Gov. Carney Seeks U.S. Supreme Court Review of Court Decision Invalidating Political Balance Requirements for DE Judges

WILMINGTON, Del.Delaware Governor John Carney this week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse a lower federal court decision striking down longstanding provisions of the Delaware Constitution requiring political balance on the state’s courts.

“Delaware’s judiciary has a longstanding reputation as objective, stable, and nonpartisan,” said Governor Carney. “That is largely thanks to the wisdom of those who wrote the Delaware Constitution. They understood the importance of keeping partisan politics out of Delaware’s courts, which are widely respected nationwide for their excellence and garner tremendous respect from our citizens and members of our bar. I believe it’s more important now than ever to protect Delaware’s judiciary from partisan politics, and we look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court considering our petition.”

The Governor of Delaware v. James R. Adams case involves the proper interpretation of earlier court rulings that concluded that lower-level government employees may not be fired on account of their politics — but carved out an exception for higher-level jobs, including policymaking roles. The Governor’s petition notes that every other court to address the issue has held that judges are policymakers who fall outside the scope of the earlier decisions.

Citing other U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the petition stresses that the lower court ruling violates the state’s sovereign Tenth Amendment right to determine the qualifications of their most important governmental officials — a right “that lies at the heart of representative government.” The petition also notes that if the lower court’s decision were correct, it would cast doubt on dozens of federal and state agencies whose commissioners must, by law, be bipartisan.

Governor Carney is represented by Stanford Professor and former judge Michael McConnell; former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland; Steffen Johnson and Brian Levy, all of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.; and by David McBride, Martin Lessner, and Pilar Kraman of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.

A decision from the Supreme Court on whether to hear the case is expected by late this year or early 2020.

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Delaware Department of Justice Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision to Review Services for Children With Disabilities

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case from the state of Colorado involving the level of educational services that must be provided to public school students with disabilities. The case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, is significant because it will be the first time in decades that the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed this issue, and different federal courts around the country have come to different conclusions on the question.

“This case may not have significant implications for Delaware public schoolchildren with disabilities,” Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn said. “Delaware state law was changed in 2010, in a bill I worked on as Lieutenant Governor with Representative Quinn Johnson and Senator David Sokola, to require that Delaware public schools provide services to Delaware students with disabilities that matches the highest level of services required by federal courts interpreting this issue. However, sometimes the language that the U.S. Supreme Court uses in issuing its decisions can be as important as the decisions themselves. For that reason, the Delaware Department of Justice will be seeking to advocate – potentially with other state Attorneys General — for the U.S. Supreme Court to find that the highest level of services for children with disabilities currently recognized by federal courts is the correct level for all of the nation’s children, and for the Supreme Court to provide specific guidance to the states as to how to implement its decision in order to ensure that children with disabilities have an opportunity to fulfill their potential.”


Delaware Officials Gratified by Supreme Court Decision on Health Insurance Subsidies

NOTE TO MEDIA: DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf will do a media-only call at noon today (12:00) to discuss the Supreme Court decision and what it means for Delaware. Call-in info: 302-255-2725/123147

Delaware Officials Gratified by Supreme Court Decision on Health Insurance Subsidies
Federal Tax Credits for More Than 19,000 Delawareans Will Not Change

NEW CASTLE (June 25, 2015) – Delaware officials are gratified by today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold federal tax subsidies for enrollees of Health Insurance Marketplaces in every state who are eligible for them, including the more than 19,000 Delawareans who receive tax credits to help pay for their coverage.

While the provision of tax credits will not change, Delaware officials said they would continue to do their due diligence in evaluating Delaware’s marketplace.

“I support today’s decision by the Supreme Court that tax subsidies on the Health Insurance Marketplaces are legal in every state, including Delaware,” Gov. Jack Markell said in response to the 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell. “For the more than 19,000 Delawareans who qualify, the federal subsidies are critical in helping to make health insurance more affordable. And we know that coverage is an important component in connecting Delawareans to care.”

Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said she is grateful that the 19,128 Delawareans who qualify for subsidies on Delaware’s marketplace will continue to receive monthly tax credits that average $265.

“For too many people, the federal subsidies are the difference between being able to afford access to care and not being able to afford that access. Or simply, the subsidies can be the difference between being insured or uninsured,” Secretary Landgraf said. “Protecting those subsidies has been and will continue to be one of our highest priorities.”

Delaware is a state-federal partnership state, which means that it is responsible for management and certification of the private insurance plans sold on the marketplace, along with assisting Delawareans in understanding their options during enrollment. To provide year-round information about the marketplace, Delaware officials created www.ChooseHealthDE.com. Under the state-federal partnership model, Delaware outsourced the information technology to the federal government through www.HealthCare.gov.

Because federal start-up funds ended after this year’s second year of enrollment, Delaware officials also are evaluating the long-term operations of the state’s marketplace. One option that officials are exploring is the Supported State-Based Marketplace (SSBM). Under this model provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Delaware would be responsible for operating the marketplace, but would assess insurers a fee to sell plans on the marketplace and the state must pay a fee to the federal government to use HealthCare.gov and the Federal Call Center to facilitate enrollment each year. On June 1, Delaware applied for non-binding, conditional approval of a Supported State-Based Marketplace. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell granted conditional approval on June 15.

A final decision on any changes to Delaware’s marketplace will be made later this summer.

Nationwide, Delaware had one of the highest increases in enrollment between 2014 and 2015, with 25,036 Delawareans enrolling in 2015, up 74 percent over the 2014 enrollment of 14,397.

Enrollment for 2016 will begin Nov. 1 and run through Jan. 31, 2016. The penalties for not having insurance in 2016 will increase to $695 per adult ($347.50 for each child under 18), or 2.5 percent of your annual household income, whichever is higher.

NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

For more information, contact Jill Fredel, Director of Communications, (302) 255-9047 (office)
or (302) 357-7498 (cell).

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.