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Healthcare Case Could Be Avenue For High Court's View On Federalism

Publication Date: 
April 05, 2012
Daily Journal
Robert Iafolla

Professor Thomas Goldstein spoke with the Daily Journal's Robert Iafolla regarding the Affordable Care Act and how the "implications implications could be quite widespread" in regards to whether it enforce limits on Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause.

Although federalism is a core tenet of the conservative legal movement, the U.S. Supreme Court under the leadership of Republican-appointed Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has directly opined on the subject in only a few cases.

That skimpy track record has left the Roberts Court's views on the balance of state and federal power something of a mystery, legal experts said. But the current court's position on federalism will likely come into focus after it decides the fate of the Obama administration's landmark health care overhaul.


Still, a decision striking the mandate could invite challenges to many parts of the federal regulatory state, said Thomas C. Goldstein, a frequent Supreme Court advocate at Goldstein & Russell PC and publisher of SCOTUSblog.

"The court's decision would inevitably rest on a real sense that it is going to enforce limits on Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause, which is something it has not seriously done in many decades," Goldstein said in an email. "So the implications could be quite widespread, and certainly we'd see an array of litigation raising other challenges."