News is spreading nationwide about a Supreme Court bombshell given the fight over Obamacare isn’t over yet.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District ruled earlier this week that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional — and Democrats are already vowing to appeal it straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power,” said the court.
“However, the appeals court ruling largely ducked the central question of whether the Affordable Care Act remained valid after Congress removed the penalty for not having health insurance and it sent the case back to a Texas federal judge who previously ruled the entire law was unconstitutional to reconsider how much of it could survive,” Politico reported. “The high-stakes ruling keeps the legal threat to Obamacare alive while reducing the likelihood the Supreme Court could render a final verdict on the law before the 2020 elections.”
The 5th panel wrote, “The individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power. On the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist.”
As part of the GOP tax reform plan that was passed in December 2017, the mandate forcing individuals to obtain health insurance or suffer a penalty was scrapped.
That is what is being referred to here.
“On the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist,” the court continued.
The question is now whether the rest of the law can be upheld without the mandate (i.e. severability).
The case has been sent back to a district judge who previously found the entire law unconstitutional.
Democratic-led states heading Obamacare’s legal defense said they would challenge the appeals court ruling directly to the Supreme Court, calling for a quicker resolution on the law’s fate.
“It’s time to get rid of the uncertainty,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who’s leading the Democratic defense. “In many respects, many of us believe that this is a merry-go-around. The last thing Americans need is to have their security and the health of their kids depend on these circular arguments that are going around.”
Beyond that, this marks the third time the courts have had the opportunity to strike down Obamacare, which many legal experts continue to argue is illegal.
While conservatives currently have a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, many worry that Chief Justice John Roberts would save the law again.
Back in 2010, Roberts — a Republican who often votes with liberals on the Court — sided with the four liberal Justices and ruled that Obamacare was constitutional and would be the law of the land.
If the case goes before the SCOTUS again, many worry that Roberts will cast another deciding vote in favor of saving Obamacare one more time.