Obamacare

In Upholding Obamacare's Subsidies, Justice Roberts Rewrites the Law—Again

Time to start calling the Affordable Care Act SCOTUScare.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has rewritten the law to save Obamacare—again.

Roberts' majority opinion today in King v. Burwell, which ruled that the Obama administration's decision to allow health insurance subsidies flow through the law's federal exchanges, leaves no doubt that Roberts considers it his duty to keep the law afloat.  

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," he writes. "If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."

And so Roberts decided that a law which explicitly and repeatedly states that subsidies are limited to exchanges "established by a State," and which defines "State" as one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, actually allows subsidies in exchanges established by a State or the federal government. Roberts' decision does not interpret Obamacare; it adds to it and reworks it, and in the process transforms it into something that it is not.

Roberts has not merely tweaked the law; he has rewritten it to mean the opposite of what it clearly means. Why include the phrase "established by a State under Section 1311″—the section dealing with state-based exchanges—except to limit the subsidies to those particular exchanges? Roberts' opinion reconceptualizes this limiting language as inclusive.

The Chief Justice frames his decision as a form of respectful deference to congressional intent. As my colleague Damon Root noted earlier, his opinion cautions that in "every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan."

But Roberts' opinion is far more than a fair reading of the legislative plan; it is a Court-imposed decision as to what that plan must be.

As Justice Antonin Scalia writes in a scathing dissent, Roberts presumes, with no definitive evidence, that his interpretation is the one that Congress intended. "What makes the Court so sure that Congress 'meant' tax credits to be available everywhere?" Scalia asks. "Our only evidence of what Congress meant comes from the terms of the law, and those terms show beyond all question that tax credits are available only on state Exchanges."

Roberts' opinion declares its intent to uphold the law's basic policy scheme, arguing that there would be adverse insurance market effects to a decision in favor of the challengers. In other words, there would have been policy implications to a ruling for the plaintiffs. That is almost certainly true, but it is not an excuse to rewrite the clear language of the law.

As Scalia says in the dissent, "The Court protests that without the tax credits, the number of people covered by the individual mandate shrinks, and without a broadly applicable individual mandate the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements 'would destabilize the individual insurance market.' If true, these projections would show only that the statutory scheme contains a flaw; they would not show that the statute means the opposite of what it says." The majority has decided how Obamacare's policy scheme should work, and redrafted the statute accordingly.

If Roberts had truly wanted to defer to Congress, he could have ruled that the law means what says rather than what it does not, and effectively handed the issue back to the legislature, letting Congress decide whether and how to update the law in accordance with its own wishes. Instead, Roberts made the choice for Congress—taking its power to craft law for itself. As Scalia writes, "the Court's insistence on making a choice that should be made by Congress both aggrandizes judicial power and encourages congressional lassitude."

This is not the first time that Roberts has rewritten the law in order to uphold it. In 2012, he declared that the law's individual mandate to purchase insurance was unconstitutional under the Constitution's Commerce Clause—and yet upheld it by declaring that the law's penalty was instead permissible as a tax. In the same decision, he also found that the law's threat to revoke all federal Medicaid funding from states that decline to participate in Obamacare's expansion of the program was unconstitutionally coercive. But rather than strike the whole thing down, Roberts rewrote it, allowing the Medicaid expansion, and the rest of the law, to continue but without the same threat to state budgets.

In his dissent, Scalia argues that there's a pattern to these rulings. "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."

If anything, it's even worse. What Roberts has saved is not the law so much as the Obama administration's dubious, textually unsupported interpretation and implementation of Obamacare. This is not judicial restraint. It is judicial hubris.

And while it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court, it certainly reflects on the legacy and status of the law. As even Roberts admits in his opinion, the law "contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting" and generally "does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation." It is a shoddy, messy piece of legislation, held together, barely, by Supreme Court duct tape. 

At this point, then, the law is as much a joint project between the administration and the Roberts court as it is a creation of Congress. As Scalia snarks at the end of his dissent, "we should start calling this law SCOTUScare." Regardless of what we call it, that's effectively what it has become.  

NEXT: Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare

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  1. Ok I get that everyone wants their turn on this but it’s getting hard to keep up with all of these.

    You know what this needs? We need a millenial poll to see if anyone from that generation even knows who Roberts is, never mind anything about this decision.

    1. Let’s take a poll of how hard Roberts should be punched in the dick.

      1. Isn’t he clear he is dick-less?

        1. Good point.

          [Commissions SugarFree for Roberts’ centered work] It will be his greatest opus.

        2. Quite so. Perhaps the best response is “Sic semper SCOTUS.”

      2. A tablespoon of neutronium dropped from ten feet hard.

    2. Chief Justice H. Dumpty?

  2. “[…]Roberts has not merely tweaked the law; he has rewritten it to mean the opposite of what it clearly means.[…]”

    While claiming to do the exact opposite.
    Stupidity? Hypocrisy? Both?

    1. Its Orwellian. I wouldn’t be surprised if subpenas are being issued as we write so the government can send us to meet O’Brien in Room 101.

    2. Stupidity? Hypocrisy? Both?

      Nope, just good old fashioned FYTW!

      I think we can say, without too much hyperbole, that our government is now operating well outside the bounds of the Constitution. Willfully disregarding it without even making an attempt to justify itself. This is what tyranny looks like and it’s going to get much, much worse now that the SCOTUS has granted the federal government omnipotence.

      Words have no meaning. Law applies only to the ruled at the whim of the ruler.

      WE. ARE. FUCKED!

      1. This is what tyranny looks like

        Not only that, but a large portion of the population will be cheering this on, completely oblivious to the implications of this precedent. Maybe they’ll figure it out once the cattle car doors slam shut behind them, but I suspect that many of them will be the ones slamming the doors shut on the “wreckers and kulaks” inside.

        1. Just like in Rome.

          Minus the ACA of course.

        2. Damn, I was trying to cut back to getting drunk only 4 or 5 times a week.

          Looks like I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue

      2. It is not hyperbole to say that this is what a banana republic looks like.

        Separation of powers, rule of law, and checks and balances are a farce in a banana republic. Elections are a farce. The concept of limited government with consent of the governed is a farce. Respect for inalienable rights is a farce. Even the very integrity of language is a farce with this government.

        This decision once again demonstrated that Rothbard had it right: “The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances.”

        1. Of course it failed. Humans don’t work that way. Any system you create that attempts to pretend that humans will be honest and honorable, even when there are massive incentives not to be, is an already failed system. All government is a failed system, because it denies human nature. Not as badly as some other systems (many religions, for example), but still, badly enough.

          Denying human nature automatically leads to perverse incentives.

          1. Very depressing, but true .

    3. It’s literally old-school Communist in that he’s openly lying and daring you to contradict him. Now everyone has to repeat that up is down, and in doing so, become participants in the lie.
      How in God’s name does Gilespie think this is restraint and not activism is beyond me. He’s literally rewritten the law to have always said what it didn’t. Up next – increase of chocolate ration to 25 grams.

      1. Let’s combine this decision with the fact that hordes of armed government thugs are roaming the country killing indiscriminately, without consequence.

        Yep…it’s all falling into place nicely. (I was just 31 years early.)

        /Eric Arthur Blair

      2. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    4. “it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court”

      Mostly because at this point it doesn’t have any left, being led by a stupid hypocrite.

