk breaking the Constitution.

The two New Jersey activists suing the government to stop the health care reform bill have asked two appellate judges to recuse themselves.

Nicholas E. Purpura and Donald R. Laster Jr filed a motion today with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. They seek to disqualify two Third Circuit active judges, both Obama appointees, from hearing their appeal.

The issue of the appeal

The case of Purpura v. Sebelius came before the Third Circuit after Judge Freda L. Wolfson of the District Court for New Jersey dismissed it. Judge Wolfson said that the two plaintiffs lacked standing. They are challenging that ruling.

Judges Joseph A. Greenaway and Thomas I. Vanaskie both came to the Third Circuit bench last year. Because Barack H. Obama appointed them, their jobs are at stake in the case.


James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse, Philadelphia, PA, where the DOJ has two health care reform bill cases on appeal.

The James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse, Philadelphia, PA, home of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. More than one health care reform bill case is on appeal here. Photo: US Department of Justice

Purpura v. Sebelius alleges fifteen separate counts against the health care reform bill. One of them—Count Six—says that Obama is not now and never was qualified to sign any bill into law. The reason: he is not a natural-born citizen within the meaning of the Constitution. Therefore he is not the President of the United States. And for that reason he cannot appoint federal judges—and Greenaway and Vanaskie would both lose their appointments as soon as Purpura and Laster prevail.

The Third Circuit has thirteen active judges and ten senior judges. Greenaway and Vanaskie are the only two Obama appointees.


The clerical staff of the Third Circuit told Purpura and Laster earlier that several judges have already recused themselves from this case. But they refuse to tell them which ones.

In their motion to have Greenaway and Vanaskie recuse themselves, Purpura and Laster reminded the court that if their clerks had simply told them which judges had already recused themselves, they might not now have to move on Greenaway and Vanaskie. Three days ago they sent another letter to the chief deputy clerk, asking her to tell them which judges are on the three-judge panel that is already considering their appeal and two earlier motions. They point out that a thorough search of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Third Circuit’s Local Appellate Rules turned up no grounds for the clerks to refuse the names.

What other counts does the case allege against the health care reform bill?

The case has fifteen counts in all. Among them:

  • The health care reform bill originated in the Senate, not the House of Representatives. Though it has the number “HR 3590,” the bill begins “In the Senate of the United States”.
  • The Minimal Coverage Mandate exceeds Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.
  • The bill raises a “Ready Reserve Corps” whose members will get weapons training. As such it is an army. The problem: it appropriates funds for this army for four years, not the Constitutional two.
  • The bill raises a number of taxes that run afoul of one or more clauses of Article I, Section 9.
  • The bill inherits several flaws from the Social Security Act, namely its seeming establishment of favored “religious sects or divisions.” Those that started on or before December 31, 1950, get an exemption not available to those that started later.

Could the recusal issue affect other courts?

Yes. Purpura and Laster will move that Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor recuse themselves when (not if) Purpura v. Sebelius goes to the Supreme Court. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) called three days ago for the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to investigate Kagan. Smith wants to know whether Kagan lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her role in crafting the health care reform bill.

Featured image: the Constitution of the United States. Photo: National Archives.



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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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Yeah, that’s not going to fly. Obama is a natural born citizen as defined by the 14th amendment and the Kim Wong Ark case. It’s pretty clear.

Protesting the healthcare mandate has merit, but not Obama’s natural born citizenship.

Birthers are really embarrassing themselves. They’d best focus on making sure he’s not reelected instead.

Jedi Pauly

The 14th Amendment does not define a “natural born Citizen”. The 14th Amendment only defines who is a NATURALIZED citizen at birth not who is a “natural born Citizen”. If you were right then the government would have responded to our count 6 and said the same thing you are saying but they did not even respond to count 6 because they know they can’t and that the 14th does not define “natural born” it defines who shall be NATURALIZED at birth. Get a clue.

Jedi Pauly

Furthermore Camille; The Wong case, and Elge case, and Happersett case, which are all of the controlling Supreme Court cases, make it very clear that a “natural born Citizen” is one who is born to citizen parents and that the place of birth is not even a factor in determining “natural born” status. Apparently these cases are not as clear to you as you believe they are or profess them to be.

Frances Black

Jedi.. I thought your schtick was that only daddy counts. I read your take on that at the P&E many times. So what’s up now with this citizen parents (plural) gig?

“a “natural born Citizen” is one who is born to citizen parents and that the place of birth is not even a factor in determining “natural born” status.”

Pure baloney.

Dicey Conflict of Laws, pp. 173-177, 741.
It thus clearly appears that, by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the Crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, the jurisdiction of the English Sovereign, and therefore every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign State or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born.
III. The same rule was in force in all the English Colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the Constitution as originally established.

The 14th Amendment did not change that.

In Dred Scott v. Sandford, (1857) 19 How. 393, Mr. Justice Curtis said:
The first section of the second article of the Constitution uses the language, “a natural-born citizen.” It thus assumes that citizenship may be acquired by birth. Undoubtedly, this language of the Constitution was used in reference to that principle of public law, well understood in this country at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, which referred citizenship to the place of birth.
19 How. 576. And, to this extent, no different opinion was expressed or intimated by any of the other judges.

In United States v. Rhodes (1866), Mr. Justice Swayne, sitting in the Circuit Court, said:
All persons born in the allegiance of the King are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well as of England. . . . We find no warrant for the opinion [p663] that this great principle of the common law has ever been changed in the United States. It has always obtained here with the same vigor, and subject only to the same exceptions, since as before the Revolution.

“Apparently these cases are not as clear to you as you believe they are or profess them to be.”

Irony much?

History is very clear, the Constitution is very clear, and the law of the land is very clear. Anyone born on the soil (setting aside the two and only two exceptions there has ever been… ambassador or enemy combatant) is a natural born citizen, period. It’s never been anything different.

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