Obamacare

Obamacare Goes Back on Trial: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear ACA Tax Subsidies Challenge

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White House / Flickr.com

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to rule on the Obamacare case King v. Burwell, which asks whether the text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act forbids the granting of tax credits to individuals who purchased insurance on health care exchanges operated by the federal government. The legal controversy arises from the fact that the text of the 2010 health care law limits such tax credits to individuals who purchased their insurance from an "exchange established by the State." Do those words cover the health care exchanges established by the federal government that are now operating in more than 30 states? We'll soon find out.

In its July 2014 ruling in favor of the Obama administration in this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit held that while the text of the law appears to cut against the federal government, the government's interpretation was nonetheless entitled to deference. "We cannot discern whether Congress intended one way or another to make the tax credits available on HHS-facilitated Exchanges. The relevant statutory sections appear to conflict with one another, yielding different possible interpretations," the 4th Circuit argued. "Confronted with the Act's ambiguity, the IRS crafted a rule ensuring the credits' broad availability and furthering the goals of the law. In the face of this permissible construction, we must defer to the IRS Rule."

The big question now is whether the U.S. Supreme Court will also defer to the I.R.S. rule, or whether this time around the Court will deliver Obamacare a death blow.

Related:

Will John Roberts "Redeem Himself" on Obamacare?

Court Rules That Subsidies in Obamacare's Federal Exchanges Are Illegal, Dealing Huge Legal Blow to Health Law

Why the I.R.S. Should Receive No Deference from the Federal Courts

Watch Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Admit in 2012 That Subsidies Were Limited to State-Run Exchanges

The Most Obvious Legal Interpretation of the Health Law Is the Plain Meaning of Its Legislative Language

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201 responses to “Obamacare Goes Back on Trial: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear ACA Tax Subsidies Challenge

  1. Oh, will I double my Roberts hate?

    1. Likely. I can’t wait to see his rationalization regarding how the plain text of the law doesn’t really mean what it says, in spite of the law’s architect caught on video at that time explaining that the plain language was also the actual intent.

      1. something, something reasonable intent of legislative law

      2. I was going to ask why they would intentionally exclude federal exchanges, then, Google.

        “That is really the ultimate threat ? will people understand that gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens,”
        -Jonathan Gruber, ACA Architect

        Seems pretty damning.

    2. Laws are just like the Constitution. The plain text and the writer’s intent don’t matter. What matters is what we want it to mean right now

        1. Every time I hear the words “Living Document” I feel a powerful urge to beat the speaker briskly about the head and neck.

          1. When someone says that, ask them if a fixed rate mortgage is a living document.

    3. I suspect there will be an exponential increase in hate.

  2. Why didn’t double jeopardy attach? Have these people ever actually read the constitution or seen an Ashley Judd movie?

    1. A law doesn’t have such protection, and it’s a different clause to boot.

      Also, that movie was wrong, she could still be prosecuted for the second (real) murder, even after the conviction for the first (fake) murder. All that his non-death could do for her was to get the first conviction overturned for error of fact.

      1. I could either believe your legal mumbo jumbo, or the real-time documentary I saw starring (then) Hollywood darling Ashley Judd.

        I think you know how this is going to turn out.

        1. Ashley Judd used to be hot.

          1. She’s still hot. There’s just a difference between 26 year old hot and 46 year old hot.

  3. I kind of wonder how this provision would have been applied if every state had set up an exchange except for one or two inconsequential red states, like Idaho and one of the Dakotas (no offense intended). I suspect Obama would have told them to suck it.

    1. …”I suspect Obama would have told them to suck it.”

      Well, he’d just have Valerie send an email after the TV news cycle closed on Friday afternoon.

  4. “The relevant statutory sections appear to conflict with one another, yielding different possible interpretations,” the 4th Circuit argued.”

    Oh yeah?

    And exactly what does any other “relevant stuatuary section” say that conficts with the one that specifically refernces state created exchanges?

    I doubt that they can come up with anything that directly contradicts it. They are just pulling that claim out their asses because they don’t want to actually enforce the law as it is written.

    They stated with the conclusion they wanted and worked backward to gin up a rationalization forit.

    1. They stated with the conclusion they wanted and worked backward to gin up a rationalization forit.

      So, standard operating procedure for any matter brought before the federal courts.

      1. Damn your quick fingers.

    2. ” They stated with the conclusion they wanted and worked backward to gin up a rationalization forit.”

      Sadly, that’s how it usually works.

    3. Vague recollection:

      The tax credit section refers specifically to “state Exchanges”.

      Other sections refer to “exchanges”.

      Because the law was written like shit, without even definitions of basic terms like “State Exchange”, etc., its a festival of ambiguity. By reading one ambiguous statement one way, and another ambiguous statement another way, you can create a “conflict” basically out of thing air. Or intellectual dishonesty, take your pick.

      1. Because the law was written like shit, without even definitions of basic terms like “State Exchange”, etc., its a festival of ambiguity.

        Why, one might argue that this *in itself* is a reason to declare the law null and void.