      1. I guess it now has negative legitimacy.

  3. This is the second time Roberts has saved Obamacare. It makes me wonder what the NSA has on him.

    1. I would speculate but I suspect we’re being monitored.

      1. No shit. I’d love to give my opinion, but it’s damn chilly in here.

        1. *Makes note: “Vapourwear: Global-Warming Denier”*

    2. Probably something involving a dead hooker, live joy, or a sheep. Or any combination thereof.

      1. *live boy*

        I hate typing on my phone, but it’s the only way I can get reason’s shitty commenting system to actually post my comments.

        1. Damn, Loki…I actually Googled “Live Joy”, trying to figure out what it referred to.

          In other words, always scroll down.

      2. It’s one of his kids.

        The adoption wasn’t exactly legal and they threaten to send the kid back to an orphanage in Ireland (or whereever).

    3. That was my thought as well, Mr. Weebles. The federal government, all branches, is completely out of control.

    4. He wears Confederate Flag undies.

    5. I think Roberts simply has Judicial Statesman Syndrome – he wants to go down in history as a visionary leader who, from his lofty perch, worked to make the country a better place. A Platonic Guardian. Who doesn’t mind telling the occasional Noble Lie.

      1. “No, Justice Sotomayer, that robe most definitely does NOT make your backside look big!”

      2. I think it more likely that he doesn’t want to go down in history as the Great Obstructor who kept the nobles from realizing their grand vision for the people. That he will be remembered by many as a traitor and largely forgotten by the rest does not seem to bother him as much.

      3. He wants to out-shine Earl Warren.
        But, since Warren as Governor of CA was complicit in the internment of Japanese-Americans in WW-2, that’s a pretty low bar.

    6. He was appointed by Bush. Bush was a neocon. The neocons have their ideological origins in Communism. No buyoff necessary.

      1. Bush called himself a “compassionate.” Quite obviously code for progfascist.

    7. If I were to hazard a guess I’d say kiddie porn on his computer. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. It would ruin his career, disgrace him and put him in prison at the same time.

      You know the Justice Dept., NSA, State Dept and probably other agencies are looking for dirt like that on Justices. You’re talking about controlling one of the most powerful people in the nation for probably the next 40 years. Way too good of information to pass up and way too easy to collect.

  4. When a law is written in such a way that it doesn’t work well or has unintended consequences, the way to fix it is to have Congress rewrite and pass a new law. The SCOTUS has essentially rewritten a new law under the urging of the POTUS — the two branches of the government who AREN’T supposed to be able to pass laws have combined to effectively do so.

    1. Congress doesn’t have the votes to rewrite and pass a new law. So Roberts did it for them.

      1. IMHO, Bush operates Roberts like a little puppet.

  5. They should call him Honest John. When he’s bribed he stays bribed.

  6. And while it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court,

    Why? I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in thinking the Court has shown itself to be politicized?

    1. I don’t think you could possibly overstate how badly this decision damages the legitimacy of the Court. SCOTUS is there to uphold the Constitution, not decide that Congress didn’t really say what it said.

      It’s job is not to correct “inartful drafting” from Congress, it’s job is to interpret whether or not said drafting is legitimate in terms of the Constitution. You cannot possibly overstate how bad this is.

      1. I have it on good authority that any decision which supports Obama & the Dems enhances the legitimacy of the court while any decision which opposes Obama, et al, damages the legitimacy of the court.

        1. You got that information from Reddit, right?

    2. Came to post the exact same thing.

      Suderman, why do you back away from the obvious truth? Too painful? Scared of getting subpeonaed?

      Serious question: If blatantly ignoring the clearly-written law to do whatever the hell you want doesnt qualify as ‘damaging the legitimacy of the court’ – what in your opinion would?

      Our highest court of the land is a kangaroo court.

      1. “Well, on the plus side, he’s got a ton of FISA experience.”

        -Future president reviewing credentials for SCOTUS appointments

    3. I don’t think it’s just the legitimacy of the court that’s damaged, it’s the legitimacy of the entire federal government that should be in question now.

    4. No, there’s just nothing left to damage.

  7. Roberts rewrote it,

    Let’s stop pretending and call the law by its correct and proper name: Robertcare.

    1. (Robertscare. Sorry.)

    2. “We scare because we care.”

  8. Under this ruling, are there any limits on the President’s executive authority to implement this law if the President believes the actions he is taking is to “improve health insurance markets”?

  9. I’m not particularly surprised. It was more of a longshot than the previous case, and since the court upheld it then, there was little chance they were going to strike anything down now.

    On the up side, this may mean (as I have noted before) the the Republicans have stronger hand to play toward making “fixes” to the law, since they aren’t under the pressure of having to reinstate subsidies for constituents in Republican states.

    They were already preparing to pass a fix to put the subisides back in place anyway.

    1. ^^This. On the bright side at least we were spared another round of GOP Failure Theater.

      1. Exactly. Chances are high that the net result would have been three months of Democrats getting to portray the Republicans as evil monsters who want to steal people’s health care. Followed by the Republicans unilaterally caving in and passing a “clean” bill that reinstates the subsidies.

        1. He’s taking the issue off the table in order to improve GOP electoral prospects?

          1. I guarantee the GOP establishment sees this as a reprieve. Their political fortunes are the only things they care about.

            1. I agree and said as much on the other thread. This baby’s going down big time, anyway. The subsidy decision in and of itself isn’t going to matter so let it go. And, frankly, now SCOTUS gets part of the credit. Morons.

    2. While I see your point, I stopped hoping that the Republicans would do anything right long ago.

  10. I can’t believe SCOTUS the whole thing!

    1. We’re so scotused.

      1. SCROTUS

        Supreme Court Roberts of the US

        1. ha ha

      2. SCOTUS-Damn it! I’m so SCOTUSED angry right now!

  11. You can never judge things until time passes. Who would have guessed in 2008 that George Bush appointing Roberts was such an enormous blunder. Even before the first Obamacare decision, Roberts always turned my stomach a bit. I read where in law school he was already being careful about what he wrote so that nothing could be used against him in a future supreme court confirmation hearing. That is just creepy when you think about it. Anyone who would be that calculating at such a young age, has no soul.

    1. Roberts is willing to uphold the Constitution on occasion. His deference to the Executive and popular opinion in this matter is unsettling to say the least.

      1. Popular opinion? The ACA has always been unpopular. Add in the method of its passage and I can’t understand Roberts need to defend it.

    2. Anyone willing to take a government check has no soul.

  12. But the intent of Congress was to force the States to set up exchanges so Roberts really is undermining their intent.

    1. Undermining their ORIGINAL intent. Now their intent is to give away money any way they can once they realized that

      1 – Many states weren’t going to implement this heap of trash, and
      2 – Even some who did failed so miserably that the feds now have to provide a backstop

      1. But this screws the Feds. They put this in as a stick to the States and the IRS completely undercut them! Obama should have been saying no subsidies from the Feds in order to force the States to set up exchanges. Unless this was all a plot to get to single payer.

  13. The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

    Gentlemen, I give you the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    1. Duly Passed by the Supreme Court of the United States, and ratified by the President of the United States, this Twenty-Fifth Day of June, In the Year Of Our Lord Six

  14. In addition to the above, this also sets a very dangerous precedent. Here we have a shitty, poorly written law that the administration deliberately reinterpreted in the most politically expedient way. Then the SCOTUS comes along and completely ignores/ interprets/ rewrites the law in order to validate the administration’s interpretation, which clearly runs counter to the plain language of the law as congress wrote it. At this point, why bother anymore with actually writing laws? Let’s just have the law be whatever the president says it is. So long “rule of law”, it was nice knowing you.

