Fifth Circuit Court to Test Obamacare Proponents
Judge Reed C. O'Connor ruled the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional December 14, 2018. An appeal to the ruling now has the case back at the United States 5th Circuit at a hearing this Tuesday, July 9th in New Orleans. Three judges will hear presentations from both sides to determine whether the case will move forward to a full nine judge panel.
At the time of O’Connor’s ruling, the plaintiffs consisted of 20 anti-ACA states, two governors and 18 state attorneys general led by Texas’ Ken Paxton and Wisconsin’s Brad Schimel. Two additional plaintiffs, Neill Hurley and John Nantz, joined the lawsuit in April 2018. They are represented by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit in Austin, Texas.
By June 2018, the Trump Administration announced it had withdrawn its defense of Obamacare, essentially agreeing with the anti-ACA plaintiffs that with the 2017 tax law’s removal of the insurance mandate, the ACA was no longer constitutional.
By that time, a democrat-led coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia had already been approved by Judge O’Connor to join the defense as intervenor-defendants.
President Trump’s Department of Justice stand-down essentially left the intervenor-defendants as the sole parties interested in propping up the ACA.
This pro-ACA group of defendants announced in early January 2019 their intention to appeal Judge O’Connor’s 2018 ruling.
Before the appeals process can proceed, however, the Fifth Circuit Court asked the Pro-ACA intervenor-defendants to once more prove they have standing as defendants. This process begins this Tuesday when counsel for the intervenor-defendants will have 45 minutes to argue just that.
Court watchers are eager to make their predictions for the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing. It is likely that the case will move toward the full nine-judge panel.
(1) The original Plaintiffs in the case arguing the ACA was no longer tenable without its mandated payments:
Louisiana, West Virgina, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine Governor Paul LePage, Utah, Missouri, Nebraska, Georgia, Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee, and Alabama.
(2) The Intervenor-Defendants seeking standing currently:
California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.