john roberts Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr. (December 10, 2009) Photo by Diego M.Radzinschi/NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

For the second time in two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court hasmade clear its views on how and when to sever unconstitutionalprovisions from a federal law, a crucial issue the justices willconfront next term concerning the fate of the Affordable CareAct.

The Trump administration's U.S. Justice Department argues in the health care caseCalifornia v. Texas that the entire health care insurance lawshould fall after Congress in 2017 eliminated the tax penalty forfailure to purchase health insurance. The penalty provision couldnot be severed from the rest of the act because of itsinterrelationship to other critical features of the law, then-U.S.Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in a recent brief.

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Marcia Coyle

Marcia Coyle, based in Washington, covers the U.S. Supreme Court. Contact her at [email protected]. On Twitter: @MarciaCoyle