Las Vegas lawyer files lawsuit, says health care law violates individual rights

Calling it the crowning achievement of his life's work, Las Vegas lawyer and Independent American Party attorney general candidate Joel Hansen on Tuesday filed what he called the most comprehensive health care lawsuit in the nation.

Hansen said lawsuits filed by several state attorneys general after Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March focus on the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which defines states' rights and limits the power of the federal government.

Hansen's lawsuit, which lists his group People v. U.S., the IAP, Nevada Eagle Forum and several individuals as plaintiffs in the class action, alleges the health care initiative violates at least half a dozen constitutional amendments, including the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, 10th and 13th.

"This isn't about states' rights," he said at a news conference on the steps of the federal courthouse downtown. "It's about individuals rights. It violates the First Amendment because a lot of people are pro-life and this law forces them to contribute to (paying for) abortions. That's a violation of religious freedom."

He said many religious Americans do not buy insurance because they liken it to gambling, and forcing them to buy insurance would be another First Amendment violation.

Hansen said that the Constitution provides privacy protections through the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth amendments and that the health care initiative violates those rights by "forcing people who don't have insurance and don't want insurance to pay for insurance or pay a fine" or by violating privacy rights by forcing disclosure of personal medical records.

He could not pinpoint where the health care bill states that the government would have access to private information. He said that he has not read all 2,000 pages of the legislation but that his staff has.

"Under Obamacare the government will get more involved with people's insurance records," Hansen said.

Attempts to contact Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent attorney general and a Democrat, were unsuccessful. Masto rejected Gov. Jim Gibbons' call to join in health care lawsuits in March.

Republican challenger Travis Barrick, who supports suing over the law, could not be reached for comment.

Contact Doug McMurdo at or 702-224-5512 or read more courts coverage at