      2. I suppose it’s too much to hope for the SCOTUS to read the damn ;aw, and make a ruling along the lines of “This law is Unconstitutional on its face, not because of any one provision, or because of any intent, but because it is a morass of gobbledygook that is impossible to understand in a coherent manner. If the President and Congress expect such a law to be implemented it is their primary duty to make it possible to understand, and they have signally failed to do so.

        Go back and try again.”

        1. It is too much to hope for, because such reasoning would invalidate vast swaths of laws.

  5. Judicial deference to administrative bodies struck me as one of the more ridiculous things in law school, and something that law professors only defended because the vast majority of them are progressives who desire rule by technocrat, consequences and the Constitution be damned.

  6. …and furthering the goals of the law.

    The law says what it says. Goals? The law has no goals. The authors had an intent and they wrote the law thinking it would further their intentions. They fucked up in not taking into account that other people might not respond to their incentives in the manner they predicted. They are hoping for a mulligan in the form of a SCOTUS ruling. Roberts will give defer to their request.

    1. furthering the goals of the law

      Here’s how you assume your conclusion.

      If you assume the goal of the law was to deliver tax goodies to everyone, then the challenge fails.

      If you assume the goal of the law was to incentivize states to set up exchanges, then the challenge succeeds.

      1. If you assume the goal of the law was to incentivize states to set up exchanges, then the challenge succeeds.

        Of course you don’t need to assume this, it was explicitly stated at the time that this was the goal. Not that the court won’t just ignore this to get to their desired result anyway.

  7. OT:
    Looks like the pensions got a trim while the bond-holders got a hair-cut:
    “Judge approves Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy”
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/…../18640947/

    1. General pensioners will get 4.5% cuts to their monthly checks, the elimination of annual cost-of-living-adjustment increases and a recovery of money already disbursed in excessive interest from annuity savings. Police and fire pensioners would get a reduction in their cost-of-living increases.

      So the cops and fire took no hit, just slower rises in their payments. Gee, that seems fair. BAH!

      1. I wish Detroit good luck selling any more bonds.

        1. “No, Mister Bond – I expect you to be liquidated in bankruptcy!” – Detroit Bond Villain

          1. When Detroit finally goes tits up and can not nothing but act as a theft mechanism transferring money from its few remaining residents to its pensioners and can’t borrow another dime, it will all be the fault of the evil bond investors who walked away from the city.

            1. John, don’t forget the evil white suburbanites, who refuse to live in the city and pay their fair share of taxes.

              I’m still waiting for the Progressive initiative to start taxing the suburbs to pay for urban services. I’m amazed they haven’t been able to gen up some justification and made it stick.

              1. It’s called property taxes and they’ve had them for a while.

              2. They have been dreaming of that for decades. Their system collapses even faster than it should when people are able to escape. Every communist country built a wall and prevented people from escaping. The Progs in this country would if they had the power do the same here.

              3. I’m still waiting for the Progressive initiative to start taxing the suburbs to pay for urban services

                Minneapolis calls this the unelected Metropolitan Council.

              4. They keep trying, but they’ve only managed to pass ones that can manage to be sold as regional taxes for regional benefit (Cobo Hall has a tri-county hotel tax based on the supposed convention business it brings to the area, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a tri-county millage, the Detroit Zoo is supported by a tri-county millage, the Metroparks are backed by a five-county millage).

      2. “So the cops and fire took no hit, just slower rises in their payments.”

        No, not really. It looks like they’ll be promotions all around and they’ll all end up with slower rises to the new higher baseline.

        “Key to the city’s plan to exit bankruptcy is … a $274 million investment in police, and a $156 million investment in the city’s fire department.”

    2. What dumbass mutual fund was holding Detroit bonds?

      All the city’s major creditors backed the plan, including the U.S. government-appointed Official Committee of Retirees [WTF?], the city’s two pension funds, two major retiree associations, all of the city’s unions and two global banks, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

      General pensioners will get 4.5% cuts to their monthly checks, the elimination of annual cost-of-living-adjustment increases and a recovery of money already disbursed in excessive interest from annuity savings. Police and fire pensioners would get a reduction in their cost-of-living increases.

      1. DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEtroit basket balllllllllllllll!

    3. These two statements do not reconcile:

      1. “This city is insolvent and desperately needs to fix its future,” Rhodes said.

      2. Key to the city’s plan to exit bankruptcy is a $440 million blight removal initiative, a $274 million investment in police, and a $156 million investment in the city’s fire department. The reinvestment includes $483 million in anticipated new revenues, which would come from higher bus fares and improved tax collection.

      1. “$75 for *bus fare*?! It’s outrageous, but I got to get to my job!”

      2. Care to start a pool as to how long it will take Chapter 9 to become Chapter 18?

        1. I’d prefer Chapter 7.

  8. The relevant statutory sections appear to conflict with one another

    Not based on what I’ve seen. If that really were the case, then deference might be justified.

  9. or whether this time around the Court will deliver Obamacare a death blow.

    Not fucking likely.

