The Supreme Court may have dealt the final death blow to any more challenges to Obamacare on Thursday as the nation’s highest court threw out a lawsuit that was backed by Republican-led states, determining there was no legal ground to challenge the healthcare law.
The Affordable Care Act has survived the three major challenges brought against it since its passing in 2010.
Former President Donald Trump had attempted to get the law overturned, but the Republican Congress only went so far as to get rid of the individual mandate as part of the 2017 Trump tax cuts.
The decision by the Court was split 7-2, with conservative justices siding with liberals on the Court – with the exceptions of Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Neil Gorsuch being the dissenting opinions.
Judges that were nominated by Trump, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, ruled in favor of the law.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority decision, saying that none of the challengers of the law could prove any legal injury due to the law.
Breyer wrote, “Unsurprisingly, the states have not demonstrated that an unenforceable mandate will cause their residents to enroll in valuable benefits programs that they would otherwise forgo.”
President Joe Biden also weighed in on the decision in a Tweet, referring to a now famous quote of his.
Those challenging the law argued that, because the penalty aspect of the individual mandate was removed, the entire law should be scrapped because the actual mandate to purchase insurance still remains in place, and was at the heart of the function of the law.
The Court stated that those challenging Obamacare failed to show how they had been hurt by a mandate already made ineffective.
After Texas and the other states filed suit, a group of Democrat-led states and the House of Representatives attempted to intervene in the case in an attempt to preserve Obamacare.
After the decision was handed down, Republicans said they would continue to fight Democrats attempting to involve the federal government even more in individual Americans’ health care.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, put out a statement which said, “Instead of lurching toward socialized medicine, we should be working together to modernize our health care system with solutions like price transparency, lowering drug costs without government price control schemes, removing bureaucratic red tape, and spurring more private investment for breakthrough cures and treatments.”
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion to Breyer’s which said, “Although this Court has erred twice before in cases involving the Affordable Care Act, it does not err today.”
Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented. Alito wrote in his dissent that the individual mandate was “clearly unconstitutional,” and said of the court’s ruling preserving the law that it was an example of “judicial inventiveness.”
Alito continued, writing, “I conclude that those provisions are inextricably linked to the individual mandate and that the States have therefore demonstrated on the merits that those other provisions cannot be enforced against them.”
And in a rare display of snark, or possibly frustration, Alito appeared to comment on past rulings from the Court regarding Obamacare. He implied that the interpretation of the law might not be the driving force in some decisions.
“No one can fail to be impressed by the lengths to which this Court has been willing to go to defend the ACA against all threats. A penalty is a tax. The United States is a State. And 18 States who bear costly burdens under the ACA cannot even get a foot in the door to raise a constitutional challenge.”
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