Over the next few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce decisions in several key cases. We at American Freedom Builders will be updating our website to keep you informed about the major decisions that affect personal and economic liberties. Here’s a sneak preview of two of the most closely watched cases:
Obergefell v. Hodges
One case before the Court is Obergefell v. Hodges. On April 28, the Court heard arguments on two issues. First, ”Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?” Second, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?”
According to many of the briefs filed by several states, the underlying issue is broader than “gay marriage.” They argue that the issue of federalism is an important part of the legal considerations in this case. Fifteen states have already affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. If the Supreme Court forces those states to recognize gay marriage, the states argue, it will undermine states sovereignty.
Fifty-seven Members of Congress have signed on to an amicus brief that states the importance of preserving federalism and each state’s right to decide the marriage issue.
A decision in the Obergefell case is expected in June.
King v Burwell
In addition to the marriage case, the Supreme Court is also expected to issue an opinion in the King v Burwell case in June. This is the most recent Obamacare case and the Court heard oral arguments on March 4, 2015.
Obamacare provides tax-credit subsidies to offset the cost of health insurance premiums for qualifying individuals. The law provides that these tax credits are only available to people who purchase their insurance from a marketplace, or exchange, “established by the state” and therefore the law does not allow the tax credit in any federal exchange.
The core issue here is whether or not the IRS may provide tax credits to individuals in states that are participating in the federal government’s exchanges. Despite the fact that the law expressly forbids tax credits in federal exchanges, the IRS wrote regulations extending tax credits in these instances. This case is a challenge to the IRS’s clear overreach in ignoring the statute passed by Congress.
Thirty-six states refused to set up their own Obamacare exchanges, so residents in those states would not be eligible for federal subsidies, according to the law.
So what does it all mean?
These two Supreme Court cases further demonstrate how important elections are given that individuals nominated by the President, and confirmed by a vote of the United States Senate, serve on the Court for a lifetime appointment. A President's nominations to the Supreme Court far outlast his time in the White House.
President Barack Obama’s liberal stamp on the Supreme Court will be one of his most far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on the country. He nominated Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. These justices are often acknowledged to be the two most liberal justices on the Court, and their votes over the next few decades have the potential to drastically change America.
Next November, voters will go to the ballot box to cast their vote for the next President of the United States. Leading up to that election, American Freedom Builders will continue to provide information about each candidate and about the types of justices each promises to nominate to the courts.