ACA Survives Latest Supreme Court Challenge

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

The Supreme Court released its opinion today in a highly anticipated third challenge to President Obama’s signature health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

The 7-2 majority opinion, authored by Justice Breyer, decided Texas v. California on procedural grounds, holding that because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 set the individual mandate penalty at $0, the plaintiffs were unable to establish harm.

Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion that would also have decided the case on a lack of standing grounds. Justices Alito and Gorsuch would have endorsed a novel theory of standing through inseverability. In short, the dissenting opinion would have found that a case or controversy existed because plaintiffs were harmed by certain provisions of the ACA that were inseverable from an unlawful provision—even though they were not harmed by the actual provision that they argued was unlawful. However, the majority opined that severability analysis (in which the Court determines whether Congress would have intended that certain closely-related provisions stand or fall together when the constitutionality of only one is at issue) should not be considered until after a provision has already been determined to be unlawful, and thus could not factor into the initial question of whether plaintiffs have standing to bring a lawsuit.

The Supreme Court had previously upheld the bulk of the ACA in two prior lawsuits, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sibelius, in 2012, and King v. Burwell, in 2015.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.