    1. We now have an elected king.

      1. You don’t vote for king!

        1. “Oh pissboy!!”

    2. And before any of our resident Obama fluffing trolls show up, just remember one thing: politics are cyclical and someday a president you dislike will be elected, and now thanks to the machinations of Bush, Obama, and the SCOTUS they’ll be able to get away with pretty much anything. Start wars on their own, reinterpret laws in ways that directly contradict their plain written meaning. Anything.

      1. This President and his entire cabinet of abettors deserve impeachment and the gallows for what they’ve done.

        1. Subpoena in 3… 2… 1…

          1. After reading your comment (the one I’m responding to now), I couldn’t prevent myself from crying, because I’m currently living in Britain, and there’s a very real possibility that the only reason I won’t be tagged, or investigated, or harassed in some way by an American authority is that I’m not presently on American soil. Me and my fiance are moving to the United States in 2018, with definitive plans in place.

            How unbelievably fucked up is that? My country’s dying. It’s literally dying.

            1. USA! Still the best country on the planet despite how effed up it’s becoming! Even citizens of our former colonial overlord still want to come here – because it’s even worse there.

              1. Yes, but if Hillary wins and appoints a justice or two, the first and second amendments may be in trouble.

    3. There never was “rule of law”. It’s always been “rule of man”. Laws are nothing, they are completely made up shit that are utterly ignored if there is no consequence for doing so. And consequences can only come from other people. A law can’t enforce itself, and if no one will enforce it…it’s nothing.

      This shit is exactly what you should be expecting. Because it’s the way humans are.

      1. You’re correct in principle. However, in times past, the disregard for limits was at least given a fig leaf for cover. Now they’re waving their junk in our faces and daring us to call them on it.

        1. Now they’re waving their junk in our faces and daring us to call them on it.

          “Well, what are you peasants gonna do? Revolt? Pffft, whatever!” – our rulers

          1. “Well, what are you peasants gonna do? Revolt? Pffft, whatever!” – our rulers

            Eventually, yes.

        2. Because no one cares. Like I said, if no one will enforce a “law”…that law doesn’t exist. They are doing this in your face because they know with total certainty that they can. And you know what? They were right.

          1. I think I’ll read some Spooner tonight.

        3. Perhaps their junk needs to go into a woodchipper?

  15. The precedent is far, far worse than the decision.

    It reflects a transition to rule of men from rule of law and indicates that the “American Experiment” is effectively over.

    It’s a pessimistic view, but I don’t think that it’s a reversible process. Government is an ever-aggregating mass, adding to its bulk and gravity with each law and regulation.

    1. ^this^ – the precedent set by this is the most disturbing part.

      I dub Roberts the new Taney – only bad things can occur from this decision.

    2. I don’t know if the rule of law is out the window, but the limits on the power of the executive and his bureaucrats are now a popularity contest.

      Actually, the bureaucrats aren’t elected, and the law was unpopular when it was voted on, so…up against the wall, motherfucker!

      1. It’s a total capitulation on the part of SCOTUS. The 70,000 federal regulations now mean what the regulators say they mean, setting the stage for abuse.

  16. “What makes the Court so sure that Congress ‘meant’ tax credits to be available everywhere?” Scalia asks. “Our only evidence of what Congress meant comes from the terms of the law, and those terms show beyond all question that tax credits are available only on state Exchanges.”

    Dear Justice Scalia:

    Fuck you!

    That’s why.

    Sincerely,

    Chief Justice Roberts

    1. The weight of the evidence clearly favors the plaintiffs here. For Christ’s sake, the ACA’s definition section defines “State” as the 50 U.S. states + the District of Columbia.

      One of my law school professors likes to remind us students to always check the law code’s definition section before interpreting the substantive provisions of the code. I guess now I’ll just explain to her that there’s no need to look up any definition. “What? I’m following SCOTUS precedent. Up is down.”

  17. I will say we are fortunate to have someone as articulate as Scalia writing out the dissent. It spells out everything fundamentally wrong with the majority opinion and does so clearly and logically.

    There’s no real way for any Obama fellater to refute it other than by attacking Scalia personally or going off on an irrelevant tangent on how millions of people would have died without Obamacare.

    It is quite clear who is correct on this issue to anyone with functional cognitive abilities not tainted by an ideology of Obamacare Uber Alles.

    1. You delude yourself. I point to this Salon article as evidence. Please read the comments, but brace yourself.

      I love how Scalia attempts to turn the tables by arguing that politics entered into the majority’s decision. Because, you know, his own opposition to the law has nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with his own politics and sad ideological bent. Neither Scalia nor the outraged right wingers understand that just because you don’t like a law doesn’t mean that the Supremes should declare it to be unconstitutional or otherwise must be repealed. There are many laws that I do like, but I also understand that there is no basis for their repeal.

      1. There are many laws that I do like, but I also understand that there is no basis for their repeal.

        He uses “but” when “and” will do.

        1. Salon commenters are not the brightest among us

          1. Or they at least don’t proofread. I think he meant “there are many laws that I don’t like, but I understand that there is no basis for their repeal.”

            1. Who do you think you are, the Chief Justice?

              1. He certainly seems willing to attempt to figure out what other people meant to say.

      2. Notice the shithead didn’t actually address any of Scalia’s actual arguments. Just a tu quoque fallacy about Scalia playing politics followed by boilerplate bitching about right wingers.

      3. How can anyone who would defend a woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body turn around and give the government the constitutional authority to tell everyone what they should do with theirs? That they only way to take care of your health mandates purchasing insurance or worse, in my case, forces using government subsidies? They now call me once or twice every week coercing me to select a doctor and asking when I will be scheduling my yearly exam. I tell them that I will be doing neither, as soon as I ask if I will become a criminal if I refuse. I laugh out loud when they say it’s my “choice.” How can anyone say this is a constitutional law that we simply “do not like” ?!

        1. For me, not for thee

      4. proof that brute force and superior weaponry are and have always been the only check upon unmitigated idiots. Scalia uses logic, salon and its readers dont enen know what that is.

    2. There’s no real way for any Obama fellater to refute it other than by attacking Scalia personally or going off on an irrelevant tangent on how millions of people would have died without Obamacare.

      And that’s exactly what they will do. Remember that leftists consider ad hominems to be credible arguments. Ayn Rand was a terrible person so all her ideas were wrong. Ron Paul’s newsletter meant he was a terrible person so all his ideas are wrong. I’m sure they’ll dig something up about Scalia and use that to say he’s a terrible person and that makes his argument wrong.

      1. I’m sure they’ll dig something up about Scalia

        He is an old, white, Catholic male of Italian heritage. And a conservative. What more do you need?

        1. That he also rigs horse races?

          1. I heard he bets on the outcome of cases he votes on. This will definitely look bad on the balloting when his name comes up for Supreme Court Hall of Fame.

            1. +1 Antonin Rose.

    3. There’s no real way for any Obama fellater to refute it other than by attacking Scalia personally or going off on an irrelevant tangent on how millions of people would have died without Obamacare.

      Which is exactly what they’ll do.

