President Biden could change course in high court health care case

Biden could change course in high court health care case
Supreme Court of the US. Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: The pending Supreme Court case on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, an important health care act to Democrats known as Obamacare, could give the Joe Biden’s administration its first opportunity to chart a new course in front of the justices.

The health care case, argued a week after the election in November last year, is one of several matters, along with a separate case on Medicaid work requirements and immigration, where the new administration could take a different position from the previous Trump administration at the high court.

While a shift would be in line with President Biden’s political preferences, it could prompt consternation at the court. Justices and former officials in Republican and Democratic administrations routinely caution that new administrations should generally be reluctant to change positions before the court.

Justice Elena Kagan, who as solicitor general was the top Supreme Court lawyer for former President Barack Obama before he appointed her to the court, said in a 2018 forum that the bar should be high.

Kagan said at the time: “I think changing positions is a really big deal that people should hesitate a long time over, which is not to say that it never happens.”

Indeed, Donald Trump’s Justice Department made a switch four times in the first full high court term of the administration.

Still, Paul Clement, who was solicitor general under President George W. Bush, said the health care case is a good candidate for when a rare change of position may be warranted.

Clement said at an online Georgetown University forum that the Justice Department defends federal laws at the Supreme Court “whenever reasonable arguments can be made”.

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