Protesters rally on March23, 2016, in support of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptivemandate. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ)

A decision late Friday declaring the AffordableCare Act unlawful triggered a furious weekend debate about thevalidity of the ruling and its fate before anappeals court and ultimately before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 55-page decision in Texas v. UnitedStates, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth,Texas, agreed with 20 states challenging the law thatcongressional action last year to eliminate the penalty imposed bythe individual mandate in the act made it unconstitutional. In themore controversial part of O'Connor's decision, he said that thedemise of the mandate rendered the entire law invalid, because itcould not be severed from the mandate.

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Mike Scarcella

Mike Scarcella is a senior editor in Washington on ALM Media's regulatory desk. Contact him at [email protected]. On Twitter: @MikeScarcella. Mike works on a slate of newsletters: Supreme Court Brief | Higher Law | Compliance Hot Spots | Labor of Law.