Article | 18 June 2021
SCOTUS Dismisses ACA Case for Lack of Standing
On June 17, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued an
The litigation challenged the ACA’s individual mandate, which provided that most people must maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage; those who did not do so previously had to pay a financial penalty to the IRS. In the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress reduced the penalty to zero dollars as of January 1, 2019, leading to the current litigation. SCOTUS ruled the plaintiffs lack standing because they, “failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants’ conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional. They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act's minimum essential coverage provision.” The ruling on standing means the justices did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, including whether the individual mandate is constitutional. With the dismissal, SCOTUS vacates the previous court’s judgment and remands the case with instructions to dismiss.
The case was not unanimous, with a vote of 7-2. The opinion was written by Justice Breyer. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Gorsuch joined. This is the third time SCOTUS has upheld the ACA in major challenges to the law.
How the case made its way to SCOTUS
In 2018, a trial court issued a ruling finding that the ACA was unconstitutional because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the individual mandate penalty to zero. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
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