University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Texas v. United States of America IM-TX-0051
Docket / Court 4:18-cv-00167-O ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Case Summary
On February 26, 2018, The State of Texas and 19 other states filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The complaint named as defendants: the United States of America, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Health ... read more >
On February 26, 2018, The State of Texas and 19 other states filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The complaint named as defendants: the United States of America, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, United States Internal Revenue Service, and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Represented by various states' attorneys general, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief from a 2017 amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plaintiffs alleged that the December 22, 2017 amendment known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 forced an “unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the States and their citizens” because it eliminated the tax penalty of the ACA without eliminating the individual mandate requiring that most Americans have “minimal essential coverage.”

The Supreme Court had interpreted the mandate in NFIB v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012), as part of a tax penalty applying to individuals covered by the mandate. Thus, the mandate was a lawful exercise of Congress's taxing power. As a result, the plaintiffs alleged that eliminating the tax penalty in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made not only the individual mandate unlawful, but also the rest of the ACA unlawful. The complaint sought: (1) a declaratory judgment that the individual mandate of the ACA exceeded Congress's Article I constitutional enumerated powers; (2) a declaratory judgment that the ACA violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment; (3) a declaratory judgment that the ACA violated the Tenth Amendment; (4) a declaratory judgment under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and (5) injunctive relief against federal officials from implementing, regulating, or otherwise enforcing the ACA.

On April 23, 2018, the complaint was amended to add Special Counsel for Civil Litigation as attorneys for plaintiff states. A month later, on May 16, 2018, Judge Reed C. O'Connor granted a motion for 16 states and the District of Columbia to intervene as defendants. By the time oral arguments concerning the preliminary injunction began on September 5, 2018, multiple associations and scholars offered amicus briefs in support of the defendants. While the defendants agreed that the individual mandate requirement was unconstitutional, they argued that all other provisions of the ACA are severable and thereby enforceable.

Finally, on December 14, 2018, Judge O'Connor denied the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction and instead granted plaintiffs' partial summary judgement on count one of the plaintiffs' complaint. The court found the individual mandate unconstitutional because it no longer triggered a tax, and held that the provision was inseverable from the rest of the ACA. However, Judge O'Connor also granted defendants' motion to sever count one from the remaining claims in order to make the judgment final and therefore immediately appealable. In the same order, Judge O'Connor additionally granted defendants' motion to stay the judgment pending appeal.

The defendants appealed from the judgement on count one on January 3, 2019 to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. By March 25, 2019, the court granted dismissal of both the State of Maine and the State of Wisconsin as plaintiffs and Judge O'Connor granted the United States House of Representatives defendant intervener status. The Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments on July 9, 2019, and the case is ongoing pending the appellate court's decision.

Richa Bijlani - 10/16/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Medicare
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) United States of America, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Health and Human Services, United States Internal Revenue Service, Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Plaintiff Description Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Governor of Maine, Governor Phil Bryant, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
No documents currently in the collection

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