We Need Better Rules on Standing

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Late last year, Texas federal district court judge Reed O’Connor ruled that Obamacare was unconstitutional. His reasoning was absurd: because the fine for not having insurance has been reduced to $0—for the time being—it means the individual mandate no longer exists. And since the whole law is based on that, the whole law is now unconstitutional.

Naturally, this has been appealed. But today, the 5th Circuit asked for briefs on whether anyone actually has standing to appeal:

This sort of thing happens too frequently, and the Supreme Court needs to say something about it. It wouldn’t have to overturn decades of jurisprudence about standing, it would just need to slightly liberalize the terms under which states and legislatures can say that they’re affected by a lower court ruling.

I mean, can you imagine what would happen if this were allowed to stand? It would bless the strategy of forum shopping to find a reliably anti-Democratic judge to invalidate Obamacare nationwide, and would then prevent any higher court from hearing an appeal. No democracy can support something like this.

In the end, even if standing were disallowed, I suppose some blue state somewhere would forum shop for its own judge, who would then hand down the opposite ruling. At that point, higher courts would have to take on the substance of the case whether they liked it or not. But it’s still no way to run a railroad.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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