6/17/21 – Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a 7-2 ruling in California v. Texas – a challenge brought to the court by the state of Texas and 17 other Republican Attorneys General that centered on the law’s individual mandate. In an opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court found that the plaintiffs “failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act’s minimum essential coverage provision.”
Congress effectively eliminated the minimum essential coverage provision, also known as the individual mandate, in 2017. This is the third unsuccessful attempt to invalidate the ACA through the Supreme Court – and again SCOTUS upheld the Obama-era health care law. Millions of Americans will maintain coverage because of this ruling.
The Court also issued a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In its 9-0 decision, SCOTUS sided with a Catholic social services agency in a case over same-sex foster parents. The Court ruled that the city of Philadelphia’s decision not to renew Catholic Social Services’ foster care contract was impermissible.
At the core of the case was whether non-discrimination laws, such as those enforced by the city of Philadelphia, apply to taxpayer-funded child services so long as they are enforced neutrally. The Court determined that Philadelphia’s law was not neutral. Although the Court ruled in favor of the Catholic Social Services agency – the language in the ruling was narrow and the Court did not recognize a general constitutional right to discriminate based on religious beliefs.
The ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia reminds us that we must pass the Equality Act to codify protections form discrimination into federal law for LGBTQ+ Americans.