Continuing Legal Education: The Power To Regulate Commerce

Mar 31, 2011
9:00am11:00am
121 Cannon House Office Building

This Continuing Legal Education course explores the long-standing debate concerning the scope of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause by examining recent federal court decisions involving the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision (also known as the individual mandate).

Among other enumerated powers, Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides Congress with authority to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”  Since 1937, federal courts have issued decisions expanding the scope of what constitutes interstate commerce subject to Congress’s legislative authority, but for a few notable exceptions. 

Recent federal district court decisions involving the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however, clearly show that the scope of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause is far from a settled legal question. 

  • What constitutional guideposts can members of Congress divine from these recent legal developments?
  • What relevance does it have for this and future Congresses?

Panel I, Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center, explores the legal evolution of Congress’s Commerce Clause authority and the key constitutional principles at issue in the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision cases. 

Panel II, Wesley Russell, Deputy Attorney General, Virginia, provides insights into the courtroom complexities of litigating a case challenging congressional authority under the Commerce Clause.

This course is free and open to all Federal Agency and Congressional staff members. This event is not open to the general public. Food will be provided. Please RSVP below. This course has been approved for two (2) CLE credit hours by Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Application for approval is pending with Virginia. We will assist attendees who wish to seek credit in other jurisdictions. For more information, please contact Aaron Merrill at amerril2@gmu.edu or (703) 993 7729.