6. By 2020, the federal government is paying approximately 50% of total health-care costs for the nation out of general revenues. Congress, concerned that Americans are living increasingly sedentary, unhealthy, and medically-costly lifestyles, enacts the Walk to Fitness Act of 2020 (“WFA”). The WFA provides that each American over the age of 16 must purchase a specified government-manufactured pedometer, which when attached to the hip measures how many miles the wearer walks each day. The pedometer is sold to the public at a price of $20 (which provides a small profit to the government, made possible by the huge volumes expected to be sold). The device is custom-fitted so that it can work only on the body of the particular purchaser to whom it is registered. Another provision of the WFA says that after the end of each year, the device-wearer shall print out the total miles registered on the device during the prior year, and enclose the printout with his tax return. Anyone whose age-adjusted total annual mileage walked does not reach a pre-specified threshold (150 miles for a young adult) must pay a “penalty” of $200, payable to the IRS together with the person’s taxes. Exemptions are given for those whose doctor certifies that the person is not medically capable of walking the threshold amount. Anyone who does reach the threshold, and sends in the printout, gets a one-time government refund of the $20 cost of the pedometer. Congress defends the constitutionality of the WFA on the grounds that the pedometer program encourages fitness, and that fitter people will cause the nation’s ever-increasing health-care bill to decline, leading to a substantial lowering of costs billed in the interstate market for health-care services. Therefore, Congress asserts, the WFA is valid as a regulation of commerce.
Is the WFA a proper exercise of the Congress’ Commerce power? _________________
7. After several years of rising unemployment nationally, and falling wage levels, Congress passes a statute prohibiting the employment of any person under the age of 19. Congress’ intent is to keep teenagers in high school or college, where they may or may not learn something but will at least not be competing with adults for jobs, thus allowing wage rates to rise. The state of Alahoma employs many 17- and 18-year-olds, for such posts as cleaners in state parks and apprentice state troopers. Alahoma estimates that its total payroll costs will rise by 8% if it is required to obey the new federal statute (which by its terms applies to government as well as private-sector employees).
(A) Assuming that the federal statute falls within Congress’ power to regulate commerce, what is the strongest argument that Alahoma can make as to why the Constitution requires that the state’s own hiring be exempted from the statute? _________________
(B) Will this argument succeed? _________________