Trump administration says no rush for Supreme Court to hear Obamacare appeal

Henrietta Strickland
January 12, 2020

Defenders of the law asked the Supreme Court for a quick ruling, but now the Justice Department and the Republican states argue the lower courts can litigate the case without urgency for the Supreme Court, per the report. However, the appeals court ordered the district court to re-examine its decision on how that effected the rest of the health care law; U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, siding with the Justice Department, had previously ruled that the whole law must be go down with the mandate. "Far from being urgently needed, this Court's review thus would be premature", the filing stated.

The Supreme Court does not often take up an issue such as this until it has fully made its way through the lower courts.

"Absent any operative ruling invalidating the ACA's other provisions in the interim, the accelerated review petitioners seek is unnecessary", he added.

He said instead of intervening, the court should let the lower courts complete their own consideration of the question of severability. The Dept. of Justice is supporting a lawsuit brought by Republican governors and state attorneys general that has already received a ruling finding the individual mandate is unconstitutional. It kicked that decision back to the same district court that originally heard the case.

The judges in the majority said the "individual mandate", which required people to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty, was invalid after Congress removed the tax penalty in 2017, rendering the law unenforceable.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but did not offer a legal opinion on the remainder of the law, requesting a lower court to analyze it more thoroughly, according to the report.

The Justice Department and several red states urged the Supreme Court on Friday not to expedite its consideration of a major anti-Obamacare lawsuit coming out of Texas, as Democratic state attorneys general and the U.S. House requested last week.

The House told the Supreme Court last week that the 5th Circuit decision "poses a severe, immediate, and ongoing threat to the orderly operation of health-care markets throughout the country, casts considerable doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care, and leaves a critical sector of the nation's economy in unacceptable limbo".

"There may come a day when this court's review is appropriate, but it is after the issue of severability is decided", the state officials argued (pdf).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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