A Federalist's Dilemma: Three Cases before the U.S. Supreme Court Pose a Conflict for Some Who Usually Back States' Rights

By Soronen, Lisa | State Legislatures, April 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Federalist's Dilemma: Three Cases before the U.S. Supreme Court Pose a Conflict for Some Who Usually Back States' Rights


Soronen, Lisa, State Legislatures


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As a state legislator, federalism is important to you, and you know where you stand on the subject. You are pro-state rights and anti-federal encroachment. It's simple, right?

Then consider the Affordable Care Act, Arizona's immigration law and the court cases over Texas' interim electoral map. These three examples may put your federalism principles and your political views on a collision course. It mms out it's just not that simple.

It is a rare Supreme Court term when the issue of federalism is raised in all the prominent cases, and these three are the biggest of this term. The issue of states' rights is central in each case, with the court's decision most likely to extend beyond the specific facts being litigated.

Affordable Care Act

The court is considering four questions in the health reform case--two of which address federalism head on. First, the court will decide whether the individual mandate--that almost all Americans must obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine--violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. One of the reasons the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the individual mandate is unconstitutional is that insurance and health care are traditional areas of state concern. Second, the act requires states to expand Medicaid coverage or lose all federal Medicaid funding, not just the additional funding needed to cover the expansion. The court will decide whether the expansion is permissible under the Constitution's Spending Clause or fails the coercion test because states are essentially compelled to participate in Medicaid.

Whatever the court decides will affect both legal doctrines beyond the individual mandate and Medicaid. The argument that Congress can regulate inactivity--not buying health insurance--is novel. Likewise, the court has only twice ruled on the coercion argument. That means any ruling much less a ruling regarding a program as big as Medicaid--is significant.

Arizona Immigration

The Supreme Court also will decide whether federal law pre-empts four provisions of Arizona's immigration statute. The state has argued that the law "authorizes cooperative law enforcement and imposes sanctions that consciously parallel federal law." The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded, however, that all four provisions are preempted by federal immigration law.

1. Requiring police to determine if a person is in the country legally: The court concluded the federal Immigration and Naturalization Act allows state and local police to aid in immigration enforcement only under the supervision of the U.S. attorney general.

2. Making it a crime not to carry immigration papers: This requirement is preempted, the court concluded, because Congress didn't mention state participation in this section of the immigration act, though it did in other sections of the law.

3. Making it a crime for undocumented immigrants to work: The court noted the federal law sanctions only employers.

4. Allowing police officers to arrest a person who is likely to be deported: "States do not have the inherent authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law," the court concluded.

Other states have adopted similar immigration laws. These laws, too, may be preempted by federal law, depending on how the court rules.

Texas Redistricting

The issue in the Texas redistricting case was how much a federal district court, when creating interim electoral maps, must defer to a state legislature's plan. Texas gained four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as a result of population gains in the 2010 census, requiring the Texas Legislature to redraw its electoral maps.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Federalist's Dilemma: Three Cases before the U.S. Supreme Court Pose a Conflict for Some Who Usually Back States' Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.