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From Health Law Daily, March 5, 2015

SCOTUS hears King v. Burwell: Kennedy voices constitutional concerns, Roberts doesn’t tip his hand

By Harold M. Bishop, J.D.

Yesterday, March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell. At issue in the case is the legality of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Rule extending tax credits to people who purchased their health insurance plans from the federal Exchanges set up in the 34 states that refused to set up state Exchanges authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) (see Countdown to King v. Burwell: A roadmap for navigating the Supreme Court arguments, March 2, 2015).

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are always of interest because the Justices’ questions offer insight as to how they might vote. The inquiries of Justice Anthony Kennedy are typically scrutinized the most because he is often the swing vote between the conservative (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito) and liberal (Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer) wings of the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts, who unexpectedly sided with the liberal Justices in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius(NFIB) (see Court upholds ACA, but modifies Medicaid expansion, July 2, 2012), which upheld the ACA’s individual mandate, seems to have positioned himself as the protector of the Court’s reputation and therefore close scrutiny of his questions is also warranted.

Read further, “SCOTUS hears King v. Burwell: Kennedy voices constitutional concerns, Roberts doesn’t tip his hand.”

Attorneys: Michael A. Carvin (Jones Day)

Companies: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of the Treasury; Internal Revenue Service

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