A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Supreme Court chief justice refuses to block health care law

Chief Justice John Roberts of the US Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant a temporary injunction blocking the Obama administration from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), denying two doctor's groups' plea arguing the entire law is unconstitutional due to the method of its passing. The plea, brought [SCOTUSblog report] by the American Physician's group and the Alliance for National Health USA, is a broad constitutional rejoinder to the Supreme Court's previous ruling finding the PPACA mandate constitutional. That decision found the law legal as a type of tax which the federal government has the authority to issue; the rejoinder uses this characterization to claim that as a tax measure the bill is subject to the Constitution's Origination Clause, which requires such measures to originate in the House of Representatives. The plea claimed that the bill actually originated in the Senate, which essentially crowded the PPACA into a prior and unrelated House bill and thereby sidestepped the origination issue. Roberts issued no opinion and made no comments about his decision to deny to plea, merely refusing to grant the injunction pending a decision on the case in a federal district court.

The PPACA, its enforcement, and all the attendant constitutional issues [JURIST Forum] have been major political issues over the last several years, prompting a multitude of court challenges and opinions by many different legal scholars on both sides. In October another physicians group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of revisions to the law's employer mandate, claiming the revisions are an illegal executive rewriting of the law. Earlier that month Alabama's Attorney General, along with a Roman Catholic broadcasting network filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit challenging the ACA on the ground that it requires employers to include coverage for contraception [JURIST Forum] and abortion-related drugs in their healthcare plans. In September 2013 the House of Representatives passed [JURIST report] a federal funding bill containing provisions aimed at defunding the ACA, one of consistently used methods of attacking the legislation. The Supreme Court issued [JURIST report] its ruling accepting the governments characterization of the Act as a tax [JURIST Forum] and declaring it constitutional in June 2012.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.