The arguments at the federal court were a stark reminder of the enormous stakes of the case, not only for millions of people who gained health insurance through Obamacare but for the political futures of Trump and other candidates in 2020
A three-judge panel heard 90 minutes of oral arguments in a closely watched case that threatens the health coverage of millions.
The arguments in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit were a stark reminder of the enormous stakes of the case, not only for millions of people who gained health insurance through the law but for the political futures of Mr. Trump and other candidates in the 2020 elections.
That has left a group of 21 states with Democratic attorneys general to intervene to defend the law, along with the House of Representatives, which entered the case after Democrats won control of the chamber last fall.
that saved the law, its decision was based on Congress’s power to impose taxes.
The arguments did reveal some tensions between the Republican states that brought the case, led by Texas, and Mr. Trump’s Justice Department. For example, a lawyer for Texas took issue with a puzzling new Justice Department position — revealed in a May brief — that the ruling should apply only in the 18 plaintiff states, not nationwide. The Republican states would need to evaluate if they had “been the victim of a bait and switch,” said the Texas lawyer, Kyle D. Hawkins.
Judge Elrod also asked how the federal government would respond if a stay issued by the lower court after Judge O’Connor’s decision was lifted and its order striking down the law took effect.
“They could do this tomorrow,” Judge Engelhardt said, leading Mr. Letter to dryly point out that Mr. Trump would need to sign off on new laws, too.
“Why would the Senate not also be here to say, ‘Oh, this is what we meant when we wrote this?’” he asked. “They’re sort of the 800-pound gorilla that’s not in the room.”
The court had also asked the parties in a letter last month what the appropriate conclusion of the case should be if the Justice Department, by no longer defending any part of the law, has “mooted the controversy.” But it barely addressed that question on Tuesday.
last year that the rest of the law should survive even if its mandate to buy insurance was found unconstitutional, and who have criticized the plaintiffs’ case as weak.Read more: NYT Health
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