Aziz Huq Writes About SCOTUS Rulings in Moore and CFPB

The Supreme Court Is Shaking America’s Fiscal Foundations

Americans are notorious for turning virtually every dispute into a lawsuit. But the basic terms of America’s fiscal contract, which determines how the federal government finances its operations – the goods and services it provides – have so far remained untouched by legal challenges. Two recent Supreme Court cases threatened to change this. They failed, but only barely, and the forces that advanced them are unlikely to give up any time soon.

Since the 1990s, conservative lawyers and judges in the United States have regularly attacked the federal government’s supposedly sweeping powers. Under former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the Supreme Court curtailed Congress’s powers to regulate private conduct. Under Chief Justice John Roberts, who has presided over the Court since 2005, it has been hostile toward administrative agencies’ regulatory reach, issuing decisions that impeded the implementation of policies such as President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

But this anti-regulatory turn in US constitutional law never threatened the government’s basic capacity to function. That changed this year, when conservative lawyers launched fiscal moonshots in an effort to accelerate the anti-regulatory agenda.

Read more at Project Syndicate

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