Issues > Supreme Court Of The United States

SCOTUS - History

Here are some facts about the Supreme Court Of The United States.  Information was provided by Kathleen McCleary | Parade | February 7, 2016

Who Are The Justices of SCOTUS? 

Justice Brett Kavanaugh (2018 – ), 54, Nominated by President Donald Trump, 2018

What type of cases heard by the SCOTUS?

Birth, death, marriage, life, what it means to be a person, to have equal rights, to be fair—this is the stuff the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) examines every year, making decisions that become the law of the land.

“The justices of the Supreme Court establish—by interpreting laws and a constitution—a set of laws for the country. Without that we have no laws,” says Nina Totenberg, legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio.

Thousands of cases are sent to the Court every year. If four of the nine justices agree a case should be heard, the Court asks the federal courts to send up all the information about the case so they can review it (known as granting a writ of certiorari). The Court chooses cases with national significance: Do kids have the right to pray in school? Should workers pay fees to labor unions if they don’t want to be a member? Did President Obama exceed his powers in trying to protect illegal immigrants from deportation? They also take cases when the lower courts can’t agree how to interpret the law involved; SCOTUS’ decision then becomes the precedent that every court in the U.S. has to follow.


  • The Supreme Court building is one of the only federal buildings ever to come in under budget. Congress authorized $9,740,000 for its construction; the building was completed and furnished for $94,000 less. The remainder was returned to the Treasury.
  • 10,000 - Approximate number of cases that appeal every year to the Supreme Court
  • 75–80 - Number of cases the Court agrees to hear
  • $249,300 - Yearly salary of the justices (the chief makes $11,400 more)
  • 30 - Maximum number of minutes an attorney has to argue a case
  • 100–150 - Number of first-come, first-served public seats in the courtroom
  • 0 - TV cameras in the courtroom. Proceedings are never televised for security reasons and to discourage lawyers from playing to the camera or being intimidated or influenced by the presence of the media.


Test your knowledge about the SCOTUS - Here!

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - GOP starts 2016 with repeal attempt

Liberty University vs Lew - Case #13-306
Petition Denied - 12.02.13

Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Obamacare mandate
by Joan McCarter

12.02.13 - The last, great hope of Republicans to see Obamacare killed outright is officially dead. They haven't been able to repeal it. They ran a presidential campaign on ending it, and were overwhelmingly rejected. The Supreme Court decided not to overturn the entire law once already, and has now dismissed the last big case challenging the underpinnings of the law.

The court rejected a petition filed by Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia, which had raised various objections to the law, including to the key provision that requires individuals to obtain health insurance. [...]

By rejecting the Liberty University case, the justices left intact a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of a May 2013 decision that dismissed the claims made by the college and two individuals, Michele Waddell and Joanne Merrill.

They're not going to kill it outright. They're officially out of opportunities. They're out of time legislatively, since they're going on the long recess on December 13. They'll have to change strategies now, because after January 1 repeal means taking people's insurance away, something even most Republicans will recognize isn't politically smart.  So now it's going to be more efforts to chip away, to refuse to allow any fixes, to create as many obstacles as possible at the state level for implementation. All of which they will do, because it's now their entire reason for being.

- FACTS about The Affordable Care Act:

  • No lifetime limit on coverage for 105 million Americans.
  • Up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage by insurers.
  • 6.6 million young adults up to age 26 have taken advantage of the law to obtain health insurance through their parents’ plan.
  • Free coverage for comprehensive preventive services for millions of women starting in August.
  • 86 million Americans, including 32 million seniors in Medicare, have already received free preventive services.
  • 5.3 million seniors have already saved $3.7 billion on their prescription drugs.
  • Since the health care law was enacted in March 2010, 4.2 million private sector jobs have been created – many of them in the health care industry.
  • The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit has already been used by 360,000 small businesses to help insure 2 million workers.
  • $1.1 billion in rebates from health insurance companies this summer will benefit nearly 13 million Americans.
  • The health care law reduces the deficit by $124 billion over the next 10 years and over $1 trillion over the following decade.


Who will pay taxes, fees according to the new Affordable Care Act?

  • Higher Medicare tax on individuals with income above $200,000; couples above $250,000
  • Tax on high-cost insurance plans
  • Annual fee paid by insurers
  • Fee on drug makers; tax on medical manufacturers
  • Penalty on employers who don't insure workers
  • Penalty on individuals who don't buy insurance
  • Limited deductions for health expenses paid by individuals claiming $7,500 or more in health expenses
  • 10% tax on tanning salon visits paid by people who use tanning salons
  • Higher tax on home sales for individuals who make more than $250,000 and couples who make more than $500,000 in profit on the sale of their homes

Source:  Joint Committee on Taxation


6.28.12 — The United States Supreme Court upheld in its entirety President Obama's health care law, The Affordable Care Act, today.  In a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, providing the swing vote.  This is a major victory for President Obama as Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vows to double Republican efforts to repeal the entire law.

