Pratik Shah Quoted by Media on Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Decision

Pratik Shah, co-head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, has been quoted in the media in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell, the decision that upheld federal subsidies related to the Affordable Care Act.

In Law360, Shah is quoted as saying it is hard “to remove the technical statutory interpretation issue in this case from the charged nature of the Affordable Care Act. But the court’s decision is quite consistent with the reasoning and result, if not the precise line-up of Justices, in its decision earlier this term in Yates v. United States.” In that case, the Court was asked “whether a fish is a ‘tangible object’ within the meaning of a destruction-of-evidence provision in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act” and found that “the context of the statute, read as a whole, did not permit that interpretation. Read together, the two decisions show a court engaged in a more holistic form of statutory interpretation.”

Shah expanded his comments in The National Law Journal, noting that the majority did not, in reaching its decision, rely on so-called Chevron deference, in which the court will defer to the interpretation of the agency responsible for the implementation of a statutory provision. Applying Chevron deference, he added, “would have left the act susceptible to a change in interpretation—through a regulation adopting the challengers’ interpretation—under a different administration. But the court’s decision now forecloses that possibility.”