UPDATE: Jan. 14, 2020: The coalition of blue states arguing for expedited review filed its response to the red states Monday, saying the Affordable Care Act opponents "do not meaningfully dispute the practical threat that continued uncertainty about the future of the ACA poses to our Nation and its healthcare system."
The U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of red states said the motions to expedite their challenge of the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court should be denied, according to two separate filings Friday.
The filings with the high court are in response to a petition from a coalition of blue states led by California asking the justices to hear the case. The group of red states led by Texas is seeking to have the entire law overturned in court and has so far racked up two lower court wins.
The case has been an overhang for the industry and created enormous uncertainty. The landmark law has drastically altered the healthcare industry and is responsible for increasing the ranks of the insured throughout the U.S.
The blue state coalition, which is defending the law in court, filed a motion one week ago saying a December appeals court ruling warrants an immediate and expedited review by the high court. The Supreme Court set a deadline of 4 p.m. Friday seeking a response to the blue states' petition.
In its filing, DOJ argues there's nothing in the previous judgments that warrant an accelerated review. In fact, the DOJ wrote that both decisions removed "any exigency" because the lower court's decision did not go into effect and the appeals court decision "did not definitively resolve any question of practical consequence."
The blue states suggested an aggressive timeline in their petition, in an effort to have the case heard before the upcoming presidential election in November.
The federal appeals court ruled last month that a key aspect, the individual mandate penalty, of the ACA is unconstitutional. However, the three-judge panel did not answer the most important question in the case: whether the rest of the law can stand without the part that has been ruled unconstitutional.
Two courts have now ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional because there is no longer a financial penalty associated with forgoing insurance coverage. Congress switched the penalty to zero in December 2017 in a tax overhaul bill.
The red states have argued that the law cannot stand without the individual mandate and the rest of the law must fall. They now say that doesn't warrant quick review by the Supreme Court.
"There may come a day when this Court's review is appropriate, but it is after the issue of severability is decided below," according to their motion.
The appeals court sidestepped this question about severing the rest of the law from the individual mandate and sent it back to the lower court for more analysis on what could stay or go.
Instead of waiting on that argument, the blue states, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, decided to petition the high court to weigh in.
"States, health insurers, and millions of Americans rely on those provisions when making important — indeed, life-changing — decisions. The remand proceedings contemplated by the panel majority would only prolong and exacerbate the uncertainty already caused by this litigation," according to that petition.