On June 28, 2021, Ha Kung Wong was quoted in Part B News on the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down California v. Texas, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
According to the article, California v. Texas originated in the case Texas v. Azar, a suit brought by several Republican state attorneys general and Republican governors as a challenge to the ACA. It was premised on an argument that the individual mandate part of the law — which had originally required Americans to either obtain insurance, usually at some cost to themselves, or pay a penalty — was unconstitutional, and that the ACA relied so heavily on the mandate that if the mandate were unconstitutional, the whole law must be as well. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue over the law's individual mandate.
Wong says with this decision the Court has shown its lack of enthusiasm for providing a judicial remedy for whatever political and administrative problems the ACA might have. “It seems pretty clear that the Supreme Court doesn’t want to address these issues on a subject matter level because they don’t think it’s the right forum for it,” Wong says.
“That might be surprising to a lot of people because the Court became a lot more conservative in recent years,” Wong says. “And that was often raised by opponents during the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings: She’s going to strike down the ACA. But though a lot of the Supreme Court Justices’ personal or political beliefs might be at odds with many aspects of the ACA, I think this decision demonstrates that they understand that legislation is the way those aspects should be addressed.”
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