Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Ralph A. Rossum

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Rights Information

© 2012 Nicholas Medling


An analysis of the evolution of the Commerce Clause, the Justices on the Supreme Court, and the arguments presented in this case indicate that the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be struck down. Although the Court will likely be split 5 to 4 along ideological lines, each of the justices will have a unique rationale behind their decision. Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Justice Kennedy were heavily targeted by both parties’ oral and written arguments because there was speculation that any one of these traditionally conservative justices could be the fifth vote to uphold the individual mandate. However, it does not appear likely that the federal government supported their claims well enough to yield such a result. Instead, the Court will respond in the negative to the issue of "Whether Congress had the power under Article I of the Constitution to enact the minimum coverage provision." The Court’s interpretation of the Congress' commerce power has undergone two major expansions since the Constitution was ratified, and both of these expansions were met with a contractionary response to prevent the commerce clause’s growth into an unchecked power. This Court will not open a new frontier of power for the Congress, but rather it will respect the limits on Congressional power established by the Rehnquist Court.