On Wednesday, April 10, the 5th Circuit Court granted the Trump administration’s request for an expedited hearing, meaning all arguments will be heard in the first week of July.
The Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday urged the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear all arguments in the appeal of a judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) is unconstitutional during the week of July 8.
The DOJ filed a motion to expedite oral arguments with the court and indicated that this timeline is unopposed by others in the case, including attorneys general from 16 Blue States and the District of Columbia, who are arguing in favor of the keeping the ACA intact.
On. Dec. 14, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the entire ACA is unconstitutional because the individual mandate is no longer valid as a tax since the fine for not having health insurance has been reduced to zero dollars.
In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts negotiated a compromise 5-4 vote in the U.S. Supreme Court by ruling the law was constitutional under Congress’s authority to levy taxes, in this case, the ACA’s individual mandate. With the tax gone, Judge O’Connor ruled, the ACA is no longer constitutional.
The Trump DOJ in something of a turnabout recently announced that it would seek complete unconstitutionality of the ACA, in contrast to its initial position that it would seek an end only to the individual mandate and to the pre-existing conditions clause of the ACA.
Judge O’Connor’s ruling that the act is unconstitutional is on hold pending completion of the appeals process.