Douglas v. Independent Living Center Decided

August 10, 2011

Whether private individuals may raise a claim that California has failed to comply with federal Medicaid requirements by suing directly under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

This dispute arises from California's decision to alter its Medicaid reimbursement rates. That decision was challenged by various private parties on the theory that California’s new rate structure is inconsistent with federal law. The issue before the Supreme Court is whether plaintiffs in these circumstances may sue directly under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. The ACLU amicus brief argues that the ability of private parties to raise Supremacy Clause claims has been critical to civil rights enforcement and long recognized by the Supreme Court.

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