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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

Washington, DC
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The Supreme Court announced, Thursday, that the entire Affordable Care Act is upheld. They did issue some limits on the Medicaid portion of the bill. Chief Justice John Roberts appears to be the crucial fifth vote. This is the final case of the 2011 term.

We will bring you the full details of the Health Care decision as it is announced as well as reaction from the White House and Congress, live on C-SPAN3 and

From the decision: "Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it."

Regarding the Medicaid portion of the act, the opinion held the expansion of the low-income health insurance constitutional, but said that the federal government couldn't withhold funds for the program from states that don't comply with federal provisions.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion, "nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use. What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding."

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke on the Senate floor, saying "our Supreme Court has spoken, the matter is settled."

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court held three days of oral arguments on the multi-state lawsuit challenging the health care law. On March 26, 27 and 28 the Court Justices sat for a combined six hours to determine the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The case is officially known as Florida v. Department of Health & Human Services.

The court heard arguments on four issues related to the case: whether the court has jurisdiction over a tax law that has yet to take effect, whether the individual mandate is constitutional, whether the court can strike down only part of the law without striking down the law in its entirety, and whether the law's extension of Medicaid is constitutional.

Because the court upheld the individual mandate, they did not need to address severability.

In addition to the health care ruling, decisions on the following two cases are being handed down:
In U.S. v. Alvarez, which deals with a federal law that criminalizes false statements about military honors, the law was struck down as unconstitutional.

In First American Financial Corporation v. Edwards, a real estate case that asks whether a buyer has the right to sue if he was steered toward a certain title company due to a kickback, the case was dismissed.

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in three other cases, including a widely anticipated ruling on Arizona's controversial immigration law.

In Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court struck down three other provisions that include making it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work in Arizona, allowing officers to arrest people without a warrant if the officer has probably cause to believe the person is an illegal immigrant and making it a crime for immigrants to be in Arizona without their immigration papers.

The Supreme Court also issued decisions on a case affirming Citizens United and two cases dealing with life sentences for juvenile criminals.

In Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, the Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment prohibits mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles.

In the Montana campaign finance decision, the Court struck down a law limiting corporate campaign spending and reaffirming that Citizens United applied to state campaign finance laws.

Source: C-Span

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