Brnovich, Other AGs Urge Supreme Court To Not Take Obamacare Case Yet

Published: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 6:13pm
(Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and his fellow Republican counterparts in other states are urging the Supreme Court to not hurry on a case on the Affordable Care Act.

The case centers around what parts of the health law may be struck down. A federal appeals court ruled in December the financial penalty for not buying health insurance was unconstitutional because it had been zeroed out by the 2017 tax cut law. 

But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t decide what other parts of the law should be thrown out as well. It kicked that decision back to the same district court that originally heard the case. 

Then, just after the New Year, Democrats who control the House of Representatives asked the Supreme Court to hear — and quickly — their appeal to the 5th Circuit decision. 

Daniel Arellano, an attorney at the firm Ballard Spahr who works on Democratic political campaigns in Arizona, said the question is whether the uncertainty around the health law creates immediate harm.

“That’s why I think the House of Representatives is asking for expedited relief, saying that the delay in considering this is itself an ongoing, kind of immediate harm to the health insurance market,” he said.

Arellano said if the Supreme Court decides to take the case but proceeds at a typical pace, a ruling might not come until summer of 2021.

In their Friday filing, Brnovich, Texas’ Ken Paxton, and other Republican attorneys general opposed a faster schedule for the case, writing “there is no emergency justifying that departure from the ordinary course.” 

“There may come a day when this Court’s review is appropriate, but it is after the issue of severability is decided,” they wrote. 

“Severability” refers to the parts of the law that would also be struck down in light of the 5th Circuit’s decision on the financial penalty.

Brnovich’s office declined an interview request.

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