During the first day of scheduled hearings at the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Democrats attacked her by claiming that if her nomination is confirmed and she becomes a sitting justice, Barrett would end “Obamacare.”
As part of this attack on Barrett, the Democrats have been holding out the idea that Obamacare’s fate would be at stake, even though legal experts have argued that it would be unlikely, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of the voices critical of Barrett’s appointment, also used the argument about the danger Obamacare would face. Feinstein said, “We will examine the consequences if, and that’s a big if, Republicans succeed in rushing this nomination through the Senate,” said Feinstein, according to Daily Caller.
In 2017, with the passage of the Jobs and Tax Relief Act, Obamacare’s “individual mandate,” which created a tax penalty for uninsured Americans, was eliminated.
In a White House statement, President Trump noted, “On December 22, 2017, I signed into law the repeal of the burdensome individual-mandate penalty, liberating millions of low-income Americans from a tax that penalized them for not purchasing health-insurance coverage they did not want or could not afford.”
The Trump administration, which has emphasized the need to replace the Obama administration’s health care law, maintains that the repeal can provide more coverage options at lower costs.
Barrett has criticized the law and has also questioned previous cases that have tried to confirm it, such as the 2012 case in which Chief Justice John Roberts cast a decisive vote in Arizona against the United States to confirm the law.
During the hearing, mention was made of the case Texas v. California, which is pending in the U.S. Supreme Court and deals with the constitutionality of Obama’s 2010 low cost health care act.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Republicans repealed the associated tax as part of their tax reform bill. That act makes Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PCA) unconstitutional.
At the hearing, Roberts joined his liberal colleagues in questioning Barrett’s appointment, ruling that the individual mandate was an exercise of taxing power.
The Democrats’ allegations against Barrett’s confirmation have been joined by the voices of leftist activists, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
From the conservative wing of the court they see the situation differently, indicating that instead of invalidating Obamacare, they expect the court to overturn the law’s ‘individual mandate’ or reject the case entirely, concluding that the plaintiffs do not have the legal right to sue.
For legal experts, the Democrats’ argument is “misleading” at best and “embarrassing” at worst.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the case represents a difficult legal battle even if a majority of the Supreme Court is presided over by conservatives, since in large part states may not have the legal “capacity” to sue.
The requirement implies that legal cases involve some damage that the courts can repair.
Even if the court can determine that states have standing to sue, and even if a majority could declare the individual mandate unconstitutional, it is even unlikely that there will be four votes to overturn the ACA.