    The Supreme Court is not here to rescue us from our pig-ignorant elected representatives. If they passed it, it must be Constitutional.

    1. “We were smart enough to make the government take care of us for life, why do we care?”

    2. “Elections have consequences” – I remember thinking, “that’s what Roberts REALLY meant.”

      What a collection of insulated assholes.

    3. says the guys who scream “judicial activism whenever they dont get there way. or do yo ubellevie thagt youre not that transparatly obvious?

      1. Rob Roy Cocktail. In a shaker filled with ice, add the Scotch whiskey, the sweet vermouth and the bitters. Stir to chill. Strain into a martini glass (or an equally alluring vessel) and top with a lemon peel.

  10. We are going to find out who was right about Roberts. If the people who say he was blackmailed or bullied by his desire to have liberal friends into writing the infamous penaltax decision are right, then Roberts will side with the liberals and ignore the language of the law. If the people like me who think Roberts wrote the decision because he is craven and obsessed with the public viewing him and the court as legitimate, then I think he probably reads the law as written and effectively kills Obamacare. The political winds have radically changed since 2012. This is a very unpopular law. No matter what Democrats tell you, they are praying to God that the SCOTUS steps in and rids them of this thing. So Roberts I think will see the political play to be striking the law down and reading the language as written.

    1. Oh John the internal optimist.

      1. *eternal

        1. I quite liked the original

        2. That’s a John-quality typo, there.

      2. I am convinced Roberts is just a self serving asshole who rationalizes his self serving decisions by telling himself they are necessary to preserve the legitimacy of the court. So the question is does striking down the law serve Roberts’ self interest and can he rationalize doing it by claiming to preserve the legitimacy of the court.

        In 2012, the calculation said leave the law stand since it was still popular with all but conservatives. Now that the law is hated by all but a few dead ender Obamabots, I think the calculation changes. But that is just a guess on my part.

        1. to preserve the legitimacy of the court.

          Delivered sternly, that sounds like a “reason” to do *anything*.

          1. It is exactly that. It is nothing but a rationalization Roberts will use to do whatever he wants.

            1. Oh, well. One must respect the Office.

        2. I don’t think it was ever popular though.

          1. No it wasn’t. But it was popular enough that Roberts thought killing it would mean liberals would never respect the court again. Now that isn’t the case. Liberals will whine but ultimately be happy to be rid of it.

          2. It was popular enough inside the bubble that a Supreme Court Justice lives in.

        3. since it was still popular with all but conservatives
          I don’t remember it ever being popular except among die-hard Obamabots.

          1. Obamabots make up 2/3 of the electorate…according to the dribble I heard yesterday from the White House.

    2. A plurality want the law altered, but not completely gutted. And I doubt ending subsidies on state exchanges is the kind of tweak most people have in mind.

      Gutting the law based on this would be very unpopular.

      1. I don’t see how. If that were true, the Republican governors who refused to set up the exchanges would be unpopular for doing so. Instead, all of them were mor3e popular for doing it.

        And the polls saying “people want it tweaked” are meaningless. Most people don’t understand the law and just know they hate it. At the same time the media has made it so that anyone who wants repeal is portrayed as a rightwing nut who just hates Obama.

        So when people are asked about the bill, they are afraid to say they want it repealed because they don’t want to appear unreasonable but still know they hate it. Giving the vague answer “I want it fixed” is their way out of that dilemma. You can tell this is true when you look at how unpopular every major aspect of this law is when considered alone.

        1. We’ve had this discussion before. I’ve linked to polling showing that specific parts of the law are popular. If you want to continue to believe that people are secretly pining for the law to be repealed in full despite no poll showing that, then you can do so, but it’s in defiance of the facts. And even if people really are caving in to media pressure to vaguely support the law, why wouldn’t they continue to do so and publicly complain if SCOTUS guts it? It’s not like the main stream media is going to present that as a good decision.

          1. why wouldn’t they continue to do so and publicly complain if SCOTUS guts it? It’s not like the main stream media is going to present that as a good decision.

            Because it would be giving them what they want but can’t say publicly. Sure they might answer some poll questions by saying “I think the Supreme Court went to far”. But are they going to care enough about the issue to vote on it? I don’t see how. And if they don’t vote on the issue, who the fuck cares what some push poll says.

            And there isn’t a single aspect of this bill that has ever polled well other than the pre existing condition requirement and the exchanges. That is it. Everything else polls horribly. Even the polls about the exchanges are meaningless. People like the idea of there being some magic website where they can buy insurance. Big fucking deal. If the law gets repealed are they going to run out and vote against the people who did it because of it? No.

            In the end, whatever poll you believe, there isn’t a single poll that would indicate anything approaching a majority of people would actually vote against the Republicans if they repealed it. Even if they really think “well I like some of it”, there is no indication that their positive feelings about that part outweigh their negative feelings about the entire law enough to make repealing it come with any political price.

            1. Whatcha wanna bet that a poll would show a whole lot of people will vote against Republicans next time if they don’t repeal it?

