Day 1 Review: Supreme Court Hearings on the Affordable Care Act

A summary of the first day of the U.S. Supreme Court's review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — with a Texas viewpoint.

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  1. Here's a link to audio of the full 90-minute hearing. On the first day, the justices heard oral arguments over whether a federal anti-injunction rule applies to the Affordable Care Act and whether the Supreme Court can consider the case if the tax provisions in the law haven't taken effect. The Supreme Court has posted all audio here.
  2. Need a visual aid to map out the legal consequences of the various lawsuits? Click on this link for a helpful chart.
  3. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is attending the hearings in Washington, D.C. Though he's not arguing before the Supreme Court, he is making appearances on television and speaking to the media about his opposition to "Obamacare."
  4. On Monday afternoon, Abbott sent the following statements to the press:

    On the crowds outside the Supreme Court: “I have been here to the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times, and I’ve never seen crowds like this. The entire plaza around the Supreme Court is completely crowded with protesters against Obamacare and with supporters of Obamacare. This shows that this law is something that has gripped the entire nation. Most people here want to see Obamacare overturned.”

    On today's oral arguments over whether the anti-injunction law applies to the court's ability to repeal or uphold the ACA : “The issue is whether or not this is or is not a tax. The truth of the matter is, this is imposed as a penalty, not a tax. The purpose of a tax is to raise revenue, and the purpose of the Obamacare penalty is not to raise revenue. As the justices pointed out, if Obamacare is successful, no one will be paying a penalty because everyone will have gone out and bought the health care insurance imposed by Obamacare. Therefore, clearly the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply – this is not a tax."

    “As Justice Alito pointed out today, the Department of Justice lawyers in court today were contending that this is not a tax, but he did note that they’re going to be right back in court tomorrow contending that in fact this is a tax – once again pointing out the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration position."
  5. REACTION from Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas Association of Business and conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, whose analysts say, "Most of the justices seemed skeptical of the argument that the challenge to the individual mandate is barred by the Anti-Injunction Act because the mandate is a tax."
  6. Despite the lawsuit and the heavy criticism from Texas officials, the federal website healthreform.gov outlines the immediate benefits of President Obama's reforms.
  7. TEXAS COVERAGE: Texas news outlets write about what's at stake for Texans. The Washington Post includes a story with an interview with a Lone Star businessman who says the law would cost him too much.
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