  18. Between this and the mad rush to censor history I actually wept for the nation for the first time, today.

    I’m not sure I want to live on this planet anymore.

    1. “Censor what? I’m no OBGYN, sir.”

      1. Over my head, man.

        1. Somebody’s supposed to call for Swiss at this point, I think.

    2. I’m not sure I want to live on this planet anymore.

      I’m quite certain I don’t. That one way Mars trip is looking better and better every day.

    3. That brings me to my current problem: there’s no where left to go.

      1. A small cabin in the Montana woods with a huge woodchipper?

  19. With such an overt, direct choice by the majority in this decision having been taken to defer to the legislative intentions of Obamacare’s authors, a boundary has been crossed definitively — the federal judiciary has effectively relinquished its constitutional duty to this confederation of states, to this Republic, in servile surrender to the executive, and to the legislators under his ideological umbrella.

    The express, essential role of the republican courts was to uphold Constitutional doctrine, and to heed with stalwart stricture the principles of the Founding generation, against despotic usurpations of power by the legislative and executive branches of government. The Supreme Court of the United States has abandoned its sacred duty, and in so doing, by my judgment, it has committed treason. Were I appropriately empowered, I would sincerely seek to prosecute the justices of the Supreme Court on charges of treason.

    God forgive them for what they have done to this republic.

    1. to defer to the legislative intentions of Obamacare’s authors

      The majority didn’t even do that, at least not according to those authors’ intentions when the ACA was passed. No, they rewrote the law to give Obama and the Dems a second bite at the apple.

      The Democrats believed that most of the states would roll over and establish their own exchanges if the federal government offered them subsidies. If they refused, those states – and their voters – would lose the subsidies but would still have to allow the federal government to establish its own exchanges. This is a twisted example of New Federalism – see, e.g., withholding highway funds to states that refuse to adopt the 21-year-old drinking limit. See also the federal government matching dollars for every dollar a state spends on Medicaid. In short, this kind of carrot-and-stick approach is not at all unprecedented; it has been happening for decades in numerous policy areas.

      It’s just that this time, the Democrats miscalculated – they didn’t think so many states would call their bluff and refuse to set up exchanges despite the offer of subsidies. So the Democrats and a pliant media screamed “No fair!” and the IRS swooped in to save the day by rewriting the otherwise plain language of the statute to mean the opposite. The IRS crossed the line between execution and legislation, and SCOTUS merely affirmed this practice.

      1. What truly makes this SCOTUS decision so terrible isn’t even so much the substantive law it upheld but rather the precedent it set – namely, that if there is enough of a political push, the rule of law will be subsumed by the rule of man.

      2. EXACTLY ^this^!

    2. They have done it before. Read the gold clause cases where they declare that gold has no value . Perhaps the constitution has failed because we did not preserve state militias and have instead allowed one branch of government , the executive , to possess the countries only armed force .

  20. This isn’t any watershed or a new low for the court. We see dubious rulings from them all the time. There is some godawful and incredibly impactful ‘interpretations.’

    It’s just further evidence of what I already knew.

    1. Actually it is.

      This isn’t just a bad ruling but as others have been saying it sets a VERY dangerous precedent for future rulings.

      See in the past when handed a law so poorly written the court overturned it and sent it back to Congress for them to fix. With this precedent in place the President is basically free to ignore whatever a law says and when challenged simply argue that his interpretation is integral for the intent of the law to be met and it will be ruled Constitutional.

    2. True dat! This is not a new low for the Court.

      Wickard v. Filburn held the record for absurdity until Kelo.

      Then Gonzales v. Raich took the prize.

      However, this decision has much, much wider impact than the Court’s earlier explorations down the rabbit hole.

      1. The pace of setting new SCOTUS lows is accelerating.

    3. This isn’t any watershed or a new low for the court. We see dubious rulings from them all the time. There is some godawful and incredibly impactful ‘interpretations.’

      This is Dred Scott level bad. The court has just said that the meanings of words don’t matter when it comes to law, that is HUGE.

      1. It’s not just huge. It is, in many ways, all of law.

        My legal mind boggles. It literally does not compute.

        Is it Kafka in here, or is it just me?

        1. My legal mind boggles. It literally does not compute.

          Yes, IANAL but I work with contracts and I am trying to come to grips with this. I figured they would uphold it, but not like this, this is “mind-boggling” as you say. It is going to take a while for this to sink in. Kafka is right.

  21. I guess. Based on the majority decision, the decision itself is pretty ambiguous. I’m not sure it’s not completely overturned.

  22. I’m curious how Roberts will vote in the Same-Sex Marriage case.

    1. However the king wants him to vote.

      1. I’m referring, of course, to the same-sex version of “The Bachelor”. Or is that not a show, yet?

    2. I’m not. I’ve lost faith in the Supreme Court. If they don’t agree, Obama can simply author an executive order instituting his desired policy, and nobody will struggle against it. Nobody.

      1. Here’s a fantasy that soothes me to sleep some nights: our next POTUS charges this one with treason, and subsequently nullifies any executive order and reverses all SCOTUS rulings upholding his unconstitutional laws.

        Yes, I am aware how pitiful it is that this is, at any time, a bedtime fantasy.

    3. I’m curious how Roberts will vote in the Same-Sex Marriage case.

      I was truly looking forward to rubbing Eddie, John and sarc’s noses in it.

      Now, any ruling the SCOTUS gives is meaningless. It won’t be based upon the Constitution, It’ll be based on the preferences of the majority of the Nazgul.

    4. I’m curious how Roberts will vote in the Same-Sex Marriage case.

      How does the administration want him to vote? That’s how he’ll vote.

  23. The application of applying the concept of deference here is absurd. Even if you think courts should be deferential to legislatures, that only applies when you know what the legislature intended. How do they know Congress intended this to be read this way? They don’t. They just want it to be read this way and project that desire on Congress.

    Whatever you think of the concept of judicial deference, it doesn’t apply here. You apply judicial deference when there is a reasonable reading of a statute that makes it constitutional. You don’t apply it when the obvious and literal reading of the statute produces a result one of the political parties doesn’t like.

    1. It’s Hyper-Judicial Activism, I agree with John on this.

  24. Ah fuck, I just posted my outrage on the first thread, and now there’s eight more already? Whatever, I’ll just quote myself:

    The ACA is health insurance racket. Calling it a system implies a legitimacy it never had. Insurance Companies and Hospital lobbyists must be jizzing themselves with happiness today. The two industries can continue their ludicrous pricing fixing unabated.. and now you have no choice but to go along with, under penalty of law, because John Roberts said, “FYTW”.

    I’m still baffled over how anyone who calls themselves a progressive can celebrate what is essentially a bailout for the insurance industry.

    I swear to our Lord and Savior Christ of Nazareth (PBUH) that this whole fucking country is retarded

    1. If you are paying attention, this really is so obviously a complete and total sop to the insurance companies. They are getting forced enrollment, which increases their income pool, while reducing what their coverage will pay for and increasing premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

      It’s becoming clearer and clearer this was one of the hugest crony wealth transfers in US history. And the fucking retard sheep who cheer it on–who ostensibly HATE crony corporations–are happier than clams about it. It’s astounding.

