Supreme Court upholds Obamacare’s individual mandate
The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 to reverse a lower court ruling that struck down the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act – popularly known as Obamacare.
Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said:
…that Texas and the other states that challenged the law failed to show that they were harmed by it. In legal terms, the states failed to demonstrate that they had standing.
“Neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have shown that the injury they will suffer or have suffered is ‘fairly traceable’ to the ‘allegedly unlawful conduct’ of which they complain…”
The decision cut across the Court’s partisan lines:
Several of the court’s conservatives, including Chief Justice John Roberts, joined Breyer’s opinion on Thursday. The others voting with Breyer were Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Justices Alito and Gorsuch were in the minority.
In a concurring opinion, Clarence Thomas wrote that while he may not approve of Obamacare, or how the Court decided two earlier challenges to the law, the matter before the Court this time was specific. And on those grounds, the plaintiffs’ challenge failed:
The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the harm they suffered is traceable to unlawful conduct. Although this Court has erred twice before in cases involving the Afford- able Care Act, it does not err today.
This third failure to strike down the law likely means the end of legal challenges. Writing in City Journal, Joel Zinberg says:
The Court’s unwillingness to grant standing and hear this most recent case on the merits suggests that a critical mass of justices will not look favorably on additional challenges—however creative they may be.
That leaves Obamacare opponents with two options: give up, or try the political route — which has already failed — one more time.