TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Jun 11, 2012

As the nation awaits the Supreme Court's decision -- expected by the end of June -- on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how that will affect this year's presidential election, constitutional scholars know there is much more at stake here than an individual election. Just how much is illustrated by the legal history of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Most scholars agree that the ACA presents a watershed, a potential breaking point with the legal framework that has undergirded our modern economy. "The expansive understanding of the Commerce Clause has been the basis of minimum wage legislation, of workplace safety legislation, of economic protections, and in fact of our civil rights laws," says Jeff Shesol, author of Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court. "The conservative legal establishment has been very open about its interest in undoing the New Deal at the constitutional level," and "this would be the first great success of the movement." National Public Radio looks at history of the Commerce Clause and how important that is in the decision on health care.