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Nicholas Bagley @nicholas_bagley
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Here's the brief. As expected. The Justice Department believes the crucial insurance reforms of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional and will not defend them. This is an enormous blow to the integrity of DOJ.…
The Justice Department doesn't think an injunction is immediately warranted. But on no uncertain terms, it argues that the federal courts should invalidate the crucial operative provisions of the ACA.
I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is. The Justice Department has a durable, longstanding, bipartisan commitment to defending the law when non-frivolous arguments can be made in its defense. This brief torches that commitment.
Pick your adjective. The arguments that the plaintiffs have offered in favor of their argument that the penalty-free mandate requires striking down the whole statute are silly. Laughable. Ridiculous. Unprincipled. And yet --
To be clear, the ACA remains intact, and will remain intact for the foreseeable future. This case is not going anywhere fast, and the likelihood that the Supreme Court endorses this travesty of an argument is slim.
But the blow to the institutional integrity of the Justice Department is profound. That's why three line attorneys -- civil servants who have made arguments they disagreed with countless times -- removed themselves from this case. These arguments are that far beyond the pale.
If you want a somewhat longer primer on what's happening here, I wrote about the risk of the Trump administration's cravenness back when the case was first filed. But even I didn't think the administration was THAT unprincipled.…
Do you want to live in a country where the executive branch can pick and choose the craziest of arguments and decline to defend -- or even to enforce! -- laws on that basis? The President has a duty to take care that all the laws are enforced, not just the ones he agrees with.
I don't mean to be an alarmist about the rule of law, but now is a time for being an alarmist about the rule of law. The Trump administration has just announced that it doesn't care that the law was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.
It dislikes the law, and can muster the stupidest of fig-leaf arguments to claim that its essential elements should be invalidated. If this stands as a precedent, the rule of law will mean one thing in a Republican administration and a different one in a Dem administration.
By the way, the administration invites the court to enjoin the preexisting condition rules on January 1, 2019. And they've pulled a right-wing judge to rule on the case. Good luck with getting insurers to enroll under a cloud of uncertainty like that.
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