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Are NJ Judges Trampling Federal Rules?

In a highly charged, 15 count case against the Healthcare Law, two New Jersey citizens maintain 3rd Circuit Court Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie has on 8 separate occasions violated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by ignoring properly filed motions and requests. In one case, Judge Vanaskie denied a simple request to know who sat on the judge's panel.

Complainants Nick Purpura and Don Laster filed the compelling lawsuit against Kathleen Sibelius, Timothy Geithner and others. The justice department has been frustrated in its attempts to trivialize the suit as it raises legitimate issues not addressed in any other case.

Count One claims the ACA was written in the Senate, a violation of Article 1 of the Constitution, which clearly states that revenue-raising bills, such as the healthcare law, must originate in the House of Representatives. The two document the birthing of the bill and appear to have a sound argument. So far, the justice department has failed to respond to this argument and the court has not addressed their failure to reply. The plaintiffs cite further instances where they believe the court has acted "in connivance" with the justice department to avoid answering the charges.

Nick and Don's suit continues. Article 1 of the Constitution states, "No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state." In seeming defiance, the ACA imposes taxes on medical devices manufactured in one state and shipped to another. The duo further argues that the government strips citizens of their "due process" rights when they seize money from private bank accounts for failure to purchase a qualified health plan.

Since the original filing of their brief in September 2010, the justice department's response has been to dodge the issues with legal maneuvers raising the question, "Why not just answer them and be done with it?"

The stakes are high. These are serious charges and, if decided in their favor, a single count would nullify the entire law.

While Federal judges have broad discretion to interpret cases, they are bound to follow the rules of judicial conduct contained in the FRCP. Judge Vanaskie does not appear hampered by such restraints. Regardless of how this case is decided, the behavior of the 3rd Circuit Court in Trenton is tarnishing the reputation of the entire Federal judiciary.