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Far-right judges are crafting a theory that would empower courts to strike down trillions of dollars in federal spending

Slate: “…During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden criticized Republicans for proposing to “sunset” Medicare and Social Security every five years. In response, many Republican lawmakers booed the president, prompting him to quip, “So, folks, as we all apparently agree: Social Security and Medicare is off the books now.” Perhaps these Republicans really do disagree with a plan put forth by a member of their leadership mandating periodic expiration of popular entitlement spending. But at least some of their judges are all for it—and want to transform the idea into constitution law. Recently, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals crafted a theory that would empower courts to strike down mandatory spending on federal programs, compelling Congress to either reappropriate the money or let the programs die. This radical and antidemocratic reading of the Constitution would threaten Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, unemployment benefits, child nutrition assistance, and so much more…All told, seven judges on the 5th Circuit have now endorsed the notion that courts must strike down appropriations that allow “perpetual funding” of government agencies or programs. If their view becomes the law of the land, it will empower courts to abolish trillions of dollars in entitlement spending. Why? Because today two-thirds of annual federal spending is “mandatory”—including some of our nation’s most beloved social safety net programs. All of this spending amounted to $5.2 trillion in fiscal year 2021 that would suddenly be at risk of elimination by judicial fiat…”

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