Looks like Roberts has Kavanaugh’s vote to tell the Republican conference if it wants the ACA dead it can take the political hit itself:
Roberts spurned arguments that would derail the entire law. He noted that the justices typically asked whether Congress would want the rest of a law to stand if a portion if found invalid. “And here, Congress left the rest of the law intact when it lowered the penalty to zero,” he said. “That seems to be compelling evidence on the question.”Roberts likely has a majority for that conclusion. The three other justices who had upheld the law in the past (Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan), suggested by their questions that they would do so again. And Justice Brett Kavanaugh (a 2018 Trump appointee) said he found “a very straightforward case” for excising the mandate and leaving the rest of the ACA in place.
Roberts voiced a separate grievance to Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, arising from the fact that ACA opponents have turned to the judiciary for something that could not be achieved legislatively.
think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate was struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act,” Roberts said. “I think, frankly, that they wanted the court to do that, but that’s not our job.”
I’ll probably have more on this later but obviously it’s good news. Still, it will be annoying to see the Roberts Court rejecting a particularly farcical challenge to a popular and important law as evidence of “moderation.” Conservative litigators are going to push the envelope and their occasional loss in marginal cases doesn’t change the fact that this is a very reactionary Court.