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Constitutional interpretation

Constitutional Law

2010

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Commandeering The People: Why The Individual Health Insurance Mandate Is Unconstitutional, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2010

Commandeering The People: Why The Individual Health Insurance Mandate Is Unconstitutional, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” includes what is called an “individual responsibility requirement” or mandate that all persons buy health insurance from a private company and a separate “penalty” enforcing this requirement. In this paper, I do not critique the individual mandate on originalist grounds. Instead, I explain why the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the existing doctrine by which the Supreme Court construes the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses and the tax power. There are three principal claims.

First (Part II), since the New Deal, the Supreme Court has developed a doctrine allowing the regulation of …


The Right To Bear Arms: A Uniquely American Entitlement, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2010

The Right To Bear Arms: A Uniquely American Entitlement, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court held that individuals have a constitutional right to own firearms, notably to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-protection. The historic shift announced by Heller was the recognition of a personal right, rather than a collective right tied to state militias. In McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court – in a familiar 5-4 ideological split – held that the 2nd Amendment applies not only to the federal government, but also to state and local gun control laws. In his dissent, Justice Stevens predicted that “the consequences could prove far more …