The Affordable Care Act lives to fight on to the next ridiculous challenge supported by Trumpist lower court judges. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Thursday that the plaintiffs in the case—the state of Texas and the individuals challenging—do not have standing to challenge the unenforceable mandate. The decision was written by Justice Stephen Breyer, with just Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch in dissent.
“A plaintiff has standing only if he can ‘allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief,'” the Court writes. “Neither the individual nor the state plaintiffs have shown that the injury they will suffer or have suffered is ‘fairly traceable’ to the ‘allegedly unlawful conduct’ of which they complain.”
The Court did not rule on the issue of the constitutionality of the law, which Alito and Gorsuch wanted to get into. The best-case decision for protecting the law would have been the Court deciding that the individual mandate—the part Texas was challenging—could be carved out of the whole law without making the rest of the law crumble; that the individual mandate is severable from the rest of the law. That does leave a small opening—a very narrow path—for conservative Federalist Society type lawyers to keep the grift going, looking for the next challenge.
However, for the third time the Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare. And four of the court’s conservatives said so. That’s a big fucking deal, to quote former Vice President Biden.