Monthly Archives: June 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Same Sex Marriage

The United States Supreme Court has issued its opinion regarding same sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court found that the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses require a State to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, and to recognize same sex marriages performed in other States. The full opinion can be found on the Court’s website here.

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U.S. Supreme Court Issues Opinion Upholding the Affordable Care Act Tax Credit Provisions

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in King v. Burwell today, holding that the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits are available to individuals in states with a Federal Health Exchange. Noting that this issue is one of deep economic and political significance, a majority of the Court found that the wording in the Act applying tax credits to insurance purchased from “an Exchange established by the state” was ambiguous. Therefore, the Court looked at the broader structure of the Act to determine the legislative intent.  In so doing the Court found that to apply tax credits only to state-established Exchanges, and not to Federal Exchanges, would destabilize the insurance market, creating the very situation that Congress designed the Act to avoid. The full opinion (including a strongly worded dissent written by Justice Scalia calling the majority opinion “absurd”) can be found here on the Court’s website.

 

Upcoming Supreme Court Decision About the Affordable Care Act: A Matter of Statutory Interpretation

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks about the Affordable Care Act in the case of King v. Burwell.  The stakes are high, because this decision could invalidate tax benefits for 4.2 million people who have purchased health insurance from federal health exchanges. The legal issue involves the meaning of four words in the ACA statute, which authorize tax benefits for individuals who purchase health insurance in exchanges “established by the State.” Specifically, the question is whether the ACA’s tax benefits apply to insurance purchased from federally-established exchanges in more than half of the states that did not establish their own exchanges. Should the Court base its decision on the plain meaning of the statute, or should the Court consider the legislative intent of Congress? For a more detailed discussion of this issue and the parties’ opposing positions from the SCOTUS Blog, see http://www.scotusblog.com/2015/02/scotus-for-law-students-interpreting-statutes/.