The US Supreme Court on Monday ordered challengers to the Affordable Care Act to provide a quick response to their opponents’ motion to expedite the court’s consideration of the case. They must file their response by this Friday at 4 PM.
The challengers, the Trump administration and a group of state attorneys general, won a partial victory last month when the UC Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a signature provision of the health care law, the individual mandate, unconstitutional. Democratic attorneys general and members of the House of Representatives, arguing to preserve the individual mandate, filed a petition last week for the Supreme Court to take up the case.
While the Fifth Circuit’s 2-1 decision holds that the individual mandate exceeds congressional authority, it kicked consideration of whether the mandate is severable from the rest of the Act back to the district court that originally heard the case. In their petition for the Supreme Court to grant certiorari, the Act’s proponents ask the court to consider questions about the challenger’s initial standing, the constitutionality of the individual mandate and severability.
Alongside that petition, the House of Representatives filed a motion for the court to expedite its decision about whether to hear the case. The Fifth Circuit’s ruling “poses a severe, immediate, and ongoing threat to the orderly operation of healthcare markets throughout the country, casts doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care, and leaves a critical sector of the nation’s economy in unacceptable limbo,” the filing stated. Following the court’s normal timeline, the case would likely not be heard until next term, with a decision unlikely until 2021. Citing “crippling uncertainty” about healthcare markets, the House has asked the court to consider the case on a timeline that would allow it to be argued and decided this term.
By asking the challengers to respond to this motion by Friday, the court keeps such an expedited timeline available, though it has yet to decide whether to take up the case.