            2. People love the “preexisting conditions” part because they don’t think very hard about what it means, from an economic or policy perspective. They don’t know how insurance works, and they don’t care because they have broad, negative feelings about insurance companies. (Which is understandable.) They just buy into the mainstream narrative that it’s “cruel” to want that one taken off the table.

    3. Roberts will dissent. Kennedy will flop.

      Another 5-4 decision affirming the law as a living document.

      1. What makes you think Kennedy will flip? He was ready to kill it before and this is no way near as close a call as the original case. I am not saying you are wrong. I just can’t see why that would happen.

        1. Somebody has to take the fall. If not Kennedy, then Alito or Scalia. It won’t be Thomas.

          1. No. That assumes some court wide conspiracy. And that is just not what happened. What happened by all accounts is the court was ready to kill it when at the last minute Roberts flipped for reasons that remain a mystery to everyone but Roberts.

            They didn’t all get together and draw straws to see who would be the conservative to save the beloved Obama. That is ridiculous. None of those guys are flipping. If this thing is affirmed it will be because Roberts votes with the mindless liberal block.

    4. I think you are right about Roberts’s motivations. Not so sure that that means he will decide they way you suggest. That would be nice, though. I hope you are right.

      1. The result is very unpredictable. There is no guarantee what Roberts will decide is the best move politically. But that will be his calculation.

    5. “The political winds have radically changed since 2012. This is a very unpopular law. ”

      There has never been a time when it was popular – before or after it was rammed through the Democrat Congress.

      If Robert’s was a political weathervane, he would never have bent over backwards to accept the rationale it was a tax to begin with.

    6. Someday I must visit the planet you live on.

      1. Welcome to Earth. Now fuck off.

    7. do you actually believe the crap you post?

  11. OT For those of you who thought I was all Agile Cyborg earlier today – thank you.

    FOR NOTHING! I WISH I were all hopped up on the reefer and goofballs and/or adult beverages! But. nope – just at work, cheating my employer whilst enjoying HyR.

    Can you imagine what I’m like stoned?

    Be afraid….

    As you were. Thanks again.

    1. Coulda swore you were on some Totally Awesome Sweet Alabama Liquid Snake. What I wouldn’t do to get my hands on some of that…

  12. OT: these guys have stones.
    http://freebeacon.com/politics…..s-his-way/

    1. Once you’re yoked to the wagon, pull as hard as you can.

    2. Too bad they stones are all in their heads.

    3. I read the url as “freebacon.com”. How disappointing.

      1. That is quite possibly the biggest let down of the day. I’m sorry.

        1. I’ve got some delicious Whole Foods bacon in the fridge for the weekend. I’ll survive.

      2. Free-range Feral Pigs are hard to catch.

        1. But it’s worth it for the hams.

        2. Not with a .30 caliber hole in their ribcages, they aren’t.

    4. It doesn’t take stones to do something when you are completely delusional.

      1. *** whispers ***

        Keep walking. Just keep walking.

      2. “Obama’s Chief of Staff sez: ‘Do things Obama’s way!'” isn’t as good a hed.

      3. Yeah, that’s denial or delusion not stones.

    5. I think Chris just doesn’t know that elections have consequences.

  13. We cannot discern whether Congress intended one way or another to make the tax credits available on HHS-facilitated Exchanges.

    Hmm. Why not just ask the newly-elected Congress to discern the intent?

    1. The language is clear. On top of that the Congressional Record shows that it was put in there to force the states to make their own exchanges.

      It was not a typo. The language by its plain meaning is not at odds with the rest of the bill. It is a perfectly sensible measure to give the states the incentive to create their own exchanges and save the federal government the trouble of doing it. There is no rational argument in favor of reading the language out of the statute other than “we must save this sorry act by any means necessary.”

      1. I agree. Just trying to inject some humor into this sordid affair.

  14. Instead of trying Obamacare, why not go straight to the source and try Obama?

    1. ohhhhhhhhh SNAP!

  15. For those wondering which “relevant statutory sections appear to conflict with [the one saying that an exchange has to be created by a state to qualify for subsidies]”, refer to the alt-text.

    1. Curse you, Auric – I scrolled frantically back up and checked for newly installed alt-text…

      1. This was one of my better crafted complaints about alt-text.

  16. I forgot Gary Coleman was at the signing of the ACA.

    1. It is funny how liberals were so convinced that passing that was a matter of national importance and the greatest thing that had ever happened when it passed and now never speak of it.

      I think they know that it is going to be repealed. When you talk about repealing a law that really isn’t going to ever be repealed like Social Security, its defenders immediately give a concrete reason why “old people depend on it and they vote and even young people won’t support getting rid of it because they don’t want the burden of taking care of their parents”. That assertion is true in a concrete way and describes an actual group of people.

      When liberals and media dwellers like Sudderman say Obamacare won’t be repealed, they immediately retreat to unsupported and vague assumptions like “its too late” or “its the law” or “politically it can never happen” and so forth. They never are able to give a real reason other than “everyone knows that”. It is because they know it is not true and don’t want to admit it. This forces them to resort to what amounts to a Jedi mind trick and just pretend that repeal is impossible because it just is.

