Affordable Care Act

  • February 19, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    In the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik asserts that the continued unraveling of the case against the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell reveals that the case is merely “an ideological attack…masquerading as a rule-of-law case.”

    Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post examines whether GOP lawmakers have changed their opinions on the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.

    Cristian Farias argues at The New Republic that the recent federal judge’s temporary injunction that blocked President Barack Obama’s immigration action was a political move.

    In The New York Times, ACS Board of Directors Member Linda Greenhouse considers with the Supreme Court will hear another case on affirmative action.

    At the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice, Michael Li writes that two cases before the Supreme Court this term may allow politicians greater freedom to gerrymander.

    Irin Carmon reports for MSNBC that Mississippi has requested that the Supreme court rule on a law that would close the state’s last abortion clinic.

  • February 18, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Rob Weiner, formerly Associate Deputy Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice, is a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP. This post first appeared at Balkinization.

    The issue of standing to sue has prompted the latest commotion in King v. Burwell, where the Petitioners ask the Supreme Court to deny low-income families the tax subsidies granted under the Affordable Care Act to help them purchase health insurance.  To bring a lawsuit in federal court, plaintiffs must have standing to sue.  The prerequisite for standing is injury.  Plaintiffs challenging a federal law thus must show either that it caused them injury or that they face an imminent risk of injury.  If the risk abates or is too speculative, the litigants have no standing, and the court therefore no longer has jurisdiction.

    The plaintiffs (now Petitioners) in King asserted standing based on a roundabout explanation of the harm they would suffer if they received this tax relief.  The subsidies, they claimed, would lower their cost of insurance below eight percent of their income, the threshold for the individual mandate to apply.  They therefore would be required under the ACA to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty—a sufficient injury to confer standing.

    Recently, however, some enterprising investigative reporters have raised doubts whether the subsidies would in fact cause any of the plaintiffs in King to be subject to the individual mandate.  Two of the four plaintiffs, it turns out, are veterans.  Eligibility for VA benefits, or at least enrollment in the program, would exempt them from the individual mandate.  A third plaintiff has relocated since the case was filed, and geographic variation in the cost of insurance could affect whether the subsidies put her under the eight percent threshold.  And reporters have questioned whether the fourth plaintiff has so little income that she would be exempt from the mandate even with the subsidies.

  • February 12, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Jenny Kutner reports at Salon on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s belief that the United States would quickly adapt to nationwide same-sex marriage.

    At The New Republic, Brian Beutler asserts that the conservative case against the Affordable Care Act has reached the point of absurdity.

    William Greider considers in The Nation whether 2016 GOP presidential candidates would try to follow the example of Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore.

    At The Atlantic, Inimai M. Chettiar discusses a new report that shows how incarcerating more offenders may be counterproductive to reducing crime.

    Ciara Torres-Spelliscy writes at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice that a new case could change campaign finance disclosure laws.

  • February 11, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Sahil Kapur discusses at Talking Points Memo how supporters of the Affordable Care Act are tailoring their arguments to winning Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vote.

    Joey Meyer and Brianne Gorod argue at the Constitutional Accountability Center that the case against the Affordable Care Act is quickly unraveling.

    The Editorial Board of The Washington Post asserts that despite confusion and resistance, Alabama is a victory for same-sex marriage.

    Luke Brinker writes for Salon that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has issued an executive order that removes gender identity and sexual orientation from the classes of protected Kansas government employees.

    Walter Shapiro argues at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice that the influx of big money into the 2016 primaries could interfere with voter preferences.

  • February 10, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Noah Feldman writes in Bloomberg View about the same-sex marriage controversy in Alabama that has emerged after the Supreme Court refused to grant a stay that would have delayed the issuing of marriage licenses for same-sex couples in the state.

    At NPR, Nina Totenberg provides additional coverage of the Supreme Court’s refusal to stop same-sex marriages in Alabama.

    Brian Beutler argues in The New Republic that many Republicans hope that the Supreme Court will save the Affordable Care Act.

    At Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Leslie Griffin discusses recent consequences of the Hobby Lobby decision and the breadth of potential accommodation to religious employers who object to federal laws.

    Steven Mazie considers at The Economist the four words at the center of the Affordable Care Act case and warns against mere “shoddy draftsmanship” taking away healthcare from millions of Americans.

    On Alternet, ACS’s Jeremy Leaming writes about Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s previous attempts to wage a war on the church-state separation.