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With latest Obamacare decision, Roberts Court builds a surprising legacy




Supporters rally in front of the Supreme Court after the court's announcment of the decision affirming the Affordable Care Act on  June 25, 2015, in Washington, DC.
Supporters rally in front of the Supreme Court after the court's announcment of the decision affirming the Affordable Care Act on June 25, 2015, in Washington, DC.
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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The Supreme Court today decided that federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act are legal, leaving intact a core funding mechanism of the health care law.

About 6.4 million Americans and the 34 states without their own exchanges would be impacted if the decision was to go the other way.

Today's 6-3 decision came just three years after the High Court first upheld the legality of Obamacare. That decision was much narrower, 5-4, with Justice John G. Roberts Jr. siding with the four more liberal members of the court.

Justice Roberts issued today's majority opinion. "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Roberts wrote. "If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."

KING ET AL. v. BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.

Guest:

Timothy R. Johnson, Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Minnesota, and co-author of “Oral Arguments and Coalition Formation on the U.S. Supreme Court: A Deliberate Dialogue” (University Michigan Press, 2012)

Emily Bazelon, staff writer for the New York Times Magazine and the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School. She’s also the co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. Her most recent piece on the Supreme Court for NYT Magazine is titled “Better Judgment.”



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