      1. That is totally what it is. The insurance companies don’t give a shit about the mandates because they know they can pass the costs onto their customers and the customers can’t do anything about it. The whole thing was nothing but a crony money grab. The only thing more infuriating about it is how the usual band of retards are so fucking stupid they actually think this thing helps anyone but the insurance companies.

        1. The people getting subsidies seem to be quite happy. Until they go to the doctor. That’s when they find that many health care providers do not accept the insurance from the exchanges because they know that the deadbeats who went to the exchange have no intention of paying the high deductible.

          1. I’m not a deadbeat.

            1. Sorry. That was poorly worded.

              My point was that people who expect free shit aren’t going to pay the high deductible because they feel it should be free. And health care providers know this.

          2. I’m “getting” subsidies, and I not happy. I’m Fucking furious. I refuse to use the Fucking card, pick a Fucking doctor or schedule a Fucking yearly exam. I will instead go to some express care or other appropriate physician if I need one, and pay for it myself. I have been able to set up payment plans when necessary. I realize if I get a catastrophic illness I’m financially screwed, but my mother, who had both leukemia and insurance, was financially screwed anyway.

        2. With the ACA and now Net Neutrality, we’re seeing a disturbing trend of the politicians seemingly getting better and better at camouflaging their crony and power-grab bullshit in rhetoric that gets huge, mindless support from the drooling mongoloids that want these pipe dreams and pies in the sky. The only way this shit has even been possible is that a shitload of retards are willing to support it, even though it’s going to fuck them.

          If the politicians get any better at utilizing useful idiots, we are fucked. Even more than already.

          1. This is what happens when people are taught to emote instead of think. The ACA and Net Neutrality feel good. It feels good that the government is giving us universal access to health care. It feels good that the government is making the Internet fair. It all feels good until you think about it. And if you never think about it, it will always feel good.

            1. Morphine feels great all the way up till the end.

              1. “Morphine? That’s what they gave the guy in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ just before he died!”

                ~Bryan Regan

            2. Yep, and trying to convince someone that these feel good laws are bullshit is like to trying to wrench the heroin needle out of a junkies hands.

              In the end, the junkie still gets his fix, and now you probably have AIDS to boot.

          2. If the politicians get any better at utilizing useful idiots, we are fucked. Even more than already.

            Every time I think I can’t despise people any more than I already do, something comes along and surprises me.

          3. It is because people have become ignorant and think words are all that matter. It says the right words so it must work like that in real life.

          4. But look!! There’s a Confederate flag over there!! And a baker who doesn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding!! And this co-ed says she was raped last year!!

            1. Some white chick said she was black.

          5. I’m still astounded at anti-rich/anti-corporate/anti-wall street progressives cheering on Tarp and QE. Did they realize who was meant to benefit from them?

            1. I think at times it’s a simple case of, “Hey, that’s a great idea because the cool kids are for it!”

      2. It’s becoming clearer and clearer this was one of the hugest crony wealth transfers in US history. And the fucking retard sheep who cheer it on–who ostensibly HATE crony corporations–are happier than clams about it. It’s astounding.

        The cognitive dissonance from my lefty friends on this matter is beyond reckoning. I have attempted to explain to them my reasoning on why the ACA sucks so hard, but they always shutdown the conversation by accusing me of wanting to push grandma off the cliff.

        Pretty much sick of the rest of humanity at the moment.

        1. I run into the same deal as well.

          I’ve quit trying to explain it to them and now, when they bitch about the second and third-order effects biting them in the ass, I just jump onto the “You had it coming, you stupid fuck…enjoy” bandwagon.

      3. Clams are happy?

        1. Have you ever heard one complain?

          1. Why not Oysters? Or Mussels?

            Hm. Eh?

            1. Elitist.

        2. Right up until they’re shucked and devoured en masse.

  25. This may be the biggest blow to liberty since Wickard.

    1. At least racists can’t purchase their Confederate Flags from Walmart, anymore.

      1. I know, right? Priorities.

        1. Gotta make room for the in-store ACA health clinic.

  26. “…one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”

    Who knew Reagan was a prophet?

  27. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b56e0u0EgQ

    We’re finally falling to our worst. Kirk would weep.

    1. “I do not fully know what they mean, but the holy words will be followed, I swear it!”

      *words never spoken by Roberts

  28. The ruling was 6-3. Why is the author of the majority opinion getting all the blame?

    1. Kennedy should be getting heat. The others, well, what did you expect from admirers of the South African Constitution?

    2. He was *supposed* to be conservative-leaning, but he threw in with the progressives on this issue, and so has earned a double portion of scorn.

    3. Penaltax!

    4. Why is the author of the majority opinion getting all the blame?

      Are you kidding me? Shikha basically screams ‘BOOOOOSH!!!!’ at the end of her article.

    5. So we do need the 5000 model, after all?

      1. “220, 221, whatever it takes…”

  29. “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,”

    Yes, that is a true statement. but, congress also passed the Controlled Substances Act to rid the country of drugs. The Food Stamp Act to rid the country of poverty. The Patriot Act to rid the country of Terrorism…. It seems to me that Roberts may actually believe that every law that congress passes does what it says it’s going to do. So, even laws that our poorly written will work just because that is what was intended.

    1. Intentions are all that matter.

      Correction: Stated intentions are all that matter.

    2. You forgot the Volstead Act to rid the country of alcoholic beverages…..
      but, they repealed that after a demonstration of massive civil-disobedience that spanned twelve years.
      There’s a clue there.

  30. As Scalia snarks at the end of his dissent

    Maybe if Scalia put more effort into convince his colleagues he was right instead of working on his amateur stand up career, he’d have won the case.

    The right seems to think that the key to political success is to be as big an asshole as possible to as man people as possible, and then wants to be shocked when they’re unpopular.

    And yes, supreme court decisions should come down to popularity, but, well, welcome to the real world. How many times do we have to lose before someone tries a different strategy.

    1. And yes, supreme court decisions should come down to popularity

      Prom-queen judiciary, FTW!

      1. That should be “supreme court decisions should NOT comed down to popularity”

        1. Fine.

          *throws pom-poms down in disgust*

    2. And yes, supreme court decisions should come down to popularity

      Tony agrees.

      1. There was supposed to be a “not” in there.

    3. First of all, I dispute that Scalia’s dissent was snarky, or at least overly so.

      Second, do you really think that if Scalia had simply toned down any snark he could have convinced the other justices to change their minds? I find that laughable.

      1. Scalia has a long reputation for being a huge asshole to people he disagrees with. Would being nice for just this case would not have changed the outcome? Of course not. But I can imagine that after years of it, he’s basically become “Charlie Brown’s Teacher” to most of his coworkers.

        1. So if we’d just be nicer to all the wannabe tyrants they’ll stop acting like tyrants? Uh huh.

          1. What’s the alternative? The current strategy of preaching to the choir while telling everyone else to die in a fire sure isn’t working.

            1. The current strategy of preaching to the choir while telling everyone else to die in a fire sure isn’t working.

              It is insanely dishonest to characterize Scalia’s particular dissent here as such, if that’s what you’re doing.

            2. You think nobody ever tried to persuade the progs, to work with them, to reason with them? That’s how we got in this situation. You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

              1. Truer words never written.

        2. While I can see how people would interpret his writing that way, another way to look at it is that he is brutally honest and isn’t going to waste time beating around the bush. I think that adds to his persuasive force, not subtracts from it.

