White Paper

Summary of Supreme Court Oral Arguments in California v. Texas

November 12, 2020

On November 10, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in California v. Texas (Dkt. No. 19-840), a case in which the Trump administration and several Republican-led states have asked the Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) in its entirety. The Court is evaluating three key questions:  

  1. Whether the individual and state plaintiffs have standing to challenge the individual mandate;
  2. Whether the elimination of the individual mandate penalty in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional; and
  3. If unconstitutional, whether the individual mandate is “severable” from the rest of the ACA.

All nine Supreme Court justices, including newly-confirmed Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, participated in the two-hour proceedings. Arguments for the Petitioners were presented by California Solicitor General Michael Mongan (on behalf of states defending the individual mandate), and Donald Verrilli, Jr. (on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives). Arguments for the Respondents were presented by Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins (on behalf of states challenging the individual mandate), and Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall (on behalf of the United States).

We have also summarized the background and history of the case in a separate white paper. The Supreme Court is expected to render its decision by June 2021.

Download our white paper here.