Gov. Jim Gibbons is to announce today what he plans to do about the federal health insurance reform bill since Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has refused his instruction to file suit along with 14 other states.
The suit by those states argues that the new law violates the constitutional prohibition against a capitation or direct tax, as well as the 10th Amendment, which reserves powers not enumerated for the federal government to the states and citizens.
But, might there not be an argument under the 13th? That amendment prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude. Servitude: Compulsory labor or service for another.
Never mind the demands for the involuntary services of insurance companies and doctors, what about the typical citizen who under this law is required to pay taxes and purchase insurance at a rate that subsidizes others? It’s one thing to pay taxes to support an Army and a Navy, to fund police protection for all, to pay for roads and bridges to further commerce for all, but to take one’s money for the sole and express purpose of supporting another?
The 13th comes to mind because it was the center of a famous First Amendment case. Charles Schenck during World War I distributed pamphlets arguing that the draft violated the 13th Amendment. Sounds like a reasonable argument to make, right?
Schenck was tried, convicted and jailed for making this argument. You see Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that this was tantamount to “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”
Maybe it is time to shout "fire."