          Also, you seem to be arguing that the justices should put style over substance. But maybe the justices really are that shallow…

        3. Wouldn’t have been more appropriate to say that he doesn’t suffer fools gladly?

        4. Really? Explain his friendship with RBG.

      2. It is unreasoable to expect Scalia to do the only thing which would in anyway alter the votes of the 4 fascists and the 2 traitorous wimps. He is simply too old and temperamentally unsuited to to beat the crap out of them, push them into a woodchipper or shoot them in the back of the head. The state militias from conservative states should be doing that, but they dont exist any more. And now you can understand why the confederate flag remains an anathema to the progs.

    4. The majority consisted of two legacy-obsessed egomaniacs (Roberts, Kennedy) and four laughable leftist hacks (Sotomayor, Kagan, Breyer, Ginsberg). By all means, tell us more about this “different strategy” that you imagine might have produced a different outcome given sufficient persuasive effort by the dissenters.

    5. That is some weapons grade stupid there, stormy.

  31. With subsidy eligibility no longer being a hurdle, will we see state-run exchanges shut down and move their residents to the Federal exchange?

    1. Probably. The screeching from the progtards when that happens should be epic.

      1. Hardly. It just makes it easier to replace the federal exchange with single payer, so we can finally all be equally* unhealthy.

        *excluding Party members in good standing, of course.

        1. “VA Health-Care” coming to a clinic near you.

  32. I prefer to call it Robertscare.

  33. Ah c’man my American friends. Tyranny isn’t so bad. Look, at Canada. We sell a piece of our individualism every so often and we’re just fine.

    Just go with the flow. There’s nothing to worry about; especially if you have nothing to hide.

    Top Men making decisions for you really makes you freer. It’s the way things are meant to be.

    Welcome to civility.

    1. The freedom to ask permission and obey orders.

      1. Are we still allowed to ask permission?

        1. You’ll have to find some Top. Men. and ask them.

          1. *looks around nervously*

          2. But… I really don’t want to bottom for these guys.

            1. It’s apparently part of the individual mandate. Sorry.

      2. Now we’ll have to stand in a long line just to ask permission.

        1. We have become Vogons.

    2. Top Men making decisions for you really makes you freer. It’s the way things are meant to be.

      “Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”

      1. +1 Learn from your elders.

  34. Let me throw in this comment – supposing the court said the law meant what it said – then the federal government would basically be telling the states to create exchanges, on penalty of increasing their people’s taxes. Wouldn’t this violate the non-coercion principle of the first Obamacare decision?

    1. Principles shminciples. Principals are what matter.

    2. on penalty of increasing their people’s taxes removing their subsidies

      It’s the same tactic the feds have used for decades to coerce the states, just now directly applied to the citizenry. The threat to remove subsidies or grants is the federal government’s end run around the limits placed on it by the Constitution.

  35. How can the DoJ subpoena Reason commenters’ identifying information for making threats if words actually have no meaning? Can’t we just ask the Supreme Court to reinterpret any supposed threat in such a way that they can decide it is not a threat?

    Maybe we should start using some language other than English. Apparently, 2/3 of Supreme Court Justices think it has no meaning.

    1. “When I use a word,” John Roberts said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less”

      1. +1 tea party

  36. Jesus MOTHERfucking Christ I can’t believe this! Except I totally can.

    But I foolishly held out hope that they’d get this one right.

    What a bunch of stupid motherfuckers. Fuck this shit. I’m in the pitchfork woodchipper and torch bidness as of this moment.

    1. I too am torn between melancholy and extreme hatred.

  37. Is anyone really surprised? The United States has been trending fascist since the suspension of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War. Now corporate entities willingly suspend profits with the government’s smiling approval while you and I pay for corporate bailouts. I don’t vote because the options are all thoroughly corrupt and I don’t care about Obamacare because I am leaving the country having advised my children to do the same. Why on earth would anyone give wealth or blood to a fascist state? It is all very disappointing.

    1. The United States has been trending fascist since the suspension of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War Alien and Sedition Acts.

      You were off by four score or so years.

      1. Perhaps, but I was willing to give benefit of the doubt until that particular gem.

      2. Yeah, but those were eventually undone. Impossible to undo legislation today. As many of us said here back when Obamacare passed, it would be impossible to undo it as the GOP had no guts to do so even if they took over the Congress and the Presidency. It will now be tweaked forever, but never rolled back because we can’t take free shit away once we give it.

  38. I said this in the last article, but…

    If intent trumps language, then isn’t it time to re-try the Massachusetts v EPA decision that said the EPA, through the clean air act, can regulate non-particulate matter like CO2, even though that was directly against the testimony and intent of the authors, Jorling and Billings, of the act who said it was never intended to regulate CO2 and they never imagined it would?

    I think so.

    1. Nope. The role of the Judiciary is to rewrite laws in such a manner as to please the Executive branch, of which the EPA is part.

      1. I remember in my environmental law class when the professor – a steadfast environmentalist who worked for our state’s conservation department – admitted that it was highly unlikely Congress intended those provisions of the CAA to confer discretion on the EPA to classify CO2 as a pollutant.

        Ah, honest environmentalists. We need more of them.

        1. highly unlikely? Jorling and Billings admit it.

          1. FTA:

            “Today a senator has no time to be a senator,” he said. From the moment someone is elected, they have to fund-raise for re-election. They don’t have time to attend hearings or markup sessions ? the kinds of activities that Sen. Muskie was involved in when he led the subcommittee.

            Aww, po’ babies. Nothing is more important than getting reelected, right? Maybe term limits would help solve the problem…nah, can’t have that.

            I know! Let’s make government less transparent!

            This is a far cry from what you see in today’s Congress. Jorling also discussed the importance of the closed markup session ? in the 1970s, laws were written behind closed doors, resulting in a high degree of cooperation. Senators were free to ask questions and discuss issues openly without fear of scrutiny from others. This created a lawmaking process built on “understanding, education and learning that members actively engaged in.” Today, the open session process in lawmaking makes for better theater than an actual practice of understanding.

      2. One defers to the army, and today the executive controls the army. No standing armies , militias and the second amendment were an integral part of the constitution. So of course we got rid of militias, gave the executive a huge standing army and limited the second amendment to make the citizenry as helpless against the standing army as possible. The we wonder why the unarmed branches of the federal government dont resist executive encroachments.

  39. I can’t really say I’m angry about this ruling, because it’s not a core problem–it is, rather a symptom. The ACA law itself is, in the same way, a symptom of a core problem.

    Well, there are two core problems that I can see (there may be others): One is the decided lack of interest on the part of the greater populace to study and understand how economics work. The ACA incentivizes the consumption of medical services (not “health care”), but does nothing to incentivize the provision of those services. Result? A shortage of medical services. And yet it is supposed to “save Health Care”, and I have even seen in some fora the law itself equated with health care. It is painful to see such ignorance paraded about as wisdom.

    The other core problem that I see is the incentive that the current government system gives to politicians and bureaucrats to lie, cheat, and steal in order to increase their power, as well as the associated incentive given to the greater populace to invest said politicians and bureaucrats with ever greater amounts of power, in order to secure some portion of the loot with which the government has absconded. There doesn’t seem to be any incentive to stop the mad system of theft and counter-theft. It makes me fume, but I recognized that Roberts and his ilk are merely responding to the incentives that are set before them. I guess one could say that I hate the game rather than (or, at least, more than) the players.

