Cambridge, MA 02138
- Marisa Maleck, Gibson Dunn
- Bob McNamara, Institute for Justice
On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, one of the most talked-about cases of the October 2014 term. At issue is whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Those challenging the statute argue that tax-credit subsidies can only be legally extended to those purchasing insurance in state-run exchanges – fewer than 20 states have created such exchanges. Professor Jonathan Adler, widely regarded as one of the architects of this most recent challenge to the affordable care act, attended the oral arguments and offered his thoughts to a live Teleforum audience.
On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in City of Los Angeles v. Patel. Los Angeles has an ordinance that requires hotels to maintain certain records about their guests and to produce those records for police officers upon request. The officer does not necessarily need a warrant or any particular suspicion. Hoteliers claim that this regime violates the Fourth Amendment. Interestingly, the hoteliers do not allege that any particular search was illegal. Is this kind of “facial” Fourth Amendment challenge to a statute or ordinance (as opposed to an “as applied” challenge to a particular search carried out under the statute) permissible? This issue raises fundamental questions about the constitutional structure of judicial review, with importance reaching far beyond the Fourth Amendment context.
One of the Federal Trade Commission’s key duties is to protect consumers from deceptive advertising. The FTC does this, in part, by ensuring that advertisers can substantiate their claims. While executing this duty, the FTC generally seeks to prevent consumer harm while maximizing the amount of useful information available to consumers. Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen believes that, in some cases over the past several years, the FTC has required a heightened level of substantiation, thereby reducing the useful information available to consumers. In a recent decision, POM Wonderful, the D.C. Circuit offered additional guidance on striking the proper balance, echoing themes that Commissioner Ohlhausen has raised in debates with her colleagues at the FTC. Commissioner Ohlhausen discussed this and other recent cases and how the FTC should address deceptive advertising in the future.