No one should envy the Supreme Court justices their job as they take up another legal challenge to Obamacare and
weigh the testimony they obtained during oral arguments yesterday. The only thing the hearings clarified is that the law is one, big, colossal, contradictory mess.
At issue is the legality of IRS's decision to hand subsidies through federal exchanges. Plaintiffs claim that the law authorizes these subsidies only through state, not federal, exchanges. Supporters argue this would make the law unworkable, hardly something that Congress could have intended.
Beyond the statutory arguments, I note in my column at The Week, the two sides are also making federalism claims. But instead of trying to sort out who has the better statutory/constitutional argument, the Supremes should opt for the course that requires the least amount of meddling from them.
This would involve overruling the federal exchange subsidies and advising the administration to go back to Congress to rewrite the mess.
Go here to view the column.