The Supreme Court should take note of the results from last week’s election, Democrats say, when the justices hear a case Tuesday that would kill the individual mandate at the heart of the Affordable Care Act.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison blasted the Republican-led lawsuit that would gut Obamacare, saying Americans voted for presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden last week and in doing so implicitly backed the health care law.
“The American people voted to keep and build on the Affordable Care Act,” Mr. Ellison said. “I hope the court takes that into consideration when they deliberate on this case.”
“Tomorrow is as important as Election Day in my mind.”
Democrats fear the 6-3 conservative high court will strike down President Obama’s signature health care law, which is also part of Mr. Biden’s legacy since he was Mr. Obama’s vice president.
Mr. Biden ran this year on strengthening Obamacare rather than moving quickly to the “Medicare for All” government-run system advocated by the far-left of the Democratic Party.
The justices will hear a case brought by more than a dozen states over the GOP tax cuts in 2017 that slashed the tax penalty for not having health insurance to $0, effectively ending the individual mandate.
The court will consider whether the $0 tax penalty is lawful and whether the move makes the health care law as a whole unconstitutional, or rather if the individual mandate can be severed from the rest of Obamacare.
A decision in the case is expected by the end of June when the high court generally wraps up its term.
Senate Democrats said President Trump’s appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett just weeks before the case was argued before the court was meant to be a final vote to do away with Obamacare altogether.
At her confirmation hearings last month, Democrats grilled her on whether she would recuse herself from hearing the case. Justice Barrett denied discussing the lawsuit with any executive branch officials and refused to say whether she would recuse herself from the case.
As a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, she did write critically of the Affordable Care Act when the high court upheld Obamacare in 2012, but it’s unlikely that would rise to the level of recusal, according to legal analysts.
There is no official notice that Justice Barrett has recused. But her final decision will not be made public until the oral arguments begin at 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday.
Legal scholars pushed back on the suggestion from Democrats that the high court would likely do away with Obamacare as a whole.
“I don’t think there is even one vote to invalidate the ACA,” said Ilya Shapiro, publisher of the Cato Institute’s Supreme Court Review.