King v. Burwell

King sued Burwell arguing that subsides under the Affordable Care Act are not available in states that use the federal insurance exchange. The district court rejected the challenge and the 4th Circuit affirmed applying Chevron deference. The Court, 6-3, affirmed. The majority held that the provision about tax credits and exchanges is ambiguous, reading the provision to allow credits for those buying through the federal exchange serves the purpose of the Act, makes real the equivalence of state and federal exchanges and avoids destroying the individual health insurance market set up under the Act. Scalia, joined by Thomas and Alito argued the plain meaning of the provision is that tax credits are not available for policies poached on the federal exchange and the only reason the majority holds otherwise is the political goal of keeping the Act intact and in operation.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

Inclusive sued Department alleging disparate impact violation of the Fair Housing Act. The district court entered judgment for impact. 5th Circuit held disparate impact claims are available under the Act, but, remanded for consideration of the claim under new federal rules about such claims. The Court, 5-4, affirmed. The majority held that such claims are allowed as similar operative language to that in the Act has been construed to allow employment and age discrimination claims, Congress amend the Act adding provisions that make no sense if disparate impact claims are not allowed and noting that such claims advance the purpose of the Act. It also held that there must be a causal connection between the alleged policy causing the impact, that mere statistical differences are not enough and the Act does not impose any one vision of how a communities housing should be organized. Thomas dissented arguing that the employment discrimination case was wrongly decided and should not be extended to the housing arena. Alito, joined by Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, dissented arguing the Act only prohibits intentional discrimination, the amendments did not adopt disparate impact, the government position on the issue changed recently and thus is not entitled to deference, the employment and age discrimination cases show that careful attention must be paid to the actual text and the Act here does not have any language authorizing impact claims and allowing impact claims will lead to less affordable housing and hamstring municipal efforts to solve housing issues involving minorities.