Several aspects of the decision echo the Rehnquist Court
. In some ways, this is a big victory for Federalism in general.
points out that,
NFIB brings interpretation of the [Necessary and Proper] clause back to Marshall’s originalist opinion in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819): The clause grants Congress no additional powers. Rather, per Marshall and Roberts, the Clause simply restates the background principle that Congress can exercise powers which are merely “incidental” to Congress’s enumerated powers. For example, since the Constitution expressly gives Congress to power to establish the rules of bankruptcy, Congress can enact laws against bankruptcy fraud.
(...) plaintiffs who wish to challenge congressional and presidential overreaching have much stronger Supreme Court precedent than they did yesterday.
Roberts walked a fine line here, but in the end, he kept the Court's credibility intact (something that had become strained by decisions like Bush v. Gore
and public upbraids from the administration). Furthermore, he dug his heels in on the concept of Federalism, and by declaring the law at hand a tax
, he cleverly punted it back to the legislative branch.