Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative.
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: two different federal courts of appeal, issuing completely contradictory rulings on the very same day, on the very same issue.
That’s what happened Tuesday. If nothing else, the dueling rulings should hasten the day when the next phase of litigation involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reaches the Supreme Court.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the administration, voiding an IRS regulation that provided tax credits in the form of a subsidy to individuals purchasing health insurance through exchanges run by the federal government.
Meanwhile, in Richmond, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held the exact opposite: In King v. Burwell, it concluded that the IRS had the power to authorize such subsidies.