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Source and Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

California v. Texas & U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas


California v. Texas & U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court, denial of expedited certiorari, Jan. 21, 2020): The Supreme Court declined to grant expedited review of petitioners’ request for certiorari on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, and will consider the requests within a normal time frame. At issue is the December 2019 ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. The court reasoned that the individual mandate can no longer be read as an exercise of Congress’ taxing power, under NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), because the 2017 Congress set the shared responsibility payment to $0 through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The individual mandate is therefore a legal command to purchase insurance that lacks constitutional authority. The Fifth Circuit also reversed the district court’s holding that individual mandate is inseverable from the rest of the ACA. It ordered the district court to conduct “a more searching inquiry” on the issue of severability. In separate, but related, petitions, states and the House of Representatives argued the Supreme Court should expedite review to address the intolerable and prolonged uncertainty in the healthcare sector, if required to wait for the case to wind its way through the lower courts. Read the Fifth Circuit’s decision here. Read the Supreme Court filings in California v. Texas here and in U.S. House of Representatives v. Texas here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – February 18, 2020.

View all cases under “Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers.”