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PPACA (Obamacare) at Supreme Court

Mimshot
Posts: 275
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3/23/2012 6:00:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Since the cases will be argued starting on Monday, I thought I would start a thread on the topic of the PPACA SCOTUS cases. Because there's been a lot of political rhetoric and misinformation about what SCOTUS is actually planning to rule on, I thought I'd briefly outline what the four questions of law they plan to answer are, and see what DDO people thought the answers should be.

1. Medicaid expansion -- Several states are challenging the expansion to medicaid. Congress greatly expanded federal funding to medicaid (which is paid to the states who then dole it out to individual recipients). However, to get this money states must agree to certain terms. The states have argued that the threat of withholding funds is coercive on the states and allows Congress to force the states to pass rules that Congress doesn't have power to pass itself under the tenth amendment.

2. Anti-injunction Act -- There is a law from the 1800s that prohibits people from suing the federal government over an unconstitutional tax until after the tax has been paid. This also interacts with limitations of Judicial power in Article III that prohibit the court from issuing advisory opinions. Interestingly both the administration and the plaintiffs have argued that the supreme court does have the power to rule on the case. Presumably the President is worried that if he loses reelection and the case can't be heard until 2014, then the new president won't deffend the act as well as Obama's administration. SCOTUS appointed an independent lawyer to argue that the anti-injunction act applies.

3. Individual Mandate -- Does congress have the power to say individuals must either buy health insurance or pay the government a fee (whether it's a tax or a fine is one of the sub issues on this point)?

4. Severability -- If the answer to 3 is "no" then how much of the law must also be overturned? Typically if part of an act is struck down as unconstitutional, the rest of the act that isn't unconstitutional remains law. In this case the individual mandate interacts with other aspects of the law (such as the guaranteed coverage provision) in complicated ways. However, there are other aspects of the law (like the doc fix) that don't depend on the individual mandate at all. Some aspects of the law are already in force, whereas the individual mandate doesn't go into effect until 2014.
Mimshot: I support the 1956 Republican platform
DDMx: So, you're a socialist?
Mimshot: Yes
Steelerman6794
Posts: 158
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3/23/2012 7:27:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/23/2012 6:00:17 PM, Mimshot wrote:

1. Medicaid expansion --

I don't think the Supreme Court will buy that this part of the law is unconstitutional. After all, nowhere in the constitution are states given an inherent right to federal funds. All federal grants have strings attached, and increasing Medicaid enrollment only adds to these strings. Nothing unconstitutional about it.

2. Anti-injunction Act --

The Anti-Injunction Act is ridiculous. I might buy that you can't sue unless you've actually been harmed by the act, but saying the Supreme Court can't even rule on it is self-contradictory. Passing a law that says the law itself is immune from constitutional challenge is by definition unconstitutional/illegal.

3. Individual Mandate --

This will probably be ruled unconstitutional mainly because of the precedent it would set. As far as the Interstate Commerce Cause goes, I think a main argument against this justification for the individual mandate would be that the Commerce Clause only applies to people when they engage in commerce, and not coercing them to engage in such commerce in the first place.

4. Severability --

The law would certainly be hard to implement in that many sections depend on the other. I don't think one can demonstrate the effects on a 2000 page document if only the individual mandate was struck down. I think we'll just have to see.
Mimshot
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3/24/2012 10:20:16 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
On point 2, it's not that the Supreme Court can't rule on the act at all, it's that nobody would have standing to challenge the act until they actually had gotten fined. I agree it seems far fetched, but if the Supreme Court went to the effort to appoint a lawyer to argue this position, they must have felt it was important.
Mimshot: I support the 1956 Republican platform
DDMx: So, you're a socialist?
Mimshot: Yes
Buddamoose
Posts: 19,448
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3/24/2012 10:25:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/24/2012 10:20:16 AM, Mimshot wrote:
On point 2, it's not that the Supreme Court can't rule on the act at all, it's that nobody would have standing to challenge the act until they actually had gotten fined. I agree it seems far fetched, but if the Supreme Court went to the effort to appoint a lawyer to argue this position, they must have felt it was important.

This same problem is present with indefinite detention/targeted killing. Technically one cannot file a complaint in court unless they are directly
affected. Considering 1) If you are being
Indefinitely detained you get no day in court 2) If
You are a victim of targeted killing you're dead so no day in court. Its a BS technicality imo.
"Reality is an illusion created due to a lack of alcohol"
-Airmax1227

"You were the moon all this time, and he was always there to make you shine."

"Was he the sun?"

"No honey, he was the darkness"

-Kazekirion
Mimshot
Posts: 275
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3/24/2012 10:50:17 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/24/2012 10:25:39 AM, Buddamoose wrote:
At 3/24/2012 10:20:16 AM, Mimshot wrote:
On point 2, it's not that the Supreme Court can't rule on the act at all, it's that nobody would have standing to challenge the act until they actually had gotten fined. I agree it seems far fetched, but if the Supreme Court went to the effort to appoint a lawyer to argue this position, they must have felt it was important.

This same problem is present with indefinite detention/targeted killing. Technically one cannot file a complaint in court unless they are directly
affected. Considering 1) If you are being
Indefinitely detained you get no day in court 2) If
You are a victim of targeted killing you're dead so no day in court. Its a BS technicality imo.

I agree with you on the gitmo point; however, I think the current situation is a bit different. Since, in this case, nobody has actually been harmed yet. It would be like someone suing the government because they think they might be detained in the future.
Mimshot: I support the 1956 Republican platform
DDMx: So, you're a socialist?
Mimshot: Yes
Buddamoose
Posts: 19,448
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3/24/2012 10:58:49 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/24/2012 10:50:17 AM, Mimshot wrote:
At 3/24/2012 10:25:39 AM, Buddamoose wrote:
At 3/24/2012 10:20:16 AM, Mimshot wrote:
On point 2, it's not that the Supreme Court can't rule on the act at all, it's that nobody would have standing to challenge the act until they actually had gotten fined. I agree it seems far fetched, but if the Supreme Court went to the effort to appoint a lawyer to argue this position, they must have felt it was important.

This same problem is present with indefinite detention/targeted killing. Technically one cannot file a complaint in court unless they are directly
affected. Considering 1) If you are being
Indefinitely detained you get no day in court 2) If
You are a victim of targeted killing you're dead so no day in court. Its a BS technicality imo.

I agree with you on the gitmo point; however, I think the current situation is a bit different. Since, in this case, nobody has actually been harmed yet. It would be like someone suing the government because they think they might be detained in the future.

Pretty much the same situation as this: http://www.dailykos.com...

Honestly, when it comes to laws and they're valdity constitutionally I dont think whether or not it "directly" affects you should even matter. Its a law, it pertains to all living in the country, so at some point one will be affected by said law in some way...
"Reality is an illusion created due to a lack of alcohol"
-Airmax1227

"You were the moon all this time, and he was always there to make you shine."

"Was he the sun?"

"No honey, he was the darkness"

-Kazekirion
Buddamoose
Posts: 19,448
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3/24/2012 11:05:54 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
In essence why wait till somebody is punished, or affected? Why not sort through all the legalities BEFORE it does? Just seems like the more prudent option to me.
"Reality is an illusion created due to a lack of alcohol"
-Airmax1227

"You were the moon all this time, and he was always there to make you shine."

"Was he the sun?"

"No honey, he was the darkness"

-Kazekirion