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California v. Texas

How Texas’s case was rejected by SCOTUS because of their lack of standing

BACKGROUND:

Docket 19-840

Date Argued: Nov 10, 2020

Date Decided: Jun 17, 2021


In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), by requiring individuals to purchase minimum essential coverage (or pay a tax) for the people that don’t buy insurance. This was because the Supreme Court wanted to reinforce people to buy insurance. Then in 2017, when Congress was Republican-dominated, they added an individual mandate that removed the tax penalty. Texas then filed a lawsuit that was brought to the Supreme Court in order to challenge the individual mandate that removes it as a tax, but California responded to the lawsuit in order to defend the individual mandate.



PRESIDING QUESTIONS: Were Texas and the other states able to challenge the individual mandate of the ACA now that the penalty was gone? Is the tax constitutional?


OUTCOME - 7–2 DECISION FOR CALIFORNIA


There was no set conclusion about the constitutionality of the insurance tax. The courts decided that the plaintiffs, Texas ,and other states, did not have standing to challenge the ACA’s minimum essential coverage penalty. In order to bring a case to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs must show an “allegedly unlawful conduct” but the plaintiffs did not show this injury. The injuries that were shown could not be traced back as the government’s responsibility, so they were disregarded..

PARTIES AND OPINIONS

Side 1- The State of Texas (Respondent)

  • The State of Texas filed the lawsuit in federal court in order to challenge the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

  • They offered a dissenting opinion and argued that Texas and the other state plaintiffs, in fact, had standing and agreed with the plaintiffs in that since the tax was now $0, the mandate could not be sustained under taxes.

Side 2- The State of California (Petitioner)

  • The State of California joined the lawsuit filed by the State of Texas in order to defend the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

  • They offered the majority opinion and argued that Texas and the other state plaintiffs lacked standing in the case and could not bring it to federal court.


Concurring opinion

  • The concurring opinions disagree with the dissenting opinions but also agree with the majority that the plaintiffs lack standing.


SIGNIFICANCE


In any case brought to the federal court, it must satisfy Article III’s (Article III requires the plaintiff to have injuries and provide a remedy that needs to be identified. ) case-or-controversy requirement. Because of this the State of Texas needs far stronger evidence to support the theory of standing in the federal court.


In conclusion, the Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, leaving the Texas and other state plaintiffs with no official conclusion on the occasion that they filed the lawsuit.


Sources

  • https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-840

  • https://www.healthinsurance.org/glossary/individual-mandate/#:~:text=The%20individual%20mandate%20is%20a,Court%20just%20upheld%20the%20ACA.

  • https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-840_6jfm.pdf

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_v._Texas

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