Media Center

Statement by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Regarding Today's Supreme Court Decision


Constitutional Limits on the Federal Government Upheld


Court Upholds the “Act” While States Prevail in their Defense of the Constitution


“My fundamental reason in joining this lawsuit on behalf of the State of Wisconsin was that the federal government was unconstitutionally expanding its powers, and in doing so, it was eroding the states' sovereign ability to self govern.


On this issue, we as states have registered a resounding victory. The Court has very clearly stated, once again, that the federal government has limits to its use of the commerce clause and that it cannot be used by the federal government to force a citizen to purchase something.


As well, we argued that mandating the states to participate in this law or risk losing all prior Medicaid funding, was unconstitutional under the spending clause as coercive. The Court agreed. States will now have much greater latitude to determine the scope of their Medicaid program.


While the decision upholds the Affordable Care Act, it is a tremendous victory for re-establishing Constitutional limits on the power of the federal government. It should be clear that this ruling vindicates the states' legal arguments. This will be studied for years to come as a landmark decision that promotes federalism and limited government.”


Note: A news conference is scheduled for noon in the Capitol office at 114 East.