    1. Hate the woodchipper, not the wood. Got it.

      1. It’s “woodchippa”

        1. Aussie?

  40. How can Congress EVER pass a law to ‘fix markets’ John Roberts?

    Tell me – how?

    1. That’s the Top Man Syndrome for you: it’s always about how X needs fixing, Y needs fixing, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

      Top Men (and Women; no need to discriminate!) see the world rather narrowly – everything needs fixing, and only they can provide the means to do it.

      Just under the surface is their true belief: people need fixing. “We will drag you to the light, even if it kills you.”

      1. Government breaks your legs, hands you a crutch, and says “see, if it wasn’t for government, you couldn’t walk”.

        Truer words were never spoken, Harry Browne.

  41. God, FB will be intolerable. Time to avoid for a while. Maybe just deactivate for maximum derp avoidance.

    Oh, this is gonna be unbearable for some time…..fuck me.

  42. What are words for when no one listens anymore
    What are words for when no one listens
    What are words for when no one listens it’s no use talkin at all

    1. You should dye your hair blue.

  43. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Humpty Dumpty

  44. John Roberts, you’re not an economist. Nancy Pelosi is not an economist. Harry Reid is not an economist. Barack Obama is not an economist.

    So why do you think you’re all so smart you can “fix the health insurance market” by passing another law?

    1. They had Krug’roid on their side, so there’s that.

  45. We’ll be in deep doo-doo if Hillary Clinton wins in 2016 and Scalia retires. Oh, folks – you think ScotusCare is bad -you ain’t seen NOTHING yet.

  46. Don’t let your tears blind you, Peter. Everytime the court rules against you, it isn’t a conspiracy. Sometimes you just are on the wrong side of history, like you are now. Don’t forget Kennedy also disagreed with you…in fact, it wasn’t even all that close, was it? 6-3, you know. Man up. You were wrong once again.

    1. You know who else was on the wrong side of history?

      1. Everyone who ever disagreed with me.

      2. I’m sure you.

    2. Yeah, SCOTUS majorities are never wrong; you can never critique their logic and find it wanting. Nope. They’ve spoken. Bow down, peasant!

      Jack, you really put the “ass” in “Jackass.”

      1. No, actually you can’t critique their logic. Well, progressives can’t anyway, since they have no concept of logic. All they understand is what they feel. So when they see someone critique the logic of something that makes them feel good, they have an emotional fit because they don’t like how it makes them feel. But they certainly don’t understand it.

    3. Sometimes you just are on the wrong side of history…

      Ah, yes. The smug bleating of a progressive in heat.

      1. There is bleating going on, alright. And it’s hot, too. All on your side. Robby just engaged in it, as well as nearly every commenter, including you.

        Smug? Yeah, you got me there. The whining from libertarians has been hysterical.

    4. The Right Side of History includes government-induced shortages of medical services?

      1. That’s a market failure caused by greedy capitalists that can only be solved with more government. Duh. Hasn’t Tony taught you anything?

    5. Also, Jack, did you tell your progressive friends to stop whining about Citizens United and Hobby Lobby? I mean, you guys lost: you were on the wrong side of history. Just man up and admit you all were wrong.

      1. Actually, I did. Go look at robby’s column, where I told him he was whining like profs about how SC was rewriting the constitution over the 2nd amendment.

        I don’t quite fit the fantasy you want to live by, do I?

        1. Oh, I’m quite certain you do. Again, did you tell your progressive friends they were on the wrong side of history for opposing the majorities in Citizens United and Hobby Lobby, that corporations do in fact possess the same inalienable rights that natural individuals do, since corporations are composed of natural individuals, and how it is wrong for those whiners to keep claiming otherwise?

          1. In fact , I do. You see, I work to see those I want get elected. I don’t just sit on my butt and whine. Unlike libertarians. How about you?

            1. Why do you presume I don’t? You still didn’t answer my question.

              1. I presumed nothing. I asked you, and you didn’t answer. I will now take that as a no, that you just whine.

                Unlike you, Not only did I answer your question, I proved to you I did call out profs earlier on robby’s column. Go read for yourself, if you dare.

                Any other questions for me?

                1. No, you still haven’t answered whether you told progs they were on the wrong side of history re those cases I cited and that they should just move on.

                  But to answer yours; yes, I do try to change people’s minds on issues. I have discussions with various friends and family who disagree with me. I’m also a member of a student group which brings libertarian/conservative legal experts to discuss legal concepts with the general public as well as other students. We work hard to introduce different ways of thinking about politics, law, and philosophy in environments which are hostile to such differences.

                  1. Well, that is good. I mean that. I actually knock on doors, make calls, for candidates. I too can get cynical, but I don’t just like to whine.

                    I get into more arguments on the left about things like sequester (I am for it). I never whine about SC.

                    1. Oh gross, a democracy worshipper.

              2. *progs

    6. Sometimes you’re on the wrong side of history, but more often you’re on the wrong side of an evil person with too much power.

      That said, the more the right understands that the left is too legally and intellectually dishonest to be stopped in courts or debates, the more appealing avenues outside of law will look.

      1. Only the left is being dishonest? The right and libertarians are pure? That’s whining, my friend.

        1. The left is dishonest not our of expediency or human failing but as constant unchanging policy, they NEVER tell the truth and they NEVER care what misery and suffering their policies cause.

  47. As even Roberts admits in his opinion, the law “contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting” and generally “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” It is a shoddy, messy piece of legislation, held together, barely, by Supreme Court duct tape.

    This fact damages the entire legitimacy of law in the United States. Congress can get away with writing piss poor laws that it doesn’t understand and then completely ignore the obvious language of the law. But it claims to hold the ability to jail, fine, or kill people that don’t follow the law (which is of course impossible because no one can trust that the law means what it says).

    This is awful on so many levels.

    1. We’re living through the transition from Rule of Law to Rule of Man.

      1. And the Top. Men. will soon get robots as enforcers.

        Think on that.

  48. Roberts only asked one question during the case – obvious that he was out to save Obamacare regardless of the legal case.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/…..p-his-hand

    1. FTA:

      For his part, Scalia looks ever more like a Fox News justice, who seems to get his talking points from popular culture rather than from the law. In response to Verrilli’s claim that millions would lose health insurance if the plaintiffs win, Scalia asked, in all seriousness, “You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue?? Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem. It happens all the time. Why is that not going to happen here?” This is the point that several Republican members of Congress have made in recent weeks?”Sure! We’ll fix Obamacare!” As any half-aware student of the contemporary Congress knows, there is no chance at all?none?that this Congress will amend or improve the Affordable Care Act to save subsidies.

      Scalia actually thinks Congress would do their jobs? How quaint.

      1. So the New Yorker claims Scalia gets his talking points from popular culture rather than law. It then proceeds to prove this by…arguing from popular culture.

        1. The left is always making this claim about the conservative Justices, but I don’t think that’s accurate. The so-called liberal Justices vote in lock-step almost uniformly (occasionally, Justice Breyer will stray to the fascist side and Justice Ginsburg will often vote with Justice Scalia in civil procedure cases), while there is actually a good deal of intellectual and jurisprudential debate among the conservative ones (even between Justices Scalia and Thomas regarding how originalism works).

          1. Whoever wrote that about Scalia in the New Yorker is a liar.

            Scalia, at least here, carefully goes through several of the major sections of the ACA, discusses SCOTUS precedent and its application to the case, and even analyzes those statutory provisions under several canons of statutory construction.

