The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest Republican challenge under the Affordable Care Act, preserving Barack Obama’s flagship health reforms in the Democrats ’big win.
In a 7-2 opinion released Thursday, a nine-member court denied an attempt to repeal the comprehensive Affordable Care Act, which provided health insurance for tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans.
Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, joined by two other liberals, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as well as four Conservatives: Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Samuel Alito objected, joined by fellow Conservative Neil Gorsuch.
Thursday’s decision marked the third time the country’s highest court has rejected challenges to the ACA, following verdicts in 2012 and 2015. The latest case was initiated by a group of 18 states led by Texas and two people. Donald Trump The White House filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.
Prosecutors outlined a controversial “individual mandate” that originally required all Americans to have health insurance or a fine.
In its 2012 decision supporting the ACA, the Supreme Court held that a penalty for non-existence of insurance could be characterized as a tax, making it a constitutional exercise of the powers of Congress.
However, Congress later reduced the sentence to zero. Texas-led prosecutors have sued and argued that the mandate is no longer constitutional and that the entire law should be repealed.
But the majority determined that the plaintiffs did not suffer any damage that would give them a basis for a lawsuit.
“In order to be eligible for status, the plaintiff must” state a personal injury that can be fairly traced to the defendant’s alleged unlawful conduct and that is likely to be compensated for the relief sought, “Breyer wrote. allegedly illegal behavior here. “
The decision in California against Texas is one of the first high-profile verdicts since Barrett joined the bench last October, reversing the balance of the state’s highest court, 6-3, in favor of lawyers appointed by Republican presidents.
Some Progressives in recent weeks have called for Breyer, 82, the oldest justice at the age of 82, to step down so that Democratic President Joe Biden can nominate a liberal replacement while his party controls Congress. Supreme Court judges are nominated by presidents for life appointments, but their appointments must be confirmed by a simple majority in the Senate.
Thursday’s ruling, however, emphasized that judges do not always rule ideological lines. Only two Republican-appointed lawyers, Alito and Gorsuch, opposed the decision.
“Today’s decision is the third part of our epic Affordable Care Act trilogy and follows the same pattern as meals one and two,” Alito wrote in his disagreement. “In all three episodes, the court faced a serious threat with the Affordable Care Act, performing an incredible rescue.”
The ACA, often referred to as “Obamacare,” was signed by law in 2010. The law has divided public opinion, but has become increasingly popular among American voters in recent years. Since its adoption, it has endured several legal challenges, as well as Republican-led efforts to repeal the law in Congress.
“After more than ten years of attacks on the Affordable Care Act through Congress and the courts, today’s decision is the third major challenge to the US law. The Supreme Court refused – it is time to move forward and continue to build on this important law, “Biden said in a statement after the decision.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, called Thursday’s verdict “a significant victory for Democrats ‘work to defend the protection of people with existing conditions against Republicans’ tireless efforts to dismantle them.”
Her comments were echoed by Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, who vowed to upgrade existing legislation. Democrats have called for an expansion of Medicaid – public health insurance for low-income Americans – among other health care reforms.
“Let me say definitely: The Affordable Care Act has won, the Supreme Court has ruled, the ACA is here to stay,” Schumer said.
Ron Klein, the White House chief of staff, wrote on Twitter: “It’s still the BFD,” an obvious reference to a moment in 2010 when Vice President Biden was heard whispering to Obama when signing the ACA bill: “This is a big fucking thing. ”