Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What will we call the Health Care Cases?


Students of constitutional law know that many famous Supreme Court decisions that resolve several different lawsuits at once have been called not by the names of the parties in the lead case, but by a nickname that describes their content. The most famous examples are The Slaughterhouse Cases, The Civil Rights Cases, and the Trademark Cases. In addition, groups of opinions decided roughly contemporaneously have later been grouped together in hindsight, although they are not always cited that way in legal opinions. Examples are The Insular Cases and The Legal Tender Cases.

Many people remember that the various cases from Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina, Delaware, and the District of Columbia that are now called Brown v. Board of Education (I and II) and Bolling v. Sharpe were once called The Desegregation Cases. Most people now refer to them as Brown. United States v. Virginia is sometimes called The VMI Case.

Which brings me to HHS v. Florida, Florida v. HHS, and National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius. What will these cases be called? I vote for The Health Care Cases. The press has generally called them "the health care case," but since there are several of them, the plural seems more appropriate.

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