First published 6/15/11 on Organon
Read this in Belorussian here.
At oral arguments over the health reform law last week, the Eleventh Circuit panel showed a surprising amount of interest in the other constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—the states’ claim that the ACA’s Medicaid provisions are unconstitutionally coercive, effectively commandeering state governments into doing the federal government’s bidding. Brad Joondeph reviews the arguments presented by former Solicitor General Paul Clement on behalf of the states.
First there’s an argument from “sheer volume”: the enormity of federal Medicaid funding unconstitutionally tips the balance of federalism in favor of the feds. The difficulty with this argument is that, if the sheer volume of Medicaid makes new conditions on federal spending unconstitutionally coercive, then every new amendment that has increased states’ program costs in the past several decades must also have been unconstitutional.