Yesterday’s key Supreme Court decisions in King v. Burwell and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. ensured that millions of Americans will have access to affordable healthcare and that a key provision of the Fair Housing Act will be left intact to use in the fight against discrimination.
In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, guaranteeing that the 16 million Americans (and counting) who have healthcare thanks to the act will continue to receive affordable healthcare. The case (King v. Burwell) questioned the intent of four words in the law, relying more on partisan bickering than actual, substantial legal questions. In the end, the court upheld the law’s subsidies, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy swinging over to join the traditionally liberal block of justices in voting to uphold the law.
CREDIT: Josh Odam.
In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., another landmark case, Kennedy once again joined the court’s four Democrat-appointed justices to uphold the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact provision. Part of a toolkit of options to help combat discrimination in housing and other areas, the disparate impact tool allows claims of discrimination to be based on law’s discriminatory effect, instead of confining claims to discriminatory intent. In effect, the court’s decision maintains a more expansive way for claims of discrimination to be made and argued.
As these decisions were handed down Thursday morning, Generation Progress interns were on the scene, anxiously awaiting the outcomes.
Jordan Uter, a student at Arizona State University, said: “Being at the Supreme Court today after the ruling of King v. Burwell was one of the most exciting events I’ve ever been a part of. This ruling means so much to the 4 million people in states who could’ve lost coverage had the law been misinterpreted. I’m thrilled that the Affordable Care Act is here for good!”
Meanwhile, the interns also emphasized the energy and outpouring of support after the decision came down. Rebecca Drago, a student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said: “I was really excited to be at the SCOTUS decision and the biggest thing I personally noted was the energy in the area. People were genuinely so happy and excited about decision, I think it must have been pretty infectious to anyone even walking by.”
And while it was a momentous day for millions of Americans impacted by both decisions, the Generation Progress interns had an especially eventful day, securing their 15 minutes of fame when CNN screened their cheers of “ACA is bae” and “the ACA is here to stay” on live television.