Dan Jarcho, partner in the firm’s Litigation Practice, noted the legal significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law upholding consumer subsides for the Affordable Care Act.
“King v. Burwell turns on a core question of administrative law: which interpretive rules a court should follow when it interprets a statute’s text. The court did not follow the ordinary rules for interpreting an ambiguous statute. If it had, it would have deferred to the interpretation adopted by the federal agency that administers the statute, in this case the IRS,” said Jarcho.
He continued: “Instead, the Supreme Court refused to defer to the IRS and construed ambiguous statutory language directly. The court’s refusal to defer to the agency was unusual, but the court ended up with the same result as if it had deferred — upholding the Obama administration’s regulation. The court’s refusal to defer is primarily significant for future cases involving judicial interpretations of other statutes. In those cases, the message is clear: courts will not always defer to the pertinent agency when construing an ambiguous statute.”