The Health Care Lawsuits: Unraveling A Century of Constitutional Law and The Fabric of Modern American Government

Author(s): 
Simon Lazarus
Publication Date: 
February 8, 2011

ACS is pleased to distribute “The Health Care Lawsuits: Unraveling A Century of Constitutional Law and The Fabric of Modern American Government,” an Issue Brief by Simon Lazarus, Public Policy Counsel at the National Senior Citizens Law Center. In this issue brief, Lazarus contends that the pending health care reform challenges constitute a bold bid for historic, sweeping constitutional change. If successful, he argues, the challenges would be a major step toward resuscitating a web of tight constitutional constraints on congressional authority that conservative Supreme Court majorities repeatedly invoked during the first third of the 20th century to strike down economic regulatory laws. More specifically, Lazarus posits that a decision striking down the Affordable Care Act would call into question the constitutional bases for, and could trigger copycat challenges to, provisions of other landmark laws and programs, including safety net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Program); civil rights law guarantees against private discrimination by places of public accommodation or in the workplace; federal grant programs in education, transportation, and other large-scale cooperative federalism initiatives; and environmental protection.