Thursday, June 25, 2015

Roberts Rule of Disorder: The Supreme Court Decides the Obamacare Subsidies Case

In King v Burwell, the Obamacare subsidies case whose decision was released today, John Roberts and five other Supreme Court justices now say that the law is not the clear and plain meaning of its text but rather is whatever the Supreme Court says it is in order to accomplish its political goal at the moment.  Everyone now truly knows that the law was written precisely as intended, to induce states to set up their own Obamacare exchanges via a big financial carrot – federal subsidies for its poorer citizens available only through a state-established exchange, not one run by the federal government.  The Obamacare law’s drafters and the Democrats who voted for it did not foresee that some states would refuse to establish exchanges.  Thus to now uphold the law as clearly written and intended would cripple the law, and so Roberts and five other justices introduce a new concept – the Roberts Rule of Disorder:  if parts of a law will cripple that law if interpreted as clearly and purposefully written, then we as Supreme Court justices can simply rewrite the law to strike out those clearly-written and clearly-intended troublesome words if that allows us to accomplish a political goal we support.

Quin Hillyer writes (link):  "With today’s Obamacare decision, John Roberts confirms that he has completely jettisoned all pretense of textualism.  He is a results-oriented judge, period, ruling on big cases based on what he thinks the policy result should be or what the political stakes are for the court itself.  He is a disgrace. That is all."

R. Balsamo

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