Well. It was a Republic only if we could keep it, right?
Via Weasel Zippers:
1. “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’”
2. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”
3. “Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of.”
4. “And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”
5. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
Leon Wolfe, Red State: The Roberts Court: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss:
For all the liberal bloviating about the new direction of SCOTUS under CJ Roberts, today’s opinion in King v. Burwell demonstrates that essentially, nothing has changed. The court is still forced into feckless pragmatism whenever a conservative principle is at stake, but is perfectly willing to venture beyond the expressed will of Congress in order to advance liberal agenda items on their own initiative.
Today’s decision, upholding the Obamacare subsidies in states that did not set up an exchange, is simply indefensible as a matter of statutory interpretation. There is no other way to put it – nothing in any sort of legal training from any reputable university would have led anyone to believe that the Court would have been permitted to essentially rewrite the statute the way they did today. And make no mistake, that is exactly what they did, in refusing to apply Chevron deference and merely stating that henceforth Obamacare says something different than what its actual words contain.
In many ways, this decision (which was joined by both Roberts and Kennedy) is the most irresponsible arrogation of power by the Court in decades. When the Roberts court upheld Obamacare initially as a tax, despite the fact that neither side had argued or claimed that it was a tax, I actually found that to be a defensible decision and generally respectful of the idea that SCOTUS should only invalidate a Congressional statute under relatively extreme circumstances. However, what the Roberts court did today was to essentially elect themselves to the positions of both Congress and the President and amend a duly passed statute on their own initiative. This was a blatantly unconstitutional power grab and Roberts’ decision to author it adds another stain to the legacy of George W. Bush.
NRO: Roberts Rules Wrongly:
he Affordable Care Act was drafted with extraordinary carelessness given its importance, and conservatives who say that the Obama administration has implemented it contrary to its plain meaning have strong arguments. So opined six justices of the Supreme Court, including its most liberal members, in King v. Burwell. That is, unfortunately, the best thing about the majority opinion, which labors mightily to free the law from the inconvenience of its text. The text of the law authorizes federal subsidies on health-insurance exchanges “established by the states,” but does not authorize them on exchanges established by the federal government. Since most states have not established exchanges, reading the law the way it was written would limit the law’s reach. The administration therefore decided not to do so — and the Court has blessed its decision, and barred future administrations from revisiting it. To reach this result, Chief Justice John Roberts first implausibly read “established by the state” to be an ambiguous phrase — Justice Antonin Scalia and the other two conservative dissenters thoroughly dismantled his arguments — and then chose the possible meaning that would best serve the act’s purposes. This second portion of Roberts’s argument has a superficial plausibility, but it too lacks merit.
Freedomworks: King v. Burwell: Words Have No Meaning if Inconvenient:
Some words apparently have no meaning, even when written in plain English, according to a majority of Supreme Court justices. Today the Court reached its long awaited decision in King v. Burwell. The Court ruled 6-3 for Burwell, holding that the federal subsidies can continue to flow to states that have not established an exchange.
Chief Justice Roberts once again wrote the opinion defending ObamaCare, and was joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. Justice Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justices Thomas and Alito.
The text of ObamaCare was clear, federal subsidies were only available for insurance that purchased through exchanges “established by the states.” Today six justices, who are supposed to represent the best of the legal community, have turned these plain words on their head. These six justices have decided that “established by the states” can also mean established by the federal government.
Whereas most Americans see plain meaning in the words “established by the states,” Chief Justice Roberts saw ambiguity. Writing for the Court, the Chief Justice wrote that the law was not clear, but that the intention of the law was to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them. Much of his opinion was focused on protecting ObamaCare from a “death spiral.”
Brian Darling, Human Events: Justice John Roberts is No Conservative – Time for Congress to Repeal ObamaCare:
One of my friends jokes that U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts is a liberal. I used to laugh him off – not anymore.
President George W. Bush’s legacy was hurt with the King v. Burwell decision by the Supreme Court to uphold ObamaCare. Chief Justice John Roberts, for a second time, saved ObamaCare using faulty legal analysis and a results oriented logic. This is further evidence that President Bush made a bad decision to nominate a stealth liberal lawyer to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.Chief Justice Roberts is morphing into retired Justice David Souter right before our eyes. The parallels are stunning.
But here’s the thing to remember as you punch your computer screen: It was already here to stay no matter how the Court ruled today. If Roberts and Kennedy had come down the other way and punted the subsidies back to Congress, there’s not a whisper of a doubt about what would have happened. You know it, I know it, Ramesh Ponnuru knows it. If it was left to the GOP to decide whether to save O-Care, writes Ponnuru, the caucus would have quickly broken into three groups. Group one: Hell no, we won’t reinstate the subsidies. Group two: Maybe we could reinstate them in return for some concessions? Group three: YES WE MUST REINSTATE THEM OR WE’LL LOSE THE ELECTION. Ponnuru:
Republicans won’t be able to muster a majority of the House for Group 1’s preference: Too many Congress members want to protect people from losing their insurance, or at least don’t want to be blamed if they do. Group 2’s preference won’t get a majority either: Group 1 won’t vote for it because it keeps the subsidies, and Democrats won’t vote for it because it weakens Obamacare.
In the end, I predict that Republican leaders will end up going with Group 3’s favored extension of the subsidies with little in the way of change to the Affordable Care Act.
Today’s Burwell decision is an affront to the rule of law and constitutional self-government. No federal judge has the power to rewrite the law, which is what the majority did today in Burwell. Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Kennedy, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan took part in an unconstitutional power grab every bit as unlawful as President Obama’s rewrite of Obamacare. None of these justices have the constitutional power to rewrite major components of Obamacare in order to “save it.” Ironically, the majority cites the corruption of the passage of Obamacare as an excuse for the judiciary’s own corrupt, nonsensical fix of the same law. Congress still can vindicate its power and uphold the rule of law. This terrible decision has no binding effect on choices by Congress to defund President Obama’s despotic rewrite of the law and prevent the IRS from unlawfully providing insurance subsidies. And, of course, the impeachment power still remains for executive branch officials who won’t obey the law. The Court makes a policy pronouncement, all evidence to the contrary, that “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” The justices in the majority ought to have the honesty to run for Congress if they want to write rather interpret law. Our republican form of government is weakened when the president and six Supreme Court justices disregard federal statutes in favor of their own policy choices.
Benny Johnson, IRJ: The 2015 Running of the Interns:
The interns run because recording devices are strictly forbidden inside the court. Therefore, broadcast interns must run hard copies of Supreme Court decisions out to their network broadcasting locations in front of SCOTUS.
It is not a short distance: