Alison LaCroix, "Sick and Tired?: The Supreme Court's New Old Federalism"
From the scores of briefs to the extended oral arguments to the widely watched announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision in June, the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius – more commonly known as the healthcare case – has received unprecedented attention from the media, politicians, and the general public. In upholding most provisions of the legislation under Congress’s taxing power but striking down a key section as beyond the scope of the spending power, the Court’s decision has been viewed by commentators as, variously, a return to meaningful limits on Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, a repudiation of the New Deal constitutional settlement, an affirmation of that settlement, and an act of judicial statesmanship by Chief Justice John Roberts. But just how significant of a change does the decision portend – in institutions, doctrine, and federalism itself? The talk will situate the healthcare decision in constitutional history, consider trends in the Court’s federalism case law, and speculate about the future direction of the doctrine. This talk was recorded on October 1, 2012.