Supreme Court decisions on the Affordable Care Act, Fair Housing and Marriage Equality

Three important decisions were made by the Supreme Court yesterday and today.

uncle_phil_aunt_vivYesterday the Supreme Court upheld a key part of the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance subsidies for all Americans.

Washington_Post_06_26_2015

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The ruling was 6-3 with Antoine Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting. Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority opinion.

Of course Justice Scalia was furious.

In dissent on Thursday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”

He announced his dissent from the bench, a sign of bitter disagreement. His summary was laced with notes of incredulity and sarcasm, sometimes drawing amused murmurs in the courtroom as he described the “interpretive somersaults” he said the majority had performed to reach the decision.

“We really should start calling this law Scotus-care,” Justice Scalia said, to laughter from the audience.

That was yesterday. He was even more furious today. Get to that later.

According to the New York Times:

The case concerned a central part of the Affordable Care Act that created marketplaces, known as exchanges, to allow people who lack insurance to shop for individual health plans. Some states set up their own exchanges, but about three dozen allowed the federal government to step in to run them. Across the nation, about 85 percent of customers using the exchanges qualify for subsidies to help pay for coverage, based on their income.

The question in the case, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, was what to make of a phrase in the law that seems to say the subsidies are available only to people buying insurance on “an exchange established by the state.”

A legal victory for the plaintiffs, lawyers for the administration said, would have affected more than six million people and created havoc in the insurance markets and undermined the law.

As expected Republicans, like Justice Scalia were furious over the Supreme Court decision. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are already talking about repealing Obamacare if they are elected.

Another win in the Supreme Court yesterday was the 5-4 decision to uphold a key part of the Fair Housing Act to combat housing discrimination.  This ruling didn’t received the same fanfare that the other 2 decisions received but it is very important.

Washington (CNN)The Supreme court on Thursday re-affirmed a federal law passed in 1968 to combat housing discrimination by holding that the law allows not only claims for intentional discrimination but also, claims that cover practices that have a discriminatory effect, even if they were not motivated by an intent to discriminate.

Civil rights advocates say such “disparate impact” claims are essential to combat subtle instances of discrimination.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the 5-4 opinion for a closely divided Court concerning the scope of the Fair Housing Act.

“Much progress remains to be made in our nation’s continuing struggle against racial isolation,” he said, noting that cities have become more diverse under the Fair Housing Act.

“The Court acknowledges the Fair Housing Act’s continuing role in moving the nation toward a more integrated society,” he wrote.

His opinion was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.

Today the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same sex marriage/marriage equality is legal in the United States.

Marriage_Equality

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

The court’s action marks the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence. Advocates called it the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.

“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.

Reading a dissent from the bench for the first time in his tenure, Roberts said, “Just who do we think we are? I have no choice but to dissent.”

The United States is now one of more than 20 countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Before today’s decision 36 states and the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage. During the 2012 elections in Maryland voters approved legalizing same-sex marriage. Maryland was one of the first three states that allowed voters to make the decision.

Of course Justice Scalia was pissed off for a second day in a row.

Justice_ScaliaAs Huffington Post stated for the above pic- Antonin Scalia dissent: I give up, do whatever you want

WASHINGTON — Justice Antonin Scalia has really had it.

Scalia’s dissent in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which officially made marriage equality the law of the land, runs for eight pages, but amounts largely to a big, arms-crossed “harumph.”

“I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy,” he begins.

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me,” he offers. “It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best.”

Senator Ted Cruz is calling for Supreme Court justices to face elections every 8 years and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants to get rid of the Supreme Court.  Justice Clarence Thomas went on a rant about slavery and dignity.  I’m sure these 3 along with other conservatives will get over this decision.  This is the 21st century and it’s time that the United States moves on.

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