With oral arguments in King this week—today!—I’ve temporarily reprised my my Vox-writer role. Yesterday, I published a piece on Pennhurst, a legal doctrine that could prove consequential. Like Chevron, it hinges on the justices reading the law as ambiguous, but Pennhurst is a doctrine that demonstrates deference to the states—not to federal agencies—so it might prove more palatable to the conservative justices.
The government does have one legal doctrine, however, that might be especially persuasive to right-leaning judges. It’s called the Pennhurst doctrine, and its all about ensuring that the federal government doesn’t violate state rights.
Legal scholars defending Obamacare think this argument may resonate with the court’s conservative wing, but some worry that a ruling on Pennhurst grounds could have implications that stretch far beyond health reform.
For a really interesting, more historical take on the doctrine, you should absolutely read Noam Levey.