California v. Texas

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: March 2, 2020
  • Case #: 19-840
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 945 F.3d 355 (5th Cir. 2019).
  • Full Text Opinion

1. Whether the individual and state plaintiffs in this case have established Article III standing to challenge the minimum coverage provision in Section 5000A(a). 2. Whether reducing the amount specified in Section 5000A(c) to zero rendered the minimum coverage provision unconstitutional. 3. If so, whether the minimum coverage provision is severable from the rest of the ACA.

The consolidated cross-Petitioners represent two different groups of states that seek immediate review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision that struck down the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Prior to the litigation, Congress amended 26 U.S.C. §5000A, altering the provision which imposed a tax on Americans who did not maintain a minimum level of healthcare to set the tax amount to zero. Several states, led by Texas, challenged the amendment on the grounds that it rendered the Act unconstitutional. Other states, led by California, joined in defense of the ACA. The district court found that the mandate was unconstitutional, and the Act was therefore invalid. The Fifth Circuit affirmed that the mandate was unconstitutional but remanded as to the effect on the Act as a whole. Petitioners argue that immediate review is required since the district court invalidated a federal statutory provision on constitutional grounds. Petitioners argue that the mandate is severable from the rest of the Act and that §5000A may still be interpreted as a lawful exercise of Congress’s taxing power. Cross-Petitioners argue that review is improper since the case is still working through the lower courts. In the alternative, they argue that the district court’s decisions on severability and remedy were correct and urge the Court to affirm the decisions below.

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