On July 5, 2011, CAC filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, defending the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Our brief in Seven-Sky argues that, under the original meaning of both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, Congress acted within its constitutional authority in enacting the Act’s minimum coverage provision.
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Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder involved a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires jurisdictions that have a history of engaging in racial discrimination in voting to obtain federal permission – “pre-clearance” – before altering their voting laws and regulations. Shelby County, Alabama argued that Section 5 was an outdated and unnecessary infringement on state sovereignty. Both the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the pre-clearance requirement as an appropriate exercise of Congress’ express constitutional powers to protect the constitutional right to vote free from racial discrimination. (See here and here for our briefs filed in the lower courts, urging that result.) The Supreme Court granted Shelby County’s petition for a writ of certiorari.
On September 21, 2011, District Judge John D. Bates – an appointee of President George W. Bush – issued a 151-page opinion thoroughly rejecting Shelby County’s challenge to the Voting Right's Act’s preclearance requirement. In his opinion, Judge Bates echoed arguments made by CAC in our brief, recognizing “the preeminent constitutional role of Congress under the Fifteenth Amendment to determine the legislation needed to enforce it.”
In Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Supreme Court considered whether Congress had the power under the Constitution to provide individuals a right to sue for damages to vindicate individual rights protected by federal law.
On June 17, 2010, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the plaintiff property owners’ “judicial takings” claim against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as meritless, just as CAC and the State and Local Legal Center had urged in our brief in the case on behalf of state and local government organizations..
On October 3, 2011, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Szajer v. City of Los Angeles. In June, CAC filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court in support of the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in this Fourth Amendment case in which the petitioners sought compensation for a warrantless search of their business.