A Major Setback for an Obamacare Legal Challenge

Jonathan Cohn: “The latest big legal challenge to the Affordable Care Actthe one that could potentially deprive millions of people of subsidies, making it impossible for them to get insurancejust suffered a major setback in federal court.”

“The Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington on Thursday announced that it is withdrawing its July decision … so that the full panel of active judges on the court can rehear the case.”

“That doesn’t guarantee that a majority of judges on the D.C. Circuit will ultimately vote to overturn the initial decision. But there are many reasons to think that’s what will happen … So far the arguments have convinced only two federal judges, both of whom happened to be Republican appointees. The majority of sitting judges on the D.C. Circuit are Democratic appointees and now, thanks to the en banc hearing, the case is in their hands.”

Will the Supreme Court hear the case? “Most legal experts I know think the justices will, at the very least, wait to see how the full D.C. Circuit rules before taking the lawsuits seriously.”

Professor Andrew Koppelman: “If the Court was going to blow up Obamacare, it would have done so in the big case in 2012. After Roberts paid a big political cost for doing that, why would he now adopt this hyper-technical and unpersuasive legal argument, yanking away benefits that a lot of people are already receiving?”


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