Justices Seem Divided on Severability in Oral Arguments on Health Case

For over 50 years, Bloomberg BNA’s renowned flagship daily news service, Daily Tax Report® has helped leading practitioners and policymakers stay on the cutting edge of taxation and...

The U.S. Supreme Court entertains final oral arguments in the case that will determine the fate of the landmark federal health care reform law, considering whether parts of the health reform law could stand if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional. The justices hear two sessions, with the second focused on the Medicaid provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In both sessions, the justices seem to break down along political lines, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy hard to read, but appearing to side with Justices Scalia and Alito against severability and for finding the Medicaid provision unduly coercive. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan appear to favor arguments for severability and against finding the Medicaid provision coercive, while Justice Thomas does not ask any questions.