Biden DOJ Speedily Raises SCOTUS' ACA Ruling in Another Fight With Republican AGs
Public Policy & Regulation attorney Stephen Cobb was quoted in an article for The National Law Journal about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss 18 states’ challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The majority, led by Justice Stephen Breyer, ruled that the challengers to the act—18 Republican attorneys general and two individuals—lacked standing to sue. The challengers, Justice Breyer wrote, had failed to show any evidence of alleged past or future injuries traceable to the provision in the act that they challenged—the now unenforceable individual mandate to have health insurance.
Mr. Cobb pointed to Justice Breyer’s language in the opinion against leaning “on a ‘highly attenuated chain of possibilities’” to establish standing. “By the nature of the 7-2 ruling, I think what they’re saying is your standing, not just here but going forward, needs to be something stronger than a ‘highly attenuated chain of possibilities.’ So that’s going to be, I think, an important marker for state AGs across the country as they look to potentially challenge any future federal actions going forward.”
He also noted that this case is a sign of how seriously the justices take the prerequisites for a case to survive in federal court. “This is just another example of bolding and underlining standing as a prerequisite,” he said. “The Supreme Court said, you need to have your ducks in a row, just because you’re unhappy doesn’t mean that this is the time to step up. You have to have that particular concrete injury that is fairly traceable.”