Affordable Care Act oral arguments give little indication of outcome of case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in the King v. Burwell case, which is likely to decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act. The case involves a challenge to the federal subsidies for health insurance provided by the law and hinges on the interpretation of a few words of the statute. The general consensus after oral arguments, as expressed by SCOTUS Blog, appears to be that Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer will come down in favor of the federal subsidies (thus essentially upholding the ACA) and that Justices Alito and Scalia are likely to side with the challengers of the law.  Harder to call are the views of Justices Roberts and Kennedy. Justice Roberts served as the swing vote that upheld the ACA during the first round of challenges heard by the Supreme Court and asked very few questions yesterday, preventing too much analysis of his inclination this time around. Justice Kennedy is often a swing vote, and many of his questions yesterday gave the impression that he was skeptical of the petitioners' arguments, but his ultimate opinion is far from certain.

SCOTUS Blog offers lengthy coverage of the case, including analysis of yesterday's oral arguments, here, and provides links to coverage by other news outlets, here.