      1. We’d probably have a minor boom in the economy just from the law being repealed. Except maybe for a few stocks in the health insurance sector, anyway.

      2. Time will tell, I guess.

      3. When are you predicting it will be repealed?

        1. When more evil life sucking Progs like yourself leave the planet.

          1. I would really prefer that Tony not infect the rest of the universe, for all the aliens’ childrunz.

    2. And he’d be at its culmination if it weren’t for the obstructionists!

  17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P….._state.svg

    The light grey states have the federal exchanges that will lose their tax credits. Mostly GOP states.

    1. And I can’t see the governor’s in those states suffering any penalties for that.

      1. It would be 50 little PR wars. The locals would win in each.

        1. No they wouldn’t. Those are Republicans states. The Republicans hate the bill. And most people don’t buy from the insurance. So it would be a PR war between the Republicans who hate the bill and are happy to stick it to Obama and a much smaller number of people demanding their free shit from the Feds. Not a chance the free shit people would win. In Democratic states, sure. But in Red states, no way.

          1. I did make myself clear.

            The locals vs the Administration was my starting point. The Admin would have to wage 30+ little PR battles and would lose each one to the locals who are the state governors.

            1. did NOT make it clear.

              this is ACA fatigue.

            2. Yes. I agree with you on that. Sorry I misunderstood.

  18. Meanwhile, certain segments of the left have been reduced to hoping Justice Ginsburg dies soon.

    1. Never forget, Progressives are horrible people. If you put a button in front of them that would kill Ginsburg and they had the opportunity to do it and not be charged with murder or anyone know they did it, they would push it without hesitation. They would happily murder an innocent women, who is on their side no less, if they thought it would help their political cause. They are all sick, broken people.

      1. Meh.. There’s an asshole at every party.

        1. It’s more than that. Remember that for Progressives, there is nothing that cannot be solved by government. And what is government other than violence? The truth is that they worship violence, and no amount of violence is too great to accomplish their goals, no matter how grand or petty those goals may be.

          1. i hear seraquel is quite effective in treating delusions. traeting simple projection is a different story.

            1. You and Cyborg have the same dealer, huh?

            2. You got me! Libertarians who claim that they support free market cooperation and want to get government out of our lives really support government violence as the way to accomplish their goals! Yup! Yer so smart! I wish I was smart like you!

              1. where do you come by the notion that everyone with whom you disagee with is out to get you personally? watchng libertards flail mindlessly and jump at shadows and starwmwn is great lulz but itsg etting pathetic wathing you fail ans seeing that failure coming a mile away but watching you walk into the same self inlicted traps

                is it impossible to think youre the crazy one?

              2. Paranoia (/?p?r??n???/; adjective: paranoid /?p?r?n??d/) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often[1] to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me”). Paranoia is distinct from phobias, which also involve irrational fear, but usually no blame. Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.

                1. Many researchers like to believe that individuals with paranoia have some sort of cognitive deficit or impairment in reasoning ability. Studies have shown that there may not be a direct relationship between the impairments and psychotic delusions, but they rather impact other areas of an individuals life, such as social circumstances which can be important factors for delusions. Other research has shown that cognitive abilities may be altered when threats were involved.[21] This appears to be a common theme among those exhibiting psychotic delusions. An investigation involving one hundred delusional patients did actually reveal that these individuals may have a tendency to jump to conclusions rather than looking for other potential information

                  1. Flaming Ballsack|11.7.14 @ 3:34PM|#
                    “Many researchers like to believe that individuals with paranoia have some sort of cognitive deficit or impairment in reasoning ability. Studies have shown that there may not be a direct relationship between the impairments and psychotic delusions, but they rather impact other areas of an individuals life, such as social circumstances which can be important factors for delusions”

                    Admission or self-discovery?

            3. no amount of violence is too great to accomplish their goals, no matter how grand or petty those goals may be

              In what way is this statement delusional?

              Progressives right now, today, want to use the power of the state to force people not to buy large sodas.

              Since any open resistance to that law would be backed up by the full power of the state – beginning at the local level, backed up by the state level if that became necessary, and backed up again by the federal level if that too became necessary – it seems pretty straightforward to me that progressives are willing to use any level of violence required to achieve incredibly petty goals.

              1. You’re forgetting that lefties love playing with definitions, redefining them to suit their agendas. And one example of that is in defining “force” as separate from “violence.”

                Violence is something icky & outrageous that creates a visceral animal reaction in the bystander. A person being shot, for example, or stabbed. (But especially shot, as the gun is an evil totem.)

                But force? You can force a person to pay their taxes with the threat of incarceration. No bullets need be fired, no blood spilled, & society (and that’s all of us, right?) benefits by having the money that should rightfully be confiscated from the evil, greedy rich & handed to people who really need it. See the difference? Force can be wonderful!

                1. *taken and handed to people who really need it

                  Have I complained today about how shitty Reason’s commenting system is?

