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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 March 4, 2015 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on King v. Burwell. The Federalist Society proudly hosts a panel discussion ahead of the oral arguments. King v. Burwell focuses on 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.
National Press Club
In his recent book, Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering Their People, former Senator James Buckley eloquently contends that our federal system of government has been systematically undermined by the practice of Congress intruding on matters the Constitution reserves to the States. While Senator Buckley recognizes the inevitability of competition between state and federal politicians to be seen as solving important problems for constituents, he contends that without the federal judiciary keeping federal lawmakers within constitutional bounds, they face strong, likely irresistible, incentives to use federal taxpayer dollars to benefit home states and districts. Senator Buckley laments above all the Supreme Court’s 1937 Spending Clause decision in Steward Machine Company v. Davis. The whole problem with Steward Machine Company, according to Senator Buckley, is its holding that “in its pursuit of the general welfare, Congress is authorized to provide states with funds to implement programs that Congress itself has no power to write into law.”
As the culmination of his analysis, Senator Buckley offers a “modest” proposal: that “Congress immediately terminate all federal programs that offer grants to states and their subdivisions.” Acknowledging that federal grants currently constitute more than 30% of state revenues, and hence Congress cannot cut off the flood of federal money overnight, Senator Buckley specifically proposes that Congress “terminate the grants by converting them into single no-strings-attached block grants --- one for each state” and then subsequently phase out these block grants over a period of years.
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.