Court Battles

Supreme Court sets Friday deadline for responses in ObamaCare case

Greg Nash

The Supreme Court on Monday told the Trump administration and a group of states to respond by the end of the week to an effort by Democrats to expedite a challenge to a lower court ruling that struck down a key tenet of ObamaCare.

The court asked the health care law’s opponents to file a response to the motion by Friday afternoon. Democrats challenging the decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional asked the Supreme Court last week to expedite a briefing schedule and to hear the case before the current term ends in June.

“The uncertainty created by this litigation is especially problematic because individuals, businesses, and state and local governments make important decisions in reliance on the ACA,” the group of Democratic attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, wrote in a filing. “Each year, for example, millions of Americans make life-changing decisions—like starting a family or changing jobs—in reliance on the ACA’s patient protections and the greater access to affordable healthcare coverage it provides.”

The 5th Circuit said it was unconstitutional for the health care law to require people to purchase health insurance and returned the case to the district court level.

Monday’s briefing order sets an accelerated timeline for a process that normally takes months.

The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will hear the case. If it chooses to take up the challenge this term, it would add another politically charged issue to an already loaded docket.

The high court is already slated to decide the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, LGBT workplace protections and a restrictive Louisiana abortion law.

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