            4. You should know, you flaming ballsack, although i would think that someone like you would prefer Thorazine and voltage. It’s too bad they don’t do lobotomies any more, although maybe with obamacare they’ll start them back up. And if they don’t, hey; maybe you can do the world a favor and contact your local Death Panel.

        2. What sarcasmic said. Progs are a special form of nasty. You are fooling yourself if you think that other factions are in any way comparably nasty. They just aren’t.

          1. h, God, if I’m anything by a clinical name, I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” jd salinger

      2. I think you’d find plenty of Conservatives just as coldly calculating. But on the other hand, I suspect you’d find a higher percentage of Progressives that would not only due it, but publically defend doing it as a necessary sacrifice.

        1. The difference is that conservatives or libertarians might think it but they would immediately realize how wrong it is. They would be tempted to push the button. But most of them wouldn’t after some thought. Even the few that would would feel guilty about doing it and at least not be proud of it.

          Progs in contrast not only think it but think it is great. They would push the button and not feel a single pang of guilt and would if they could tell their friends what a great service they did for the cause.

          1. Stanley Milgram call your office.

            1. Yeah, I think John greatly overestimates the human animal.

              That’s not to say I think he’s wrong in everything he’s saying about progressives. But this is a flaw all human beings share, not just those in a specific political camp.

        2. Conservatives are more likely than Progressives to have a set of morals.

          1. What, “the ends justify the means” isn’t a moral principle?

            1. I think of moral principles as things that cause people to voluntarily use self restraint.

            2. Whereas Progressives only exercise restraint when there is a threat of violence.

              That’s why a libertarian or conservative would likely hesitate, while a Progressive would cheerfully press the button if they knew there would be no consequences.

      3. Whereas you just want millions of people to lose their access to healthcare. That’s definitely better than bullshit you just made up about liberals.

        1. you just want millions of people to lose their access to healthcare

          This shit again? Having insurance is not the same as receiving healthcare services. Also, many (most?) people would like to not be forced to purchase something at the point of a gun.

          1. Well I’m for a single-payer system but I don’t see you guys offering an alternative to the ACA that makes healthcare more widely accessible. All you’re doing is talking about the monster under the bed. You’re useless.

            1. Tony|11.7.14 @ 8:03PM|#
              “Well I’m for a single-payer system”
              Yeah, well, you’re a fucking ignoramus.

              “but I don’t see you guys offering an alternative to the ACA that makes healthcare more widely accessible.”
              Sorry, O-care didn’t do that. Leaving it alone would have done better and cheaper, but lefty ignoramuses aren’t about to deal with facts.

        2. Whereas you just want millions of people to lose their access to healthcare.

          No worries – if they like their healthcare plan, they’ll be able to keep their healthcare plan. 😉

    2. At this point, they have what? 3 months until the new Congress is sworn in?

      1. I’ll say one thing. The GOP has a history of letting Democratic nominees sail through, with a few exceptions. Much less willing to block nominees than the Democrats.

        Just to be clear, that shit stops now. Obama’s nominees have largely been crap. Send back every single one until there’s someone palatable named to whatever office.

        1. they couldn’t even get the senate dems to sign off on the nominees the last two years. That’s how awful his nominees have been.

          1. “I hereby nominate Kim Jong-un to the Supreme Court.”

            1. They’ll all be rammed down our throats it this lame duck session you watch.

              1. If Obama tries to do that, the GOP will have all the justification it needs to play hardball for the next two years (leaving aside the fact that they have all the justification they need right now). It might be good for the rest of us if the Dems do try to do that.

              2. I fear a Christmas Tree where all debts are cancelled by spending our money on their free shit and they appoint a bunch of bad actors to positions of authority.

        2. One of his SC nominees seems to be pretty OK. I’m sure that was completely accidental.

  19. “The big question now is whether the U.S. Supreme Court will also defer to the I.R.S. rule…”

    Yeah, this is gonna be a real nail-biter. The suspense is so thick you could cut….oh, fuck it.

    1. My guess is 6-3. In fact, the only way I don’t see it being 6-3 is if Roberts decides to go with the dissent (once he knows it’s going to be upheld) so he can try and regain a shred or two of credibility.

  20. Grammatically speaking, “exchange established by a State” should mean you can only get subsidies for plans you bought from a state exchange.

    If it was “exchange established by THE State” maybe there’s some room for interpretation.

    SC justices have job security for life, so it shouldn’t bother them that the public is miffed about their “it’s a tax” ruling on the ACA. Maybe they have family members who want to run for office?

  21. A new statute – ANY new statute – is the result of the intersection of political forces favoring and disfavoring the new law.

    IOW, the exact text of the statute reflects the farthest the political forces in favor of the law were able to get, in the face of resistance from the forces that did not want the law.

    In the face of this incredibly basic and undeniable fact, I find it stupefying that the courts routinely defer to expansive definitions of statutes, in the name of deferring to legislatures. The legislators who fought to limit the new law are part of the legislature too. Why aren’t they also shown deference?

    The law says what the law says because that was all the Congress was able to get passed. That text, and not one additional word, and not one word less. If it’s a badly written law that will lead to bad consequences, the recourse Congress has is simple: repeal. If after repeal no similar new law can be passed, those are the breaks. The current legislators are also entitled to deference – right?

