More on King v. Burwell

June 25, 2015

Well, well, well! A fine day it’s been for Americans, what with the ruling in King v. Burwell, No. 14-114. (Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., No. 13-1371, the important housing/disparate impact case, also provided plenty to cheer about. Because its issues are more complicated, I’m sticking the King and the Affordable Care Act for now.)

At lunch today my old Wingnut friend started on a rant about Obamacare being forced through Congress with no opportunities for R input. I bit for a moment, and then a sense of calm passed over me and I uttered these words: “What the f*ck am I arguing about? Your side lost.” By the by,

Continue reading...

U.S. Supreme Court – What’s Left?

June 15, 2015

On June 15 the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in Baker Botts L.L.P. v. ASARCO, No. 14-103, Reyes Mata v. Lynch, No. 14-185, and Kerry v. Din, No. 13-1402. The cases dealt, respectively, with: (1) a law firm’s right to get fees from a reorganized debtor for work associated with defending a fee application (No Go); (2) a procedural issue in immigration law; and (3) a woman’s liberty interest in having her “civil servant in the Taliban regime” Afghani husband get priority immigrant status. “No go” on the last one, too, and Justice Scalia—writing for himself, the Chief Justice, and Justice Thomas—beat up on the dissent. (Justices Kennedy and Alito concurred, but did not agree with Justice

Continue reading...

Big Week at the Supreme Court!

March 1, 2015

It’s a big week at the Supreme Court. The Court here’s oral arguments on March 2 in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, No. 13-1314. (I was a finalist for the Redistricting Commission; often, we are blessed in failure!) The Court has framed the issues as follows:  (1) Whether the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and 2 U. S. C. § 2a(c) permit Arizona’s use of a commission to adopt congressional districts; and (2) whether the Arizona Legislature has standing to bring this suit.

The “Elections Clause” provision is located in Article I, Section 4. It states:  “The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in

Continue reading...

King v. Burwell; Can’t Quite Let It Go!

February 20, 2015

The Supreme Court will hear from counsel for the parties in King v. Burwell on March 4, a week from Wednesday. I have some thoughts. I want to start by sharing the issue, as the Court formulated it:

Whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Note what issues are not before the Court:  Obamacare is bad; Obamacare costs me money; But freedom; etc. If process matters, the narrow question before the Court involves the right of the IRS, as the agency charged with administering the subsidies, to interpret the statute as it

Continue reading...

Standing to Sue/The Supremacy Clause

February 16, 2015

In all lawsuits, plaintiffs must have standing to sue. In federal court there must be:  (a) a controversy which falls within the ambit of cases the federal courts can hear; and (b) a plaintiff suffering from or having the potential to suffer a real and direct injury. Without these two conditions you can’t sue.

Further, standing is necessary when a suit gets filed and during the entire process. If the risk of a direct injury when you sued goes away—because, for example, your status changes or a law you are complaining about gets repealed—your suit cannot go forward.

So standing has become an issue in King v. Burwell, the case challenging Obamacare subsidies. Here’s Cristian Farias at New

Continue reading...