The Supreme Court
has rejected the most recent constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act
, which means that 31 million Americans will keep their health insurance
and preexisting condition protections will remain in place.
has been resurrected.
This time, the threat was a lawsuit
originally filed in 2018 by 20 state Republican
officials and supported in court by the Trump administration
, despite the fact that the federal government almost always defends statutes in such litigation.
The ruling was 7-2, with Justice Stephen Breyer
writing the opinion, and the court dismissed the lawsuit based on “standing,” which meant that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate an injury
that required a merits ruling.
lawsuit centered on the claim that former President Donald Trump
and the Republican Congress
inadvertently created a fatal constitutional flaw in the law when they reduced the penalty for not carrying insurance, known as the “individual mandate,” to zero in 2017.
The GOP lawsuit claimed that the provision had lost its justification because they had changed the dollar
value of the mandate but not its authorizing language, and because a previous Supreme Court ruling had upheld the mandate only as a tax, and because a previous Supreme Court ruling had upheld the mandate only as a tax, and because a penalty of zero dollars cannot be a tax.
As a result, according to the lawsuit, the entire law had to be repealed, which would have wreaked havoc on the health-care system, which has adapted to the law's far-reaching rules and funding arrangements.
Even conservative scholars acknowledged that the case, which became known as California
, was a nonsensical one from the start, with several lawyers who had been architects of previous challenges urging the justices to reject it.
Nonetheless, the lawsuit was successful in two lower courts, both of which were presided over by Republican-appointed judges
And, while the Affordable Care Act has survived two previous Supreme Court challenges, one of them was a 5-4 decision in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg provided one of the majority votes
Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, has since taken Ginsburg's seat, which she occupied just in time for oral arguments in November.
Barrett didn't say much during the trial
, but several of her conservative colleagues did, expressing open skepticism of the lawsuit's central arguments.
That proved to be a foreshadowing of what was to come.
This is a developing story, so please return for updates.