In a victory for the Obama administration, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. Thursday threw out an earlier ruling that said financial subsidies are not available for people who bought health insurance on the federal exchange. A three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reached that conclusion in late July. On the same day, a federal appeals court in Richmond reached the opposite conclusion and said the subsidies are available.
But Thursday, the full D.C. Court of Appeals said it will re-hear the case, which erases the lower court ruling that went against the subsidies. This greatly diminishes the prospect that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue in its coming term. The Justice Department had urged the full court to hear the case. The makeup of the court is thought to be more sympathetic to the argument that the subsidies are available.
First published September 4 2014, 8:36 AM
Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He has been covering the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court since March 1993. Williams was also a key reporter on the Microsoft anti-trust trial and Judge Jackson's decision.
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Prior to joining NBC, Williams served as a press official on Capitol Hill for many years. In 1986 he joined the Washington, D.C. staff of then Congressman Dick Cheney as press secretary and a legislative assistant. In 1989, when Cheney was named Assistant Secretary of Defense, Williams was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. While in that position, Williams was named Government Communicator of the Year in 1991 by the National Association of Government Communicators.
A native of Casper, Wyo. and a 1974 graduate of Stanford University, Williams was a reporter and news director at KTWO-TV and Radio in Casper from 1974 to 1985. Working with the Radio-Television News Directors Association, for which he served as a member of its board of directors, he successfully lobbied the Wyoming Supreme Court to permit broadcast coverage of its proceedings and twice sued Wyoming judges over pre-trial exclusion of reporters from the courtroom. For these efforts, he received a First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.