AFJ Praises Supreme Court Ruling in Health Care Case
But Cautions about Long-Term Commerce Clause Implications
Press ContactKevin Fry firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C., June 28, 2012—Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement on the 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act:
This morning, the United States Supreme Court released a decision in the health care cases that comes as an enormous relief to tens of millions of Americans whose lives depend on access to health insurance. The importance of this law to American families cannot be underestimated and it was a big win for this policy, the president, and the American people.
While a majority allowed the core provisions of the law to stand by finding a justification for its legitimacy in Congress’ constitutional powers to enact a tax, we fear that embedded in the decision is a ticking time bomb that may have profound implications for the future. At the same time that a majority upheld the law under tax powers, a separate majority also declared that the law could not be upheld on the basis of the Commerce Clause. The five conservative justices may have signaled that they are prepared over time to undo or limit a host of economic and social policies that are rooted in long-established federal powers to regulate interstate commerce.
Although today’s heartening decision has saved the Affordable Care Act, its true legacy may become apparent in future cases as a five-justice majority votes to restrict Congress’ power to regulate business, enact environmental laws, protect the health and safety of workers and consumers, preserve civil rights and prevent discrimination.
This decision and the remarkable amount of public attention that is being paid to it, serve to highlight the enormously important role the Supreme Court plays in American life. It’s imperative that the vigorous public debate we’re witnessing today about the role and actions of the Court -- and who sits on it -- not diminish simply because this landmark case has been decided. This is a pivotal year for the Court and the country and we welcome an active public debate about the future of American justice and the judiciary itself.
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Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process. AFJ is based in Washington, D.C.