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- James Blumstein, University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law & Policy at Vanderbilt University Law School and Director of Vanderbilt Health Policy Center
The Common Core State Standards attempts to define what K-12 students should know at the end of each school year in key subject areas. The initiative garnered strong and broad support, but has come under increasingly heavy criticism from state and local officials, and parents. Supporters argue that uniform standards are an essential part of assuring quality education throughout the nation. Criticisms range from concerns about top-down, federal control of a traditionally state and local government function, to attempts to impose a nationwide curriculum, to a lack of field testing of the standards. Our experts discussed the standards and who has the better argument.
Debate: Resolved, that the Affordable Care Act does not authorize subsidies for individuals purchasing health insurance through federal exchanges
January 3, 2015
Immigration law and enforcement have been on the front pages for the last several years, and that shows no signs of changing. One aspect to our national debate on immigration that hasn't received as much attention as it should is the effect that the several states can have on the issue. Through its policing powers and criminal sentencing guidelines, a state can influence who the federal immigration authorities can remove from the country. Our experts discussed the important constitutional issues that these trends present.
Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) in 2008. Section 207 of PRIIA requires the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to “jointly develop” the metrics and standards for Amtrak’s performance that are used by the Surface Transportation Board to trigger the investigation of private freight railroads for failing to provide preferences for Amtrak passenger trains (as required by federal law) if Amtrak fails to meet the standards. Is PRIIA Section 207 an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to a private entity? The D.C. Circuit said yes, concluding that the statute is the functional equivalent of granting General Motors the authority to write regulations covering its industry rivals. Will the Supreme Court agree and breathe life into the rarely invoked non-delegation doctrine? Our expert attended the oral argument on Monday, December 8, and offered his impressions to a Teleforum audience.