Walker served as an attorney at the time of the 2012 blockbuster ruling and was furious at his dissolution. He has yet to reveal contempt for the decision written by Chief Executive John Roberts and offer details of his inner negotiations with Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the dissents.
"The biggest words you can hear from Justice Kennedy are: & # 39; You're an employee, & # 39;" Walker said at an exhibit ceremony on March 13 for the district court position he currently has. "And the worst words are: & # 39; The prime minister thinks this can be a tax. & # 39;"
When Roberts made the decisive vote to uphold the landmark health care law in 2012, he linked the punishment for people who refused to provide insurance to Congressional tax power. Roberts' final decision, which came after several changes to his reasoning, saved Obamacare, but generated intense friction in and out of court.
The DC Circuit stands out among US appeals courts because of its important regulatory burden, and has served as a launch pad for many Supreme Court judges, including Roberts, Kavanaugh and current Justice Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In a recent move, Walker issued a statement related to the driveway service and the mayor of Louisville socially distancing, without first hearing from the mayor. "On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the joint celebration of Easter," Walker declared as he opened his mind.
Seats on the front of the Obamacare drama court
Signed by President Barack Obama, who later embraced the name "Obamacare", the Affordable Care Act required all Americans to get coverage and created a marketplace for insurance purchase. It also expanded Medicaid for poor people and protected diabetics, cancer patients and other individuals with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage.
Republicans opposed the legislation from the start, saying it offended individuals and businesses, as it aimed to insure millions of Americans and control spiral medical costs. Texas and other GOP states, which joined the National Federation of Independent Business in the first Obamacare suit known as NFIB v. Sebelius, continue to challenge the law's provisions.
Trump ran against it as presidential candidate, and his administration is still seeking to invalidate the law, which after a decade has touched almost every corner of the health care system.
Walker has called Roberts' 2012 opinion "indefensible." In his recent remarks on the investment in March, he further revealed an us-versus-them mindset. After thanking McConnell, Kavanaugh and other supporters, he referred to "nominee opponents," including, he said, the American Bar Association.
"Thank you for serving as a lasting reminder that although my legal principles are widespread, they have not yet prevailed," Walker said. "And even if we win, we have not won, and even if we celebrate today, we cannot take for granted tomorrow, or we will lose the courts and our country to critics who call us scary and describe us as regrettable."
His conduct believed Robert's constant admonition that judges are impartial and non-partisan and rule without "fear or service."
But he has enjoyed the long-standing support of McConnell, a Louisville family friend who persuaded Trump to nominate Walker. McConnell has been an unsustainable partner for Trump in stockpiling the federal bench with conservatives.
On April 3, three weeks after the Louisville investment and six months after he first took the federal bench, Trump announced that he would raise Walker, a Harvard law graduate who still served as a law professor of law at the University of Louisville, to a sought after seat on the DC Circuit.
Walker did not respond to a CNN request for an interview.
Supports Kavanaugh opinion as a "road map"
Eight years ago, during heated Supreme Court discussions over the ACA's constitutionality, the five conservative justices, including Roberts and Kennedy, felt that the individual insurance mandate exceeded Congress's power to regulate intergovernmental trade. But Roberts believed the invalid provision could be separated from much of the sweeping law.
However, Kennedy, along with fellow Conservative Justices Antonin Scalia, Thomas and Samuel Alito, believed that the individual mandate was linked to other provisions of the new law and would completely sink it. Attorneys at the time presented Walker as vigorous, arguing for the mandate as central to regulations such as those guaranteeing coverage for existing conditions and extending Medicaid coverage to needy people.
When Kennedy and the other judges refused to separate the individual insurance claim from the rest of the law, Roberts approached Congress tax powers as a reason to uphold the mandate, which provided a penalty for people who did not purchase insurance. Roberts was joined by the four Liberal judges to uphold the law.
Walker in March noted that it was still the "worst thing" he has ever heard from Kennedy. It was not the first time Walker referred to the talks in 2012 in a very public way. He talked about the experience in 2018 when he supported Kavanaugh as a successor to retiring Kennedy.
As a DC Circuit Judge in 2011, Kavanaugh had recorded a separate Obamacare dispute that became something of a litmus test among conservatives examining Kavanaugh's record. (Walker was a lawyer for Kavanaugh 2010-2011, but had already moved to the Supreme Court when the DC Circuit issued its ACA ruling.)
In the DC Circuit case, Kavanaugh dismissed a challenge to the ACA on procedural, rather than substantive, grounds. Nevertheless, Kavanaugh Obamacare commented at length, calling it "outstanding" and considered the administration's rationale for the individual insurance mandate "jarring." He said it could include other compulsory purchases such as college savings accounts and disaster insurance.
During the right-wing skirmish over who can succeed Kennedy, Walker vigorously defended Kavanaugh's credentials, especially regarding his ambiguous ACA opinion. In an article, Walker referred to "Kavanaugh's thorough and principled removal of the mandate" and argued that it had even made different decisions in the 2012 Supreme Court decision.
"I'm very familiar with that notion because I served as Kennedy's attorney that term," Walker wrote. "I can safely tell you that the only justifications that followed a roadmap from Brett Kavanaugh were the ones who said that Obamacare was unconstitutional."
Some legal observers today say that Walker's comments reflect a lack of discretion.
"Usually, officials are very careful about dealing with cases," says Josh Blackman, author of the 2013 book "Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare" and professor at the South Texas College of Law. "I was very stunned at how cavalry he was with that matter."
Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center, said his remarks suggest a disregard for precedent. When you put on a robe, it's an expectation for people, and part of that expectation is around the rule of law and a consistency in approach, "she said.
During the Senate's treatment of Walker for the US court in 2019, he was guarded by the ACA's views.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat in the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Walker in a written question about his praise of Kavanaugh for having provided a "road map" to downplay the ACA's individual mandate and Walker's own claim in a 2018 article that the Supreme Court The ruling was "an indefensible decision."
Walker replied in August 2019 that he opened as an individual outside the judiciary.
"I understand that the role of an academic and citizen engaged in the political process is different than the role of a judge or a judge nominee," Walker wrote. "The canon laws prevent me, in my role as a magistrate, from going further than what I said in the 2018 article."