Susan Clark (left) argues with another protester about the Affordable Care Act outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts likened the law's Medicaid expansion provision to "a gun to the head" of states.Kris Connor/Getty Images Kris Connor/Getty Images
Nothing breeds lawsuits like uncertainty. That being the case, the Supreme Court's landmark health care ruling is almost certain to open the door to lawsuits challenging the federal government's authority.
The court ruled the federal government can't force states to participate in a major expansion of Medicaid or else risk losing existing Medicaid funds from Washington. That threat amounted to unconstitutional coercion.
"In this case, the financial 'inducement' Congress has chosen is much more than 'relatively mild encouragement' � it is a gun to the head," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion.
Congress and federal agencies frequently put strings on the money they give to states. But the high court's health ruling didn't draw a clear line between the types of financial conditions that are OK and those that are unfair to states.
"The way Roberts wrote the opinion, it's a deliberate invitation to litigation," says Brian Galle, a law professor at Boston College.
Testing The Limits
It's also unclear whether the court's decision opens the door for states and localities to challenge existing rules, or only new ones.
"The Supreme Court knows that this decision is going to result in some federal rules being ruled unconstitutional by some judges and maybe even upheld by some circuit courts," says Galle, the Boston College law professor. "They know that."Share 151Facebook Twitter Email Comment More From Judging The Health Care Law HealthAfter Supreme Court Ruling, Health Law Will Cover Fewer And Cost LessPoliticsCourt Gives States Ammunition In Health Care BattleIt's All PoliticsDid Roberts Flip On The Health Care Decision?Judging The Health Care LawAssessing The Supreme Court's Recent Term
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