Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's controversial final Supreme Court pick, votes to uphold Obamacare

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court just rejected Republicans' attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published June 17, 2021 12:13PM (EDT)

Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Nine years after the Supreme Court first upheld the Affordable Care Act, an even more conservative Court again saved the landmark legislation now known as Obamacare on Thursday. 

Without ruling on the merits of the case, the Supreme Court rejected Republicans' years-long legal battle against the health insurance legislation. The Court's newest members, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, both appointed by former President Donald Trump, voted against the Republican challengers to keep the law in place. This is the third time the highest court in the nation has affirmed the law since its passage in 2010. 

This case, California v. Texas, case was brought by a bloc of Republican state officials looking to strike down the entire law after a Republican-controlled Congress effectively ended tax penalties for the individual mandate, which the Supreme Court previously upheld as constitutional. In his decision, Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said the states don't have standing to challenge the individual mandate "because they have not shown a past or future injury fairly traceable to defendants' conduct enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional." 

Breyer was joined in the seven-member majority by Four Republican appointees — Trump picks Kavanaugh and Barrett as well as Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. In the minority were Justices Samuel Alito and Neal Gorsuch.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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