jpete wrote:The state lawsuits are a red herring. Just like in the Obama "natural born citizen" cases, you have to have "standing" to bring a lawsuit.
To have standing you have to show "unique harm", that is, you have to show how an individual is specifically harmed above all others.
Since the meat of this doesn't go into effect until 2014, and it'll take several years for a suit to reach SCOTUS, there isn't a prayer of getting this blown out as unconstitutional.
I don't think uniqueness is a required attribute in all constitutional cases. If the government passed a law that banned all possession of science fiction literature, who would be the person with unique standing to challenge it? Just because the law is applied broadly across the population or the states doesn't mean that it poses a barrier to challenge on constitutional grounds.
Certainly it helps to have a unique case where the constitutional issue is brought into stark relief, particularly if the constitutional issue is murky absent the special case, but it doesn't stand to reason that there *must* be some particular aggrieved or impacted minority of the citizenry for standing to be found for a constitutional challenge in the courts.
Your pessimism on this is peculiar to me. Individuals on many sides of this mess have standing. Those who are forced to buy in under penalty of law as a consequence of being a citizen (unprecedented law and easily a non-trivial constitutional question). The "rich" who are funding the lions share of this program (at least on paper) have, I believe, valid basis for an equal protection claim, particularly given the low/non-existent benefit they receive. Medicare and SS arguably only pass constitutional muster because the tax to fund those programs are assessed on all earned income at a flat rate up to some ceiling amount, and all citizens become eligible for them at some point in their lives should they live to be old enough. The medicare and SS tax rate changes made in this bill may actually make SS and medicare unconstitutional due to the top loading of the revenue streams as a consequence of this law. Ideas to means test SS and Medicare also fly in the face of equal protection, potentially.
States have a possible case on the inequitable deals made on the special deals for medicaid funding for select states and granting certain banks in certain states exceptions under the school loan nationalization part of this law. States also have a case on restraint of trade. The feds can't create their own little preferred national policy pool, set the standards, control which eligible plans get let in, provide all kinds of subsidies, and leave the rest of policy providers to die a withering death due to restraint of interstate trade and unequal access to policy seekers. Unfunded medicaid mandates are a big part of this policy (and part of the reason why it came in as a supposed "deficit" cutter at the federal level), another potential area of legal challenge on federalism (10th amendment) and equal protection claims.
And no doubt there are many more questions of constitutionality buried in there as yet undiscovered.