On September 18, 2020, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87. The loss of Justice Ginsburg has shaken the country and has led to a flood of questions regarding what comes next for the Court and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Whether the Court vacancy should be filled prior to the November election is the overarching controversy.
Since 2017, the ACA has been the subject of numerous legal challenges. Several bills have been introduced to repeal the law, which have ultimately failed; and it has been challenged in federal court prompting the Texas v. Azar lawsuit. The latest development takes us to the Supreme Court to hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of the ACA, which was planned to take place one week after Election Day.
Under federal law, the President is responsible for nominating a new Supreme Court Justice and the nominee must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate thereafter. If a new Supreme Court Justice is nominated and confirmed before the election, it could greatly impact the future of the ACA. If not seated by the start of the new term, there is the possibility that the Court will proceed with its eight current justices, potentially resulting in a 4-4 ruling. However, the ruling would maintain the status quo, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling would stand and the case would be remanded back to the district court.
Until a nominee is confirmed, the impact of this decision remains to be seen. Employers — we encourage you to monitor future developments pertaining to the Supreme Court nomination.
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