Ninth Circuit Concludes Arizona Has Standing to Challenge Conditions on COVID Relief Funds
In March 2021, Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan Act, providing almost $200 billion to the states in pandemic relief funding. As is usual, the money came with strings attached. One ARPA provision prohibits states from using the funds “directly or indirectly” to offset lost revenues from tax cuts. Multiple state objected to this condition, arguing it is both coercive and ambiguous, though they still accepted the money.
A half-dozen suits were filed by states challenging the ARPA provision. The federal government responded by arguing, among other things, that the states lacked standing to challenge this provision. Some district courts accepted this argument. Some others, including one here in Ohio, did not.
Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that Arizona has Article III standing to challenge the ARPA provision. Judge Gould wrote the opinion for the court, joined by Judge Bennett. Judge Nelson concurred. This decision in Arizona v. Yellen is the first federal appellate court decision to resolve this question.
Here is how Judge Gould summarizes his opinion:
It is well established that Congr
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