  22. The only reason four justices would have agreed to take this case is if they believed that they could get five votes to reverse the (non-split) circuit decisions. So it seems likely that, once again, the conservative justices are going to deliver an opinion motivated entirely by politics that will alter many people’s lives for the worse for no other reason. Then they’ll go back to talking about how they’re definitely not the judicial activists.

    Why this would be very destructive of textualism.

    1. Hilarious.

    2. Only because the asshole in your link defines textualism as “this method I use to ignore the literal text in favor of what I want”.

      1. I think he explains pretty well that Scalia’s own theory of textualism would require him to side with the government (for a couple of reasons).

        Also, the literal text of other parts of the law (i.e., context) makes it absolutely clear that the intent was to have subsidies in both state and federal exchanges. The plaintiff’s case is bullshit. You are welcome to see that objectively if you care to take off your politics-colored glasses for a moment.

        1. Not really, because the some of the architects behind ACA (in one way or another) made public or written statements that you can only get subsidies from state exchanges.

          From CCN:

          http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/07/…..challenge/

          “But the law does not specifically say that those signing up on the separate federal exchange also are eligible.”

          Is there a text that indicates that everyone is eligible for subsidies regardless of where they bought their plan?

          Can you say “The literal language says one thing, but we actually meant something else” in court?

          We’ll see.

        2. the intent was

          …irrelevant. Words have concrete meanings. When words are strung together into sentences and paragraphs, they have concrete meanings. By extension, laws have concrete meanings. Plain language is the only thing that makes laws laws. Without concrete meaning of language and law, there is only rule by fiat. That is tyranny.

          1. A textualist approach as defined over the decades relies on the meaning and context of the law. These five words or whatever introduce ambiguity, no doubt about it, but other language in the law assumes that subsidies are available regardless, and that was the stated intent of the Congressmen who wrote the law. The case is absurd and the only reason it’s at the court is political.

            1. but other language in the law assumes that subsidies are available regardless

              Then, the law is ambiguous at best, and it should not stand as a statute.

              1. the question is whether the IRS properly interpreted the ACA to allow those subsidies also to be available on federally operated exchanges (which now are the majority of exchanges).

                Here is where the link is revealed for what it is – horseshit. The IRS didn’t interpret the ACA this way until after the Roberts court decided Obamacare was a tax to make it constitutional. It was an ad hoc adaptation to a poorly thought out court ruling.

                So if we are reading those five words in the context in which they were written, it’s pretty damn clear it didn’t include the IRS interpreting anything. That came later as the Obama administration scrambled to comply with the court.

                So, fuck you Tony. This isn’t about a literal interpretation versus common sense. This is about progressives/Obama wanting to move the goal posts.

                The legislature passed one version of the bill. The court changed the bill to something that never would have been passed in the first place and gave a bureaucracy (the IRS) far more power than intended.

                THIS BILL WOULD NOT HAVE PASSED THIS WAY INITIALLY. That’s the context that matters. This was not the original intent of the bill.

                So, is that textual enough for you, Tony, you slimy yeast infected cunt?

                1. Life is too short to let fat radio men do your thinking for you, and to be so angry. It’s just a conservative healthcare law. If people getting health insurance upsets you so much, perhaps you should just shoot yourself.

    3. So it seems likely that, once again, the conservative justices are going to deliver an opinion motivated entirely by politics…

      But of course, liberal justices never do such a thing, do they? Lol.

    4. Tony:

      So it seems likely that, once again, the conservative justices are going to deliver an opinion motivated entirely by politics that will alter many people’s lives for the worse for no other reason. Then they’ll go back to talking about how they’re definitely not the judicial activists.

      What? Politics in government? No!

      Of course, what will happen is that they’ll make a ruling that considers law to be “living documents,” in which they weigh the will of the people against all other values and optimum human happiness. And, since they were appointed democratically by elected leaders, it’s really the people, deciding for themselves, how to best manage society for ultimate human happiness.

      How can you be so cynical? Don’t you know that public servants want to make society a better place?

      1. Your only intellectual motivation here is flicking Barack Obama’s ear and blowing a raspberry. Don’t talk to me about cynicism.

        If they thought they’d rule in favor of the government they wouldn’t take the case; they would let the unanimous circuit ruling stand. Since the case has no merit, this likely outcome can only be the product of the same cynical political bullshittery.

        1. Obama is about as interesting to me as a can of cheese whiz: designed for mass appeal by being vaguely bland easy to dispense.

  23. It will be interesting to see what sort of sausage Justice Roberts grinds out this time to save Obamacare.

    1. Until this moment I’d not realized how hilarious your handle is:

      “You’re Abe Froman? The Sausage King of Chicago?”

      1. Yep, that’s me. As CEO of Chicago’s premier sausage company, we consider Justice Roberts’ motto “obscurum per obscurius” to be our guiding principle when making our sausage.

