SCOTUS To Weigh Whether To Fast Track Texas Obamacare Case

FILE - In this May 18, 2017 file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer, in Washington. Former Obama administration officials say they're launching a private campaign to encourage people to si... FILE - In this May 18, 2017 file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer, in Washington. Former Obama administration officials say they're launching a private campaign to encourage people to sign up for coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act. With the start of open enrollment just weeks away on Nov. 1, the Trump administration has slashed "Obamacare's" ad budget, as well as grants to outside organizations that are supposed to help consumers sign up. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) MORE LESS
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January 6, 2020 4:57 p.m.

The Supreme Court will not go as quickly as blue states would like when it comes to deciding whether to take up a case seeking to dismantle Obamacare, but is still moving promptly to consider a request to fast-track such a review, if granted.

On Monday, the Supreme Court gave the red states behind the lawsuit until Friday at 4 p.m. to respond to the blue states’ request that review of the case be expedited.

That means the Supreme Court is not planning on reviewing the expedition request at its private conference Friday morning, as the Democratic attorneys general — along with the U.S. House of Representatives — had proposed in their request to fast-track the case.

However, the justices do appear to still be moving fairly quickly. It takes the votes of only four justices for the court to take up a case, but five justices must agree in order to expedite a case.

While it’s plausible that the four liberal justices on the bench would grant review of the case — where so far, lower courts have sided with the Republican states — it’s less clear whether there’s enough votes to get the case scheduled in time to be heard this term, as the blue states were requesting.

The lawsuit filed by Texas and several other Republican attorneys general alleges that the 2017 tax bill made the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional, because the tax bill zeroed out the penalty. Many of Obamacare’s challengers in the lawsuit, as well as the Trump administration, are also arguing that the whole law should be invalidated if the mandate is found unconstitutional.

A district judge agreed with that argument, but an appeals court — while affirming the decision that the mandate was unconstitutional — sent the case back to the district court last month to re-asses its findings on whether some or all of the rest of the law must also be struck down.

On Friday, the blue states and House asked the Supreme Court to take up the case instead, and at the same, they requested that the justices fast-track such a review, so that the case could be decided by this summer.

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