Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday appeared to signal that the Affordable Care Act, as a whole, should stand.
During Tuesday's Supreme Court hearings, which are part of a third attempt by Republican states to overturn the health care law, Roberts echoed earlier comments from his colleague, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who suggested that, under court precedent, cutting out the individual mandate while leaving the rest of the massive bill intact was "straightforward." (Kavanaugh repeated the same argument later, as well.)
Roberts, addressing Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, followed that up by noting that while some lawmakers may have hoped the high court would strike down the whole law after the mandate repeal, it's tough to ascertain that was their intention when they didn't actually try to do so. Ultimately, striking down the bill, he said, is not the Supreme Court's "job."
Chief: On severance question, hard to argue that Congress intended entire ACA to fall when the same Congress did not even try to repeal the rest of the Act. I think, frankly, they wanted the Court to do that but that's not our job.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE IS NOT AMUSED.
— Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) November 10, 2020
If Roberts and Kavanaugh remain unconvinced by the GOP states' arguments about severability, they would seemingly join the court's three liberal justices in preserving the law.
Kavanaugh again says it’s “fairly clear” that precedent is the court would cut out the individual mandate but leave the rest of the Affordable Care Act. He asks the Texas lawyer how he gets around that as the precedents “seem on point here."
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) November 10, 2020
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