  24. It is probably a mistake to spend too many calories arguing for a legalistic gotcha from SCOTUS to make the difference here. You don’t want to put them in that position. Generally, if you can change a few words and write a constitutional program no different from the one you are staring at, it shouldn’t really matter if the text is precise. I mean, it matters but that can’t be what makes something of this magnitude sink or swim.

    If you can sink it on material constitutional grounds, that one of the essential premises of the thing is incompatible with established constitutional interpretation, that’s different. You aren’t in that case putting SCOTUS in a legitimacy bind over non material concerns.

    If you want to win on ACA, you have to win in legislature as there is nothing I’ve seen that puts the premises at risk constitutionally speaking. IANAL or anything, but this is thin soup.

  25. As I’ve said before…and shall keep on saying to anyone who’ll listen:

    Congress can repeal Obamacare, if they go about it right – the law is unpopular and getting more so as time goes on. Start with the Individual Mandate – the most unpopular part of the ACA and the part that Obama is most adamant about keeping. Play up the man’s insufferable pig-headedness on this issue. Wait until campaigning for election year 2016 begins and then pass legislation to repeal. If Obama vetos it, he does so at the risk of the Dems losing the Presidency in 2016. He probably doesn’t care that much about the rest of the Democrat Party, so if he does veto it, then get the Dems to sign on and over-ride his damned veto. Obama and the Democrat Party can either repeal this obscenity of a law or they can watch the Republicans take over the government completely in 2016 and repeal the law anyway.

    1. You don’t win elections by being delusional. No sane person expects Obama to sign a repeal of his signature domestic accomplishment.

      1. Then override Fat Mouth Barry’s fucking veto. It will take some Democrat members to do that obviously. If they are unwilling, fine – they may or may not keep their seats after 2016. But they will see a Republican president and a majority Republican Congress who will be able to do whatever they want regarding the law – including full repeal.

        1. Hillary is going to be president and she’s going to bring a Democratic Senate majority with her.

          1. Hillary is going to be president

            You, sir, are delusional.

            1. Wanna put $10,000 on that?

              1. 10K? Contrary to popular belief, libertarians are not necessarily made of money. I’d wager $1,000 that she loses if she runs for president in the next presidential election.

                1. Am I the only one here who has any money? How incredibly noble of you guys to support a politics whose only purpose is to reduce the tax rate on the very wealthy. Out of principle, of course.

                  1. Tony|11.8.14 @ 6:12PM|#
                    “Am I the only one here who has any money? How incredibly noble of you guys to support a politics whose only purpose is to reduce the tax rate on the very wealthy. Out of principle, of course.”

                    Tony, asshole, why do you wait until you hope no one sees your post?
                    Do you hope, thereby, that your lies and stupidity will someone gain status?
                    No, fuckface, you’re not the only one with money, but you seem to be one with both money and the stupidity to throw it away on ‘feelz’ rather than actually helping people.
                    Fuck off.

            2. I imagine Tony rocking back and forth in his computer chair, fighting back tears of borderline hysterical rage as he repeats the mantra to himself.

              “Yes… soon the bad people will go away… things will be right again… GOD DAMN THOSE KOCH BROTH–no, no, it’s okay, it’s okay… Hillary will save us… please, Marx, PLEASE let it be so…”

          2. Hillary is going to be president and she’s going to bring a Democratic Senate majority with her.

            Yeah? I wonder how many Dems will be willing to bet their political careers on that?

      2. And what do you mean you don’t win elections by being delusional? Obama did.

      3. Don’t have to repeal the whole thing, just the individual mandate and the more unpopular parts.

        In 5 years, the only thing left from the ACA might be the subsidies.

  26. Wait just a minute…. these are the same IDIOTS that think a tax originates in the WHITE HOUSE. The same IDIOTS that think they can legislate a tax from the bench. These IDIOTS have no credibility, or integrity, and it’s painfully obvious they have no knowledge of the US Constitution.

  27. the question is whether the IRS properly interpreted the ACA to allow those subsidies also to be available on federally operated exchanges (which now are the majority of exchanges).

    Here is where the link is revealed for what it is – horseshit. The IRS didn’t interpret the ACA this way until after the Roberts court decided Obamacare was a tax to make it constitutional. It was an ad hoc adaptation to a poorly thought out court ruling.

    So if we are reading those five words in the context in which they were written, it’s pretty damn clear it didn’t include the IRS interpreting anything. That came later as the Obama administration scrambled to comply with the court.

    So, fuck you Tony. This isn’t about a literal interpretation versus common sense. This is about progressives/Obama wanting to move the goal posts.

    The legislature passed one version of the bill. The court changed the bill to something that never would have been passed in the first place and gave a bureaucracy (the IRS) far more power than intended.

    THIS BILL WOULD NOT HAVE PASSED THIS WAY INITIALLY. That’s the context that matters. This was not the original intent of the bill.

    So, is that textual enough for you, Tony, you slimy yeast infected cunt?

    1. You forgot sloppy. As in ‘you sloppy, slimy yeast-infected cunt’.

    2. WaaaaWaaaa, you’re a whiny little bitch aren’t you.

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