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WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The Supreme Court has upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.
The justices said in a 6-3 ruling Thursday that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.
The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.
Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold the law in 2012.
Justice Anthony Kennedy also voted with his more liberal colleagues.
Nearly one million Texans have signed up for health insurance on the federal marketplace. After getting news of the decision Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement, saying –
“The Supreme Court abandoned the Constitution to resuscitate a failing healthcare law. Today’s action underscores why it is now more important than ever to ensure we elect a President who will repeal Obamacare and enact real healthcare reforms.”
The Supreme Court also handed a major victory to the Obama administration and civil rights groups when it upheld a key tool used for more than four decades to fight housing discrimination.
The justices ruled 5-4 that federal housing laws prohibit seemingly neutral practices that harm minorities, even without proof of intentional discrimination. The case involved an appeal from Texas officials accused of violating the Fair Housing Act by awarding federal tax credits in a way that kept low-income housing out of white neighborhoods.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a swing vote, joined the court’s four liberal members in upholding the use of so-called “disparate impact” cases.
The ruling is a win for housing advocates who argued that the Fair Housing Act allows challenges to race-neutral policies that have a negative impact on minority groups. The Justice Department has used disparate impact lawsuits to win millions of dollars in legal settlements from companies accused of bias against black and Hispanic customers.
In upholding the tactic, the Supreme Court preserved a legal strategy that has been used for more than 40 years to attack discrimination in zoning laws, occupancy rules, mortgage lending practices and insurance underwriting. Every federal appeals court to consider it has upheld the practice, though the Supreme Court had never previously taken it up.
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