A number of prominent Democrats have spent weeks predicting that the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett would signal the death of the Affordable Care Act when an upcoming challenge reached the nation’s highest court for review.
That case came this week, however, and legal analyst Jonathan Turley indicated that the conservative-leaning bench is expected to leave the bulk of the healthcare law intact.
“Leave the rest of the act in place”
Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case focused on the issue of “severability” in regard to the law — specifically whether it can stand without an associated tax penalty repealed by Republican lawmakers.
The GOP argued that the entire law must be struck down, a position some on the left predicted Barrett and a majority of justices might support.
As it turned out, however, multiple justices seemed to make it clear that there is no partisan plot to repeal the ACA.
Turley noted that he was skeptical of the Democratic Party’s narrative, citing statements made during oral arguments this week by both Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Looking at our severability precedents, it does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision, and leave the rest of the act in place, the provisions dealing with pre-existing conditions and the rest,” Kavanaugh said.
“Hyperbole from the hearing”
Roberts added his belief that it is “hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act.”
According to Turley, that means at least five Supreme Court justices — a majority — are likely to vote in favor of keeping the law.
A decision in the case is not expected until later this year, though Democrats are expressing relief in the wake of the two conservative justices’ remarks.
Given the Democratic Party’s campaign against Barrett as it relates to this ACA challenge, Turley is among the many Americans wondering if “any of these senators or analysts now acknowledge” the obvious “hyperbole from the hearing.”
After being named by Democrats and the mainstream media as the apparent president-elect, Joe Biden used his emerging bully pulpit to rail against the Trump administration’s latest healthcare challenge, declaring: “The consequences of the Trump administration’s argument are not academic or an abstraction. For many Americans, they are a matter of life and death in the literal sense.”