During the confirmation hearings for President Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, Democrats repeatedly warned that Barrett would destroy the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. They brought in witnesses to testify about how great Obamacare was. Well, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Obamacare case on Tuesday, and it seems unlikely the Court will strike down the health care law.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared unwilling to strike down the entire law, although they agreed with the other justices that the now-toothless individual mandate forcing people to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.
The Court’s three liberal justices will likely vote to uphold Obamacare in its entirety and would likely form a majority by joining a decision to cut away only the mandate, which Chief Justice John Roberts upheld in 2012 by redefining it as a tax, a tax which Congress zeroed out in 2017.
“Would Congress want the rest of the law to survive if the unconstitutional provision were severed? Here, Congress left the rest of the law intact,” Roberts said during oral arguments in California v. Texas. “That seems to be a compelling answer to the question.”
Kavanaugh said the Court’s recent decisions on the matter suggest “that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate and leave the rest of the act in place.”
“The Court did not express even the slightest interest in setting aside the entire Affordable Care Act,” Constitutional law professor Josh Blackman said in a statement on the oral arguments. “I still think a majority of the Court may find that the mandate remains an unconstitutional requirement to buy insurance. But the Court will likely stop there.”
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