3. Dems' SCOTUS strategy focuses on the ACA
Senate Democrats are hoping the coalition that saved the ACA from repeal can also sink a Supreme Court nomination. But the threat is a lot less certain this time.
What they're saying: Front and center in Democrats' emerging campaign against Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the argument that he could, if confirmed, strike down the ACA's protections for pre-existing conditions.
The other side: Republicans say Democrats are hyping a remote threat.
- "That is fantasy. It’s ridiculous. The judge is going to decide a case on [a] case-by-case basis. Who knows whether that issue will ever come up in front of the Supreme Court?" Majority Whip John Cornyn said.
Here's the deal: Democrats' fears are certainly plausible — but a lot of stars would need to align.
How it would happen: Texas' lawsuit over the ACA's individual mandate — which also implicates coverage for pre-existing conditions — would make it all the way through the appeals process, and the Supreme Court would agree to hear it.
- Kavanaugh would have to vote against the mandate (an opportunity he passed up last time) and Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the deciding vote to uphold the mandate in 2012, would have to reverse course to strike it down now.
Threat level: “I have a feeling that Roberts is not eager to rake another Affordable Care Act case — but it’s possible, and there's the potential there to do a great deal of damage," pro-ACA legal guru Tim Jost said.
Go deeper: Caitlin Owens and I unpack all this today at Axios.com.