• March 4, 2015

    by Jeremy Leaming

    Following oral argument today in the latest effort to topple the Affordable Care Act, SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston says a major part of the private discussions among Supreme Court justices will center on the harm they could do to the nation’s health care system if a majority buys the challengers’ argument in King v. Burwell.

    ACS President Caroline Fredrickson on MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” tore into the challengers’ statutory based argument, saying it strays far from precedent on statutory interpretation.

    Fredrickson, discussing a federalism-based question from Justice Anthony Kennedy in today’s arguments, said it would be absurd to believe Congress placed into the health care legislation a “ticking time-bomb,” which would strip tax support from large numbers of the currently insured in an effort to coerce 34 states to set up their own exchanges.

    Instead Fredrickson argued that the justices should look at the text within its context. This is basic statutory interpretation learned early in law school, she said.

    See video of “The Cycle," below:


  • March 4, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments for King v. Burwell. Robert Schlesinger writes in U.S. News that a Supreme Court decision against the government would result in both human and political misery. ACS President Caroline Fredrickson is quoted in the article, explaining that a ruling against the government would be a problematic new type of judicial activism.

    Geoffrey R. Stone discusses the case at The Daily Beast, arguing that it should be an open and shut case in favor of the government.

    At Vox, Adrianna McIntyre provides a look at the legal doctrine that could save the Affordable Care Act.  

    Sahil Kapur reports at Talking Points Memo that Senate GOP leaders are unlikely to have a new health care bill ready by the announcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case.

    Other coverage of the case come from Nicholas Bagley in The New York Times, who argues that the plaintiffs have misread the Affordable Care Act, and Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, who writes that the defeat of the government in the case would hurt Republicans the most.

    In other news, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released a new report on the state of race in politics. Among its findings is the fact that blacks, in terms of policy outcomes, were the least advantaged group in America according to data from 1972 to 2010.

    Dawinder S. Sidhu writes in The Atlantic that the Supreme Court has a chance to end the practice of employers using dress codes to hide visibly religious employees.

    Fred Barbash reports for The Washington Post that the Alabama Supreme Court has, in defiance of federal courts, ordered judges in the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

  • March 3, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    At MSNBC, Ari Melber argues that the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell is a charade.

    Sahil Kapur writes for Talking Points Memo that if the Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act, dysfunction in the Republican-led Congress will lead to healthcare chaos.

    At the Huffington Post, Jonathan Cohn examines the path of lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and its dubious basis.

    Simon Lazarus reviews the new book from Robert A. Katzmann at Democracy and considers how King v. Burwell will show whether conservative justices will “follow common-sense principles” or side with those who hope to rationalize “politically driven, legally flimsy results.”

    Noah Feldman takes a look at the recent Arizona redistricting case at Bloomberg View and asserts that the founders would approve of the state’s referendum model of redistricting.

    At The Nation, Ari Berman asserts that racism, inequality, and segregation persist fifty years after Selma.

  • March 2, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Sara Rosenbaum, Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University and Georges Benjamin, executive director, American Public Health Association

    King v Burwell carries profound public health implications.

    The central legal question in this case is whether the Internal Revenue Service properly interprets 26 U.S.C. 36B to make the federal premium tax credits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) available to all eligible taxpayers through the Exchanges in every state. It is evident from the government’s brief as well as briefs filed by leading economists, who argue the ACA cannot function without premium subsidies   and insurers, who argue that broad risk pools are an essential component of the ACA and therefore must have been required for every state regardless of who runs the exchange that a Supreme Court decision in favor of the petitioners in King v. Burwell could unravel the industry in dozens of states rather than strengthen it, as the ACA  was structured to do.

    But the harms flowing from a decision against the government transcend a crisis in the insurance markets: by stripping residents of subsidies in the 34 states that depend on the federal Exchange, a decision against the government would carry enormous implications for public health.  For this reason, over 100 public health deans and scholars joined the American Public Health Association to file an amicus brief on behalf of the government, arguing in favor of a ruling that would uphold access to affordable insurance for nearly all Americans, regardless of the state in which they live. 

  • March 2, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    The Editorial Board of The New York Times criticizes the legal attack of the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell.

    Robert Barnes argues in The Washington Post that King v. Burwell threatens Chief Justice John Roberts’s work to create a Supreme Court that appears less partisan.

    In the Los Angeles Times, Brianne J. Gorod predicts that the Chief Justice will rule for the government in King v. Burwell, arguing that “He’s too good a lawyer to do otherwise.”

    In The Huffington Post, Geoffrey R. Stone calls the recent decision to close the University of North Carolina Law School’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity “a blatant and dangerous instance of political interference with academic freedom.”

    Matt Apuzzo writes for The New York Times about the Justice Department’s critical report of the police in Ferguson, Missouri.