The presidential campaigns flood the Midwest as Ginsburg’s death fuels a rush of donations to Democratic Senate candidates. It’s Tuesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
President Trump boarded Air Force One yesterday for his trip to Ohio.
There are 3 ways the Supreme Court could now rule on Obamacare.
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg means the Supreme Court will have a smaller liberal wing when it hears the latest Obamacare challenge in November — a fact Democrats will highlight in the final weeks of the presidential campaign. Joe Biden has already begun linking the court vacancy to Obamacare’s future, saying this weekend that “health care hangs in the balance.”
Experts who watch health litigation closely, however, do not expect the Affordable Care Act to be overturned in this case. Instead, as Margot Sanger-Katz and I wrote in a new Upshot article, they expect it to end one of two ways: with the health law upheld or a deadlocked decision that sends the case back to a lower court. They don’t believe the justices have the appetite to overturn landmark legislation at a moment when a full court is not seated.
Many scholars see the case as legally weak, and probably unpersuasive to the high court. Unlike the two previous cases involving the health law — when the court’s liberal and conservative justices tended to disagree on major legal issues — this case centers on areas of law that are less disputed and less ideological. Conservative legal experts who supported the previous health law challenge have opposed this one.
If the Supreme Court does not uphold the Affordable Care Act, legal experts see a second-most likely option: a deadlocked vote. That could happen if President Trump has not appointed a new justice by Nov. 10, when oral arguments are set to occur. In that scenario, the Obamacare challenge gets remanded back to a lower court to be reconsidered. The case could reach the Supreme Court again, but that process might take years. In the meantime, the health law would still stand unchanged.
Of course, the Supreme Court is unpredictable, and there is always the chance it could overturn the health law entirely. In that scenario, protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions would be eliminated and millions would be expected to lose their health coverage. “It is still unlikely to prevail, but the small chance of a very bad thing happening is worth worrying about,” said Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan, who supports Obamacare.
New York Times Podcasts
Ginsburg’s life, and the battle for her seat
In a two-part special, our team at The Daily reflected on the achievements of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and examined the fight to replace her on the Supreme Court.
In the first of two episodes on her life, we charted her journey from her formative years to her late-life stardom on the Supreme Court. In the second episode, we considered the ramifications of her death and the struggle over how, and when, to replace her on the bench.