This is an expanded version of the story related in Remember Mississippi.
Senator Chris McDaniel has always taken courageous stands for the principles and ideals he believes in. One conservative principle he believes very strongly in is individual liberty. And one of the biggest destroyers of that ideal was the 2010 Obamacare bill.
As states began to strike back against the federal government by suing over the new healthcare law, Mississippi did not join any of those lawsuits or file its own. Why? Because Attorney General Jim Hood is a Democrat.
So, in one of his most audacious stands, Senator McDaniel led the fight in Mississippi against the disastrous Obamacare bill, filing his own lawsuit in 2010 when Hood would not stand up to Washington in defense of average Mississippians.
I agreed to be one of the original three plaintiffs, along with Michael Shotwell and Richard Conrad. In fact, I was the lead plaintiff. I’d never sued anyone in my entire life but here I was filing a suit against Attorney General Eric Holder and three other cabinet secretaries, including Kathleen Sebelius, the HHS Secretary, to try to block implementation of Obamacare. The suit would be filed as Ryan S. Walters, et al v. Eric Holder, et al. and was eventually joined by Phil Bryant.
As the case moved through the system, it was increasingly likely that we would have our day in court, which would include plaintiff testimony administered by Obama Justice Department lawyers. One day I got a phone call from Senator McDaniel and he said, “I need one of you to testify in a court hearing, to face off against Holder’s lawyers, and you’re the one.” It was one of those gut punch moments in life, particularly when you stop to consider just exactly what you are about to do, but my response was immediate, “Let’s do it.” So I began brushing up on my arguments, familiarizing myself with all possible constitutional avenues.
But the argument that Senator McDaniel put together was simply brilliant. Of course we would make all the usual arguments about the government forcing us to purchase health insurance, ad nauseum, but there was another major component. We would argue that the way Obamacare was set up would require the government to gain access to our private health records. It was necessary or it would not function. But that’s privileged information. So the argument was this: Since the federal courts had found a right to privacy in the Bill of Rights, which they used in Roe v. Wade to safeguard a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, in essence a medical right to privacy, why did the same right to privacy not exist in this case?
With this argument, the government would be backed into a legal corner. They would have to either grant us the same right to medical privacy or throw the arguments made in Roe overboard. I awaited anxiously to see their response to this one.
Unfortunately, though, that day never came, as Judge Keith Starrett in Hattiesburg, where we filed our suit, threw out the case because he ruled that we lacked standing. The court’s reasoning was simple: Since the law had yet to go into effect, there was no injury to adjudicate. So we had no standing to sue. It’s a case of having to wait until the government knocks you in the head before you can defend yourself. I guess pre-emptive strikes are only legal if the federal government undertakes them.
But, despite lying attacks from the Republican Establishment, Senator Chris McDaniel fought DC to protect the individual liberties of every Mississippian. That’s something the Establishment never did.