HOUSTON – Wright Close & Barger appellate lawyer Raffi Melkonian, who observed arguments surrounding the Affordable Care Act at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was interviewed by two legal news outlets for his insights.
Mr. Melkonian told Law360 that the court could resolve the ACA lawsuit by ruling that the individual mandate requiring health insurance is severable from the ACA. But if the appeals court rules any other way, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely hear the case, he said in a July 11 article headlined “ACA Case Places Age-Old Legal Doctrine in Spotlight” (subscription required).
"If everyone has agreed that striking down the mandate would have no consequences, they could just strike down the individual mandate and resolve the case," Mr. Melkonian told Law360. "If the panel does anything other than that ... you've got to think the Supreme Court's going to look at this."
If the Supreme Court does take up the case, Mr. Melkonian said he doubts it would be before the 2020 election. "It would be a very tight deadline to get it up there next term."
He also was quoted by Texas Lawyer in a July 10 article, “‘Tough Day in Court,' but Experts Say the 5th Circuit Might Salvage Parts of Obamacare.”
He told the publication “it’s hard to read the tea leaves,” but he was struck by the many questions raised by Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod. “There were many minutes of questions about: If we did remand, what would that look like? What would a remand be for? What would we do about severability?”
Mr. Melkonian represented three conservative law professors in filing an amicus brief in the case.