Supreme Court revisits Obamacare, new justice may cast deciding vote

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court meets to hear whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Conservative Justice Barrett, who was recently appointed by President Trump, may cast a key vote.

The Affordable Care Act, which was introduced under former President Barack Obama, is once again before the Supreme Court, and the trial that begins Tuesday is the third time in the last 10 years that the law has been challenged.

The plaintiffs, other Republican-held state governments such as Texas, argue that the Act’s mandate that everyone buy health insurance violates the U.S. Constitution. Democratic state governments, such as the defense of California, said that because the bill’s punitive tax provision has been repealed by Congress, the mandate doesn’t actually have a coercive effect, so it’s not unconstitutional.

One of the reasons this trial is of particular interest is the addition of Justice Barrett, who was appointed by President Trump. The conservative justice, who took office only last month, did not reveal during the appointment hearing how she would rule on the case, only hinting that even if this mandatory provision is unconstitutional, it does not mean that the entire bill needs to be struck down.

After the death of liberal Justice Ginsburg, the eight remaining justices on the Supreme Court are likely to give a 4-4 decision in the case, so the ninth Justice Barrett’s ruling may be the deciding vote.

But during today’s hearing, two conservative justices, including Chief Justice Roberts and Kavanaugh, another Justice appointed by President Trump, said that it is not the court’s place to decide whether to strike down the entire bill and that the decision belongs to Congress, the same implication Barrett had previously made.