What the Supreme Court's ruling means for your health care.

Today, the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling: They upheld the Affordable Care Act and ensured that millions of American families will have access to health care and protection from the worst abuses of the insurance industry.

Lots of people have questions about the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court's decision, and their health care coverage. We've pulled together the most useful information — including President Obama's remarks after the announcement — at

Watch the video and get the facts here.

Read the President's full remarks here.


Health Reform providing security to working families

  • Working families are protected from losing their health care or being forced into bankruptcy when a family member gets sick or is in an accident. Families have the security of knowing their health insurance will be there when they need it most.
  • Insurance companies are now required to justify rate hikes, and consumers have the ability to appeal to an independent third party when insurance companies refuse to cover services or care.
  • Starting in 2014, all Americans will have access to affordable health insurance no matter their circumstances — whether they change jobs, lose their job, decide to start a business, or retire early. Purchasing private insurance in the new state-based health insurance exchanges could save middle-class families who can’t get employer-provided insurance thousands of dollars.
  • Once fully implemented, the law will slow health care premium growth rates, adding another $2,000 to family savings by 2019.
  • The Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce the deficit by $127 billion from 2012 to 2021.

Women and Health Reform

20.4 million women with private insurance now can soon get free preventive care. That means they can get life-saving cancer screenings like mammograms and can have their contraception covered without paying a co-pay or deductible. Women are living healthier lives while saving money at the same time.  The Affordable Care Act will also prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women so that being a woman is no longer considered a pre-existing condition.

Young People and Health Reform

Young adults are now eligible to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans as they enter the workforce, until they turn 26. Since the health care law passed, 2.5 million young adults — traditionally the group least likely to be insured — gained insurance because of The Affordable Care Act.

Small Business and Health Reform

Under The Affordable Care Act, help for small businesses — including the new insurance exchanges — will reduce small business health care spending by nearly 9 percent, according to independent estimates.  Millions of small businesses are now eligible for a tax credit to help pay for their health care premiums. The credit will increase to cover 50 percent of premium costs in 2014.

Ending discrimination for pre-existing conditions

The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) provides insurance to people of all ages with health conditions who have been uninsured for six months, helping those with cancer or other serious conditions to get the treatment they need.  Before The Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny coverage to children with medical conditions. Thanks to The Affordable Care Act, as many as 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance.

Ending lifetime limits

Before The Affordable Care Act, more than half of all private insurance plans included a lifetime limit on coverage — and nearly 20,000 people hit a lifetime cap each year. The Affordable Care Act banned these caps, and those who had already hit a lifetime limit will be eligible for unlimited coverage.

Strengthening Medicare

More than 47 million Medicare beneficiaries now have access to free health services — including an annual wellness visit, mammograms, and other health screenings — to help detect and treat medical conditions early.  Thanks to The Affordable Care Act, nearly 3.6 million seniors who fell into the Medicare “doughnut hole” during 2011 saved an average of $604 on prescription drugs.  In 2011, The Affordable Care Act saved women who fell into the 'doughnut hole' on Medicare more than $1.2 billion on the cost of prescription drugs.


Top 10 benefits received from The Affordable Care Act

  1. Before health reform, insurance companies used a practice called 'gender rating' which means women could be charged more than men for the exact same insurance policy.  By 2014, The Affordable Care Act will end 'gender rating'.
  2. Insurance companies now cover all FDA approved contraception without extra co-pays.
  3. Insurance companies now cover mammograms and pap smears without extra co-pays.  In the future, well-woman visits and domestic violence screenings will be included.
  4. Insurance companies now cover maternity care.
  5. Insurance companies now cover breastfeeding equipment and support.
  6. Children with pre-existing conditions are now protected.  Soon insurance companies will not be able to deny women coverage for 'pre-existing conditions' such as pregnancy, having had a C-section or being a survivor of domestic violence.  
  7. Insurance exchanges will help consumers compare insurance policies.  Women make 80% of the health care decisions in the United States.
  8. New tax credits are now available to help small businesses provide coverage to all their employees.  Women are more likely than men to work for small businesses that don't offer health insurance.
  9. Young adults now benefit from a new rule that allows young adults to remain on their parents' health insurance policy as a dependent until age 26.  Young women under the age of 26 are more likely to be uninsured than women in any other age group.
  10. Seniors now benefit from a provision that is starting to close the Medicare Part D 'doughnut hole' gap which requires Seniors to spend a considerable amount out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.  The 'doughnut hole' gap will be completely closed by 2020.