Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Hank Berrien.
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could conceivably rid the nation of ObamaCare.
Two petitions revolving around Obamacare, one by Democratic states and one from Republican states, want the Supreme Court to review a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that invalidated Obamacare. The Court will hear oral arguments next fall.
- In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts agreed with the court's four more liberal justices that the mandate was constitutional because the penalty imposed on individuals who did not buy health insurance was a tax, which the Constitution allows Congress to impose. But in 2017, Congress enacted an amendment to the ACA that set the penalty for not buying health insurance at zero - but left the rest of the ACA in place. That change led to the dispute that is now before the court: A group of states led by Texas (along with several individuals) went to federal court, where they argued that because the penalty for not buying health insurance is zero, it is no longer a tax and the mandate is therefore unconstitutional. And the mandate is such an integral part of the ACA, they contended, that the rest of the law must be struck down as well.
, "U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor agreed, adding that the mandate was so central to the law that without it the rest of the law must fall, too."
Last December, the 5th Circuit upheld the district court's decision that Obamacare is unconstitutional, but the court of appeals sent the case back to the lower court. In January, the Democratic states asked the Supreme Court to supersede the lower courts and rule whether Obamacare is constitutional, but the Supreme Court declined.
Howe notes, "In February the federal government, Texas and other states and the individuals challenging the mandate all filed briefs opposing review. They stressed that the court should stay out of the dispute for now and instead wait for the lower courts to rule."
But on Monday, the Supreme Court granted California's petition for review. The justices will have to decide whether the Obamacare mandate, which Justice John Roberts voted for along with the four liberal justices on the court, is unconstitutional. The Court also granted Texas' petition, which wants the Court to declare the district court correct when it decided Obamacare was invalid.
Roberts' decision in 2012 to join the liberal judges on the Court and vote that the Obamacare mandate was constitutional shocked the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the other conservative justices on the Court. Jan Crawford of CBS News explained
at the time:
- Some of the conservatives, such as Justice Clarence Thomas, deliberately avoid news articles on the court when issues are pending (and avoid some publications altogether, such as The New York Times). They've explained that they don't want to be influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal. But Roberts pays attention to media coverage ...
- There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the court - and to Roberts' reputation - if the court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the president himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld. Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint.It was around this time that it also became clear to the conservative justices that Roberts was, as one put it, "wobbly," the sources said.