The Trump administration doesn’t want the Supreme Court to act quickly on a case that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act, the Justice Department said in a court filing Friday.
There is no urgency to consider the case, the Justice Department said, since the key issue — how much of the law should remain in effect — is still being litigated. The administration is siding with Texas and several GOP-led states in arguing the law should be struck down.
Last month, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Obamacare’s individual mandate was unconstitutional, but had sent the case down to a Texas federal court to decide the fate of other provisions of the sprawling law.
Lawyers for the Democratic-led House of Representatives, as well as California and other Democratic-led states, seeking to keep the law intact, immediately appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the justices need to step in immediately given potential for the “profound destabilization of the health care system,” as California’s brief put it.
The Justice Department on Friday said there’s no rush.
“As the case comes to this Court, no lower-court ruling exists on severability or the appropriate remedy. Far from being urgently needed, this Court’s review thus would be premature,” the filing stated.
And while the lower courts said the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the Department of Justice added, Congress has eliminated the tax penalty for not purchasing health insurance in any event.
The Supreme Court does not often take up an issue such as this until it has fully made its way through the lower courts. But it would only take four justices to expedite the case and hear it this term.