The Conclusion of a Case

On April 25, 2024, we were notified by the clerk for the Maine State Supreme Court that a ruling had been issued in our lawsuit against Maine EMS.

I want to preface this by saying that we at Health Choice Maine, are honored to have stood with our First Responders, and we are grateful to each plaintiff in this case that trusted us and stood with us. While we did not come out victorious in this particular case, our case did lead to major changes, most of which few will ever even know. Whether we decide to pursue this to the Supreme Court or not, we are proud of the work we did here, and we hope you all are as well.

The Ruling:

Very much as we had mostly expected, the court has upheld the dismissal of the lower court. You can read the ruling yourself below, but in short, the court has ruled that governing bodies can “interpret authority”.

What is wild about this ruling, is that essentially, they have agreed that Maine EMS was not given this kind of authority. But they are basically saying that it doesn’t matter, because Maine EMS “interpreted” this authority, and they are within their ability to do so.

Think about that.

Maine EMS, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Marine Resources, and a myriad of other bureaucratic bodies in Maine, that are all staffed with hired employees and appointed leaders. They are not voted into their positions, and yet they have been empowered with “broad” rulemaking authority that gives them the ability to affect the lives and livelihoods of countless Mainers every year. Now, we are watching as they “interpret” and “assume” an increasing amount of authority each year.

This is a conversation that has been spreading at the Federal level for some time now. In fact, there is a legal principle referred to as The Major Questions Doctrine, which attempts to deal directly with this very issue. Per this principle, “the Executive Branch cannot unilaterally interpret legislation to grant itself far-reaching powers unless Congress has clearly authorized such authority. Instead, Congress must, at a minimum, provide clear authorization that it intends to grant the Executive Branch such far-reaching powers.”

To put it simply, it means that an agency has exceeded authority when an action creates or involves an issue of vast economic, or political significance, and congress has not explicitly granted the agency authority over that issue.

While this is a principle being utilized at the Federal level, there are many States now beginning to also implement it at the State level. Regardless of where anyone stands on the Major Questions Doctrine, the very debate happening here shows a growing concern for the way agencies are gaining and wielding their powers.

At the heart of it, the basic structure of having an elected body of lawmakers fundamentally provides citizens with some avenue of recourse. If a lawmaker is overstepping, failing, or otherwise not representing their constituents, those citizens can in theory come together and replace that lawmaker.

With bureaucratic government agencies, the citizens have no such recourse.

Where do we go from here?

We went into this with eyes wide open. We had hoped for a little more objectivity, but with a court that has been called the second most liberal State court in the US, you can only reasonably hope for so much. Because of this, we went into this purposely leaving ourselves a possible avenue to the United States Supreme Court.

The mistake we did make however, was our prediction of public support. We truly believed that this would be an issue that reached beyond our normal community. Because no one likes the idea of needing an ambulance that never arrives. However, what we found was actually the opposite. After we filed this case, almost all media attention we had previously received consistently, stopped. (Thank you to Ric Tyler, who has been the only one to consistently have us on to update his listeners) Media silence plus social media shadow banning, plus outrageous inflation has been a disastrous equation for a community funded organization that specializes in an arguably controversial subject.

So, in the upcoming weeks, we will be reaching out to some of our more litigious national partners, discussing our options with the First Responders, and making a decision about next steps.

What you can do to help:

We are only able to do what the community enables us to do. This was true the day we launched years ago, and it remains true today. The best way you can help is to get involved. Volunteer with us, make a one-time, tax-deductible donation, or become a recurring donor. Print off or order cards and info-sheets from the resource section of our website. Host little fundraisers in your own community, like bottle drives, change drives, community yard sales, car washes, etc. HCM is as much yours as it is ours, and there is no donation or volunteer effort that is too small, because it truly takes all of us to make this possible.

Additionally, if you would like to further support your First Responders, reach out to your local Departments. Ask questions and urge them to defend their emergency medical personnel. Reach out to members of the Maine EMS board, including their new Director, and do the same. It may seem like these simple things can’t make a difference, but I promise you, they can, and they do. Sometimes, its these simple things that make all the difference.

In Conclusion:

It feels like yesterday that we first filed our complaint against Maine EMS, but in reality, this has been a wild 18-month journey.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to you all for supporting our work and allowing us to fight in such a big, meaningful way.

Each time we take on something like this it brings us one step closer to the ultimate goal of restoring medical freedom, and we couldn’t do any of it without you.

In conclusion, we would like to say that at some point, we are going to have to decide, political ideologies and societal beliefs aside, if we are okay with an over empowered bureaucracy that can have direct impact on your life and your livelihood.

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