            The New Yorker hopes its readers will just nod their heads approvingly and not even bother to read what was actually written.

            The left lies. Who knew?

  49. Hey, who ordered that Asplundh truck that just pulled up in front of the Supreme Court building?

  50. The Supreme Court had no other option and this could have been presented better. SCOTUS could not allow Congress and the President be guilty of criminally deceiving the public. The Federal Exchanges are state exchanges shared by the States who did not establish them.

  51. this is the danger of relying on big government and a select FEW govt elitists who truly believe THEY know better than anyone else. Very dangerous to put our trust in other FALLIBLE Human beings….this goes beyond this ridiculous ruling…it goes to the heart of our system of law or lack thereof now…

  52. Just think how much time Congress could save by just writing a title, followed by “The Secretary/Administrator shall determine…..”, and then handing the piece of paper to the President for a press conference where he could announce the broad outlines of what he intends to do.
    I think they have a term for that, but it isn’t a Federal Constitutional Republic.
    I wonder what one of those look like?

    1. what do you think the law creating the EPA looks like ? Much of Obamacare is the same..

  53. Roberts is proof that you can’t judge a judge by the president who nominated him. He reminds me more and more of David Souter with each new knife in the back.

    1. John Roberts. One more reason to hate George W Bush!

  54. Some Old Mexican beat me to it.
    I second Robertscare.
    I thought it was not SCROTUS job to save us from bad laws, now it is?

    Lastly there are places to go. I have suggested before there are islands for sale where independance could be purchased. I’m in. Who’s second.

    1. what are these islands, I am interested.

  55. Time for a new Magna Carta, perhaps?

  56. So Mr. Justice Roberts thing Obama Care is O.K. via the law, the constitution or the moons of Jupiter, and has so written. Wither goest the 8 other justices? Did none side with Justice Scalia? If so,WHY??

  57. The claim that Congressional intent here is unclear is wishful thinking. There’s simply no doubt the tax credits were intended to apply to the federal exchange…unless you’re going to argue that Congress, itself, didn’t know what it’s own intent was — for until years after adoption, everybody (in Congress, and otherwise) believed that the tax credits did apply.

    The question is whether the language actually adopted precludes deferring to that Congressional intent.

    You may believe that language should strictly control, but Scalia is outright lying in claiming that deferring to Congressional intent diverges from “the usual rules of interpretation.” For good or for bad, the courts routinely ignore problematic language in statutes (and almost all have such) to defer to inferred Congressional intent — often with language that is far more problematic, and intent that is much less clear than in this case!

    In fact, Scalia himself is the leading proponent of “original intent,” where one attempts to infer what the adopters’ intended meaning was at the time, and then deems that the language means only that which they specifically foresaw and intended at the time (and can never change from that, even if the language itself suggests otherwise). So it is rather absurd — and hypocritical — for him to criticize the prioritization of intent over language, when that prioritization doesn’t suit him.

    The policy may be bad, but there’s no real debate as to the intent.

    1. Except for all the people that, at the time and for some time afterwards, explicitly stated that the language of the law was done to get states to set up their own exchanges.

      1. The architect of the law, the infamous Gruber, carefully explained on camera, why the law was written so subsidies were only for those enrolled on state exchanges . You could listen to him yourself, but of course he doesn’t exist in your world. In the words of our ever truthful cheiftain : the man with whom we exchanged more than 20,000 pages of emails, paid large sums of money to and who met with me multiple times had no influence upon this law.

      2. Except for all the people that, at the time and for some time afterwards, explicitly stated that the language of the law was done to get states to set up their own exchanges

        Not so clear. Michael Tanner originally said the opposite, that the feds could simply set up the exchanges where states refused to.

  58. The text of laws, including Obamacare, is still there no matter what the supreme court says.

    A strong opposition president (Cruz? Trump?) could use his presidential authority to order the IRS NOT to give subsidies to policyholders is states with no exchanges, as the law requires. Such a step would cause chaos, but what is to stop him?

  59. OOPS, once upon a time, I was a good typist, unfortunately no longer, so I repost, with necessary corrections. Please bear with me. Thank you.

    So Mr. Justice Roberts THINKS Obama Care is O.K. via the law, the constitution or the moons of Jupiter, and has so written. Wither goest the 8 other justices? Did none side with Justice Scalia? If so,WHY??

  60. This ruling was predictable, given Robert’s earlier, inexplicable decision on Obamacare. There must be pictures in Obama’s possession.

    1. Roberts private adoption of 2 girls likely contravened Irish law.

  61. Obama – “ACA is not a tax. You can’t call it one of the biggest tax increases in history.”

    Roberts – “It’s a tax”

    Obama – “Well I guess it’s a tax”.

  62. Hey wait a minute. This is Reason magazine. The courts don’t legislate from the bench! Can’t happen! This is a ruling with that vital nuance that makes it great, right? Sure thing.

  63. I feel honored to be around so many constitutional scholars. People who know 100% what is right and what is wrong and what the meaning of “state” is.

    Of course, the meaning of “state” as in “police state” or “nanny state” or “dept of state” or “state dinner” or “sovereign state” – that’s different.

    We really need to stuff our gubment with libertarians who know everything. This is more and more likely as the Koch bros heads might spin and they could decide to go all-on and stop fooling around and throw 40 billion into the race instead of their pocket change. This would then create a good government.

    1. The writers of the ACA didnt realize how brilliant the Koch bros and assorted libertarians are so they included a definitions section in which they defined State to mean the 50 states of the union and the district of coumbus. Tioo bad you are too ignorant to know that, but feel free to demonstrate your intellect and knowledge again.

  64. I feel honored to be around so many constitutional scholars. People who know 100% what is right and what is wrong and what the meaning of “state” is.

    Of course, the meaning of “state” as in “police state” or “nanny state” or “dept of state” or “state dinner” or “sovereign state” – that’s different.

    We really need to stuff our gubment with libertarians who know everything. This is more and more likely as the Koch bros heads might spin and they could decide to go all-on and stop fooling around and throw 40 billion into the race instead of their pocket change. This would then create a good government.

    1. The writers of the ACA didnt realize how brilliant the Koch bros and assorted libertarians are so they included a definitions section in which they defined State to mean the 50 states of the union and the district of coumbus. Too bad you are too ignorant to know that, but feel free to demonstrate your intellect and knowledge again.

  65. Coming up with a new pejorative for the ACA is kind of pointless. The beltway is what it is, regardless of whatever branch of government you heap contempt upon today. It is the forbidden city of this country, and we are under its thumb. The law is no protection.

  66. They claim to be pro-choice but support communist mandates

  67. Well, Cato’s Michael Tammer “reported” that the feds would “of course” create the exchanges for the states … until somebody told him they could raise more money by claiming the opposite.

    Healthcare reform has been so totally fucked up by libertarians and conservatives .. is ANYONE defending liberty these days?

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  69. Roberts is dumb and ill informed. The ACA was meant to debilitate our insurance and healthcare delivery system so that the only viable alternative would be single payer. He has no fucking clue as to the intent of anyone not even his own deluded opinion. What a waste of a constitution.

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  71. I want to know where all the millions of people who took an oath to protect the constitution are? What the hell to you think that oath means?

    DO YOUR FUCKIN DUTY!

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