Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pride celebrations, SCOTUS marriage equality judgment on collision course

-- Tomorrow (perhaps).

Houston Pride Week culminates with the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration featuring a day-long festival and a nighttime parade [...] With the Supreme Court expecting to rule on legality of same sex marriages any day now, could there be extra reason to celebrate this weekend? If so, expect this event to be one of the biggest in Houston's history.

Could be a deliriously happy time this Saturday, or it could be a party tinged with remorseful resolve.  I'm betting on the former.

-- While I'm prognosticating on Supreme Court rulings, I also have growing confidence that the justices are not going to strike down Obamacare subsidies.  This is one reason why.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision any day now in a case that could severely damage healthcare reform in America, in a challenge that famously focuses on four words in the law.

During oral arguments in March, Justice Elena Kagan asked a clever question, which drew laughter, in an apparent attempt to explain why four words in one section of the law shouldn't be read literally.

The case will determine whether the US can keep subsidizing health insurance for people in the roughly three dozen states where insurance exchanges are run by the federal government.

One part of the law specifically says the federal government can establish insurance exchanges on behalf of the state, but another section says people buying insurance through exchanges "established by the state" get subsidies. The law's opponents contend this means that those buying insurance through exchanges set up by the federal government don't get subsidies.

Since Kagan's question goes a little deeper into the weeds than this good explainer of where we find ourselves today, I'll let you click over and read it.  Here's the even better reason why I think O-Care remains standing.

Kagan was not the only justice who had tough questions for the lawyer opposing Obamacare. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a key swing vote on the court, said during oral arguments he saw a "serious Constitutional" issue with the position taken by the latest opponents of the ACA.

Here's Kennedy's problem: Under the interpretation put forth by the law's opponents, states will effectively be coerced into setting up their own exchanges if they want their citizens to have insurance.

"If that's Kennedy's view of the case, there's almost no chance that the challengers can win," UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler told Business Insider.

I'll say 6-3 in both case decisions, because I think that the Chief Justice does not want to be on the wrong side of history -- that is to say, with Scalia, Thomas, and Alito -- on either one.

As I did earlier in the week, I'll be watching the SCOTUSblog and the Twitter feed for the instant developments Thursday morning, posting here and Tweeting along with everybody else as the verdicts roll out.  Here is some detail about the seven cases remaining to be decided.  Beyond that, there's also this, breaking late this afternoon...

Justice Antonin Scalia, setting the stage for prompt Supreme Court action on the enforcement of a Texas abortion law, on Wednesday told Texas to reply by 4 p.m. Friday on whether that law should be put on hold temporarily.  Abortion clinics and doctors in the state have asked the Court, through Scalia, to delay the law’s effect until the Justices act on an appeal they will file later.

Scalia acted a day after the postponement was sought, with the clinics and doctors noting that swift action was necessary because the two key provisions of the state law are due to go into effect next Wednesday.  Scalia has the authority to act on his own, but he probably will share the issue with his colleagues, as he did in October when the Court dealt with the Texas case at a preliminary stage.

So we should know more about the fate of Texas women's health clinics, also shortly.

The Supreme Court is likely to finish its current term early next week. Although it is likely to take some action on the delay request by then, it will not act on the coming appeal until next fall, because of its summer recess.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Gay marriage is going to win. I saw a Salon story on Effbook earlier today. SCOTUS refused to "stay" a district judge in Bammy ruling pro-marriage.