Corporate Accountability

All Eyes on Roberts, Kennedy As Court Weighs Health Reform

They emerge as key votes on an ideologically divided U.S. Supreme Court.


By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro


The fate of the Affordable Care Act, and the ability of 8 million Americans to afford health insurance, may depend on two U.S. Supreme Court justices: John Roberts Jr. and Anthony Kennedy.



Verrilli, who echoed the concerns of liberal justices about the “death spiral,” said the challengers’ reading of the text “produces an incoherent statute that doesn’t work.” That, he said, “cannot be the statute that Congress intended.”


Scalia countered, “It may not be the statute they intended. The question is whether it’s the statute that they wrote.”


As Scalia’s comment suggested, statutory construction will be crucial to the outcome of the case. “The context of the whole law is essential to resolving this case, and that principle was made clear” in the argument, said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center. “If the court follows its own precedents that govern the reading of statutes, the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits should be available nationwide.”


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