The GOP tax law “eliminated the tax penalty of the ACA, without eliminating the mandate itself,” the states argue. “What remains, then, is the individual mandate, without any accompanying exercise of Congress’s taxing power, which the Supreme Court already held that Congress has no authority to enact.”
The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate in one of the highest-profile court cases in years. The justices did not agree then with the Obama administration’s main argument that the mandate penalty was valid under the Commerce Clause. But the justices did say that the mandate was a constitutional tax. The ruling riled conservatives who felt that Chief Justice John Roberts bent legal reasoning to preserve Obamacare.
Now, the states want to use that same Supreme Court ruling to take down the Affordable Care Act — which has withstood numerous legal challenges but which over the past year has been undermined by executive and regulatory actions the Trump administration has taken.