Fundamentals of Public Health Law
The Honorable Art Vandelay has been a member of the U.S. Congress for 10 years, representing the 12th District in South Caledonia. Through his career in the Congress he has been an advocate for the prevention of injuries. You are serving as Representative Vandelay's chief health legislative assistant at his Washington office on Capitol Hill. You are not a lawyer and do not have formal legal training, but you have taken an introductory course in public health law at a leading public health school in the United States. Representative Vandelay has become increasingly concerned about the rising toll of morbidity and mortality from car-surfing in her district.
In South Caledonia alone, the number of persons killed by participating in car surfing has increased four-fold over the past two years, and numerous injuries have also been reported. Two weeks ago, the son of a close friend and political supporter of Rep. Vandelay was killed while car surfing. Rep. Vandelay is considering introducing a bill in Congress to make car surfing illegal throughout the entire United States, with the purpose of reducing the number of associated deaths and injuries. He has drafted a bill, tentatively called the American Car Surfing Prohibition Act (ACSPA), which would prohibit persons from participating in car surfing in the United States, punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and up to 30 days in federal prison.
The Congressman has asked you to write a memo of no more than 600 words (Members of Congress do not like to read long memos) on a specific point concerning the advisability of introducing the ACSPA into Congress as a bill. You decide to refer his request to one of the attorneys in the office but the attorneys are out on vacation for two weeks. So, you decide to write your own memo, and then ask the attorneys to review it when they return from vacation, before you give it to Rep. Vandelay. Under the principles of federalism as expressed in the Raich case, and the federalism materials presented in class, and the assigned readings, would the ACSPA be found constitutional if it were challenged on grounds that it was not within the federal government's power under the Commerce Clause? First state your conclusion on this, and then give your reasoning.