The hint of the outcome during the first day of oral argument (on the impact of the Anti-Injunction Act on the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the ACA case)
The difference between Social Security/Medicare and Medicaid under the Spending Clause, in light of the ACA opinion
But first, I need to point out that Medicaid, unlike Social Security and Medicare, are programs structured as partnerships between the respective states and the federal government, each paying some portion of the cost, and that Medicaid has always contained a provision that makes state participation voluntary and that allows states to remove themselves from the program if they want to. Social Security and Medicare, by contrast, are solely federally-funded and federally-run programs.
From SCOTUSblog: The individual mandate survives as a tax. OH. MY. GOD!!!! — REPEATEDLY UPDATED (seven updates so far)
UPDATE: From SCOTUSblog: “The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.”
TOTAL, TOTAL VICTORY !!!!
The most talked-about part surely will be “individuals can simply refuse to pay the tax and not comply with the mandate” part. Is it really a mandate at all if there’s no penalty for refusal to comply? So maybe it’s not a total victory, after all. But it’s still a big, big victory.
(The Medicaid part of the ruling has no effect on the breadth or implementation of the law at all.)
Looks like everything revolves on it being a tax.
Yup. Total, total victory.
Lurking in the background is a way to decide the case on tax law grounds. No one can be prosecuted, punished or fined for violating the mandate. In fact, the word “mandate” does not appear in the law. In “practical operation,” the administration argued, it’s just a tax law.
If the mandate is really just a tax, that would be supported by the Constitution, which says Congress “shall have the power to lay and collect taxes … to provide for the common defense and general welfare.”
So, in the end, the justices could agree the law’s required tax payments are constitutional, while also making clear the government does not have broad power to mandate purchases.
Late last year, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, an influential appointee of President George W. Bush and a friend of the chief justice, wrote an opinion arguing for treating the mandate as a tax law, not a regulation of commerce.
During oral arguments in March, the conservative justices sounded highly skeptical of giving the government the power to mandate purchases. But at one point, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayorasked whether it would be constitutional for Congress to assess a tax for health insurance and include an exemption for everyone who had insurance.
“The government might be able to do that,” said Paul D. Clement, the lawyer for the Republican states suing to overturn the healthcare law. If so, the liberals asked, why can’t Congress require people to have private insurance or pay a tax penalty?
Having the law upheld on tax grounds would be a big win for the president.
UPDATE: Here’s an outstanding discussion of the Arizona-statute opinion at Scotusblog.
*The part of that sentence that reads “a tactic that violates the Court’s own procedural norms and, in that instance, its own Article III “jurisdictional” precedents” was added for clarity on 6/26.
- More on the activity/inactivity canard in the ACA litigation
- New wrinkles in the ACA litigation – Part I
- New wrinkles in the ACA litigation – Part II
- Markets and the ACA: Why the Supreme Court Will Uphold the ACA
- It’s not about regulating markets, after all! It’s about regulating the individual!**
- Paul Clement’s weird tail-can-morph-the-dog ACA-litigationargumen
- Judge Sutton Channels …Me?? States and individual liberty
- Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Strange Political Prediction—AndOther Recent ACA-Litigation Events
- The Plot Sickens – The Heart of the ACA Litigation Movesto the Supreme Court
- Twenty-Six Republican State Attorneys General v. W. MittRomney (subtitle: Does Romney’s Economic Plan Violate State Sovereignty?)* [See asterisked correction below]
- The Cliff’s Notes for my post from yesterday subtitled“Does Romney’s Economic Plan Violate State Sovereignty
**I added this one to the list after I posted this post earlier today.
Greenhouse’s is titled “Never Before,” and the thrust of her article is that those two words—“never before”—are the sum and the (non)legal substance of the challengers’ arguments. “Unprecedented,” she notes, “is a description, not an analysis.” Or a legal argument. It is instead merely a political argument. And transparently so, which is why she predicts that the Court will uphold the statute, by a comfortable margin.
That, after all, is how we got Citizens United v. FEC. Roberts & Co. misjudged. Oops. Well, for heaven’s sake … I mean … y’know … who knew that the public would, um, actually get the Citizens United ruling?
Talking Points Memo reminds us that there are still ongoing legal issues regarding our healthcare system:
A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — comprised of two judges appointed by Republican presidents and one by a Democrat — upheld the constitutionality of a key section of President Obama’s health care law in a ruling released Tuesday.
Senior Judge Laurence Silberman and Judge Harry Edwards ruled to uphold the law — specifically the mandate that requires Americans to purchase health insurance — on the merits. Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented from their ruling, but he, too, would have ruled against the plaintiffs seeking to overturn the mandate. His opinion argued that federal courts lack jurisdiction to enjoin the mandate, which functions similarly to a tax.
Update: See Mark Thoma’s article on Why we need an individual mandate for health insurance.