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Unformatted text preview: Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do. The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it. Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers. The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress's power to ‘regulate Commerce.” Here we have the first reason why the Supreme Court decided not to sustain the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause . In order to use the Commerce Clause effectively the Supreme Court tells us that there must already be commercial activity in the subject at hand that has to be monitored and regulated. With the Affordable Care Act, there will be a new market of commercial activity occurring. Due to the fact that there is no existing commercial activity now for this individual mandate, the Supreme Court realized that people would only be buying a product out of fear that not doing so will affect interstate commerce. If the Supreme Court allowed this clause to be the one to sustain the individual mandate, it would be a landmark decision that would allow Congress to make decisions on people’s lives of what they could not do in addition to what they could do. In addition to the rejecting using the commerce clause to sustain the individual mandate, the Supreme Court also used in their opinion the necessary and proper clause : “Nor can the individual mandate be sustained under the Necessary and Proper Clause as an integral part of the Affordable Care Act's other reforms. Each of this Court's prior cases upholding laws under that Clause involved exercises of authority derivative of, and in service to, a granted power. E.g., United States v. Comstock, 560 U. S. The individual mandate, by contrast, vests Congress with the extraordinary ability to create the necessary predicate to the exercise of an enumerated power and draw within its regulatory scope those who would otherwise be outside of it. Even if the individual mandate is “necessary” to the Affordable Care Act's other reforms, such an expansion of federal power is not a “proper” means for making those reforms effective.” In this part of their opinion, the Supreme Court describes how when the necessary and proper clause was used in prior cases, it was a power that was granted to Congress. Here, under the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate under this clause would grand Congress power to make whatever mandates they wanted to as they saw fit. David B. Kopel, an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Denver University, says this ruling returns the Necessary and Proper clause to its original interpretation outlined by John Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland. He states that the clause grants Congress no additional powers, but "simply restates the background principle that Congress can exercise powers which are merely “incidental” to Congress’s enumerated...
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- Spring '13
- Taxation in the United States