Ripples of shock flowed through the legal community after news broke late yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice will no longer defend the Affordable Care Act in an ongoing appeal over its constitutionality.

The government filed a Monday night letter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that said the court should affirm a district judge’s ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional, reported the National Law Journal. The law has remained effective through the appeal of a December 2018 ruling by Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas that said the entire health care law was unconstitutional ever since Congress passed a law in 2017 that zeroed out the ACA’s penalty for uninsured people. Other parties have intervened in the appeal to defend the law, and they’ll keep defending it even though the federal government will not.

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