Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Supreme Court’s historic ruling on LGBTQ nondiscrimination could sideline the Trump administration's new policies on health care and adoption.

Why it matters: The ruling's ripple effects will be felt immediately, and could ultimately derail regulations the administration had finalized just days ago.

The big picture: Federal civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and the Supreme Court said Monday that “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Monday’s case was specifically about employment, but the same legal interpretation will likely carry over to other areas, most notably health care — and that could cause problems for some of the Trump administration's policies.

Between the lines: Just a few days before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Department of Health and Human Services rolled back Obama-era rules that banned health care providers from denying care to trans patients.

  • That was based on the Trump administration’s interpretation of what constitutes “sex” discrimination — that it only encompasses biological traits defined at birth. That is, broadly, the same interpretation the high court rejected on Monday.

What’s next: The court’s ruling does not automatically invalidate the health care rules, but would make them much harder to defend in court. And if the administration doesn’t withdraw the rules, those lawsuits are coming.

  • “The court here today clearly articulated that discrimination based on sexual orientation, discrimination based on gender identity, are forms of sex discrimination,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
  • “So, we are expecting the administration to rescind their rule immediately,” he said. “If they don't, we are prepared to continue to use all of our resources, including litigation, to sue them and make sure that the rule is never implemented,”

HHS declined to answer questions about the regulations in light of Monday’s ruling.

Federal adoption guidelines could also be affected by the court’s decision.

  • The Trump administration has been working on rules that would make it easier for adoption and foster agencies to refuse to work with same-sex couples. Those rules would also face lawsuits if and when they're finalized.
  • The specific legal foundations at issue there are somewhat different, but now that the Supreme Court has said civil-rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual identity and gender identity, any policy allowing such discrimination is going to face a steeper climb in the courts.

The bottom line: It may take a while for some of these issues to work their way through the courts, but the Supreme Court's ruling Monday will make many forms of LGBTQ discrimination harder to defend, and in the scheme of things, that will likely happen pretty quickly.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says he will announce Supreme Court pick on Saturday

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he plans to announce his Supreme Court pick on Saturday. He later told reporters that the announcement will come at 5 p.m.

Why it matters: Republicans are moving fast to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which would tilt the balance of the high court in conservatives' favor and have lasting impact on climate policy, immigration and the Affordable Care Act.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 24, 2020 - Health

Reopening the ACA debate is politically risky for GOP

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation, The Cook Political Report; Notes: Those losing insurance includes 2020 ACA marketplace enrollment and 2019 Medicaid expansion enrollment among newly-eligible enrollees. Close races are those defined as "Toss up" or "Lean R/D"; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The sudden uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act could be an enormous political liability for Republicans in key states come November.

Between the lines: Millions of people in crucial presidential and Senate battlegrounds would lose their health care coverage if the Supreme Court strikes down the law, as the Trump administration is urging it to.

Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.