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john roberts Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Dec. 10, 2009. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/National Law Journal

For the second time in two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear its views on how and when to sever unconstitutional provisions from a federal law, a crucial issue the justices will confront next term concerning the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

The Trump administration’s U.S. Justice Department argues in the health care case California v. Texas that the entire health care insurance law should fall after Congress in 2017 eliminated the tax penalty for failure to purchase health insurance. The penalty provision could not be severed from the rest of the act because of its interrelationship 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

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