Americans woke up to a federal court ruling last week that all but squashed the Affordable Care Act but an attorney involved in the case says it wasn't a surprise.
Because the GOP-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act zeroed out the individual mandate penalty in Obamacare for not having health insurance, a federal judge has ruled all of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
The individual mandate penalty is what upheld the health care law during a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court case over the controversial law in 2012.
The ruling last Friday amounts to "raw judicial activism," Nicholas Bagley, a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
"Don't for a moment mistake it for the rule of law," he claimed.
"We need to pivot and look at opportunities for states to step up and lead. Governors and states would do a better job at addressing this than Washington, DC. This has never been a proper role for the federal government – and we would urge as this case moves through the federal courts that this now is the opportunity for the GOP and for the states to get it right, to step up, to address concerns about people being able to get coverage and care when they're sick, and to provide real solutions for Americans."
Rob Henneke, general counsel
Texas Public Policy Foundation
However, attorney Rob Henneke of Texas Public Policy Foundation says it was not judicial activism.
"Judicial activism is when the courts step in to write new laws or they twist something to get to a desired outcome," Henneke told reporters in a press call Monday. "Judge O'Connor addressed this in the first paragraph of his opinion in that his decision is based on the language of the Supreme Court's opinion and the text of the Affordable Care Act. It's not activism. It's him doing his job."
Henneke defended individuals who were co-plaintiffs in the case along with a Texas-led state coalition.
"My clients are those that have continued to be hurt by the Affordable Care Act," he continued. "They have lost a doctor of their choice. They have dealt with double-digit increases in their premiums. They've also dealt with limitations on how they can access health care even under the Affordable Care Act plan they purchased through the mandate."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement that predicted the ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court and also stated the law "remains in place" pending that appeal.
12/19/2018 - sidebar added