The Maryland attorney general's office is seeking to preserve its suit sustaining the Affordable Care Act while challenging the legality of Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting U.S. attorney general.
"But the state’s allegations do not create a plausible inference of a substantial or certainly impending risk that the Trump administration will cease enforcement of part or all of the ACA," she wrote.
"In effect, the state proclaims that the sky is falling. But, falling acorns, even several of them, do not amount to a falling sky."
Democrats have accused the administration of trying to sabotage the health-care law that was partially undone when Congress repealed a mandate in 2017 that required most Americans to buy insurance or risk a tax penalty.
"You'd have to be living in a cave to not know Donald Trump hates the Affordable Care Act," Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in an interview after the judge’s ruling. "But his statements, she says, are not enough."
The U.S. Justice Department is “pleased” by the ruling, said spokeswoman Kelly Laco, who did not elaborate.
In December, a federal judge in Texas ruled the health care law is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor held that the law could not legally stand once Congress eliminated the tax penalty for people without health insurance. But the decision has been stayed pending an appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In dismissing Maryland's suit, the judge did not rule on a related claim by lawyers for Frosh.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has filed a motion in federal court challenging President Donald Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting U.S. attorney general. Frosh’s motion in U.S. District Court in Baltimore argues the appointment is “illegal and unconstitutional.”
The requests in the suit were connected, Maryland’s attorneys argued, because Whitaker — if he was improperly appointed — should not be making significant decisions about whether to enforce the health care act.
Trump has named former U.S. Attorney General William Barr to again head the Justice Department. Barr served in the post from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush. Barr’s confirmation hearing concluded recently, but the Senate has not voted on his nomination.