US Supreme Court rejects request to expedite ‘Obamacare’ challenge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the ongoing legal challenge to former President Barack Obama’s health care law in its current term.

Justices on Tuesday denied a request from Democratic-led states and the U.S. House of Representatives to expedite the legal challenge before the court’s term ends in June. The move pushes a final decision on the law’s future until after the 2020 election.

Five justices are necessary to fast-track a case. The Supreme Court did not release a voting record regarding the matter.

Democratic states and the House asked the court earlier this month to consider a ruling from a federal appellate court; the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional after Congress zeroed out the penalty for not purchasing health insurance in the 2017 tax law.

The judges also ordered the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to determine if the rest of the law is constitutional. Judge Reed O’Connor, who sits on the district court, struck down “Obamacare” in December 2018.

A coalition of Republican states — which includes West Virginia — and the U.S. Justice Department argued against expediting the case, noting no looming danger is present as “Obamacare” will remain in effect during the legal challenge.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the Democratic states, said he hopes the Supreme Court will consider the matter in the court’s next term, which starts in October. Four justices must vote to accept a case for it to appear on the calendar.

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