Law professor: ‘Small’ chance of radical changes by likely 6-3 conservative majority on US Supreme Court

Upcoming term to again hear Affordable Care Act case

SAN ANTONIO – When the  U.S. Supreme Court convenes in October, there will be a 6-3 conservative majority if President Trump nominates a female conservative to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a liberal icon.

Michael Ariens, the Aloysius Leopold Professor of Law at the St. Mary’s Law School, said besides technical issues involving copyright law and the Federal Trade Act that are on the docket, the high court will once again consider Affordable Care Act.

“This is not as likely to raise the kinds of conservative - liberal differences the public often sees in the Supreme Court,” Ariens said.

Although the ACA was initially ruled constitutional, Ariens said the U.S. Congress later eliminated the controversial penalty imposed on healthier individuals who did not enroll in the ACA.

Ariens said the high court will consider, “Does that mean the entire statute is unconstitutional or only part of the statute?”

Many of its supporters have voiced concern that having an even stronger conservative majority on the Supreme Court will finally mean the end of “Obamacare.”

“There’s always the possibility, but I think the odds of it radically changing are small," he said.

Ariens said he believes the same may hold true for other issues, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

“The issue of DACA is still alive, but it is not coming to the Supreme Court right now,” Ariens said. “I don’t see it coming to the Supreme Court this coming October term.”

But as far as some existing laws, Ariens said, “The Supreme Court, in most circumstances, is conservative in the sense of not trying to radically reshape society.”

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