Top ranking Democrats in the US House are declaring that the reason President Trump and the Senate GOP are racing to fill the vacant seat on the US Supreme Court caused by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is due to a critical case before the Court that will determine the fate of Obamacare.
The justices are slated to hear arguments in a case centered on the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act on November 10th, 2020, just a week after the General Election.
Congress eliminated the penalties associated with the individual mandate in 2017 making that aspect of Obamacare impotent. While the penalty still technically remains on the books, those who have brought the lawsuit argue that a penalty of $0 does not constitute a tax and, therefore, the individual mandate and the entirety of the law is unconstitutional.
The Court had previously upheld the individual mandate citing the House’s authority to levy taxes, this , despite the fact that the whole of the ACA legislation was created in the US Senate and inserted into a gutted shell of an unrelated bill, thus violating the constitutional mandate that all revenue generating bills be introduced as legislation in the House. The swing vote giving a lifeline to the ACA was Chief Justice John Roberts.
“Before the country has even had an opportunity to appropriately mourn Justice Ginsburg and send her off, they’re already trying to jam a right-wing conservative judge down the throats of the American people as part of a scheme to take away the health care of millions of Americans,” US Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), told reporters.
While Democrats have consistently maintained that any nomination and subsequent confirmation proceedings take place only after the next president is in office, the US Constitution does not provide for any hiatus in presidential powers in an election year or for any other reason. Any precedent to that affect is purely based in politics rather than the US Constitution.
President Trump has stated he intends to announce his nomination Saturday from the White House and that his nominee will be a female.
Should the Senate succeed in confirming the President’s nominee it would shift the perceived ideological make-up on the Court from 5-4 to 6-3, in favor of conservatives, This would give proponents of eliminating the ACA from the books entirely a new advantage, many legal experts say.