‘Puter, unlike many Twitteratti, read the entire King v. Burwell opinion (and Scalia’s most entertaining dissent) today. ‘Puter will spare you his detailed, legalistic opinion of the decision.
Here’s what you need to know.
- The majority opinion* did serious damage to rule of law. It ignored relevant precedent, misapplied other precedent, denied words’ plain meaning, and contorted logic to reach its predetermined end: upholding ObamaCare’s subsidies.
- The majority unconstitutionally usurped legislative powers to reach its preferred policy result.
- The majority did irreparable damage to the Court’s reputation for being neutral arbiters of law.
- Justice Scalia is a total badass.**
In holding the unambiguous phrase “established by the State” to be ambiguous, the majority informed America the law is what at least five unelected judges say it is, regardless of what the statute actually says. In short, rule of law is for suckers.
Chief Justice Roberts, in his zeal to protect the Court’s reputation, succeeded in accomplishing the opposite. Roberts sacrificed the bulwark of rule of law in service to the ephemeral wishes of man. The majority believed, correctly, if it held “established by the State” to be clear, Congress would not “fix” the issue. The majority knowingly chose to jettison law to reach a desired policy result. History will not look favorably on the Chief Justice Roberts and his majority.
The majority opinion simply beggars belief. It is a bald-faced ex post facto justification of the Court’s unconstitutional rewriting of a piece of legislation to suit its desired outcome.
That said, here’s a little food for thought from your contrarian ‘Puter.
‘Puter, unlike most conservatives, believes there may be a more favorable interpretation of Roberts’ vote in King v. Burwell. Roberts may have voted with the majority in order to prevent either Kennedy or Ginsburg (the next most senior Justices in the majority) from writing the opinion. The most senior Justice in the majority decides who writes the majority decision. The same is true in dissent.
While Roberts’ opinion was bad – very bad – it is likely far less damaging to the rule of law than anything Kennedy or Ginsburg would’ve written.
Ginsburg may well have written an opinion based in the Left’s pulled-it-out-of-my-butt “penumbra” jurisprudence, using the opportunity to expand Roe v. Wade and uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Kennedy would’ve come up with a meaningless 73 part balancing test, full of sound and fury, told by an idiot, signifying nothing.
The only good thing ‘Puter can say about the majority opinion is this: someday it will be used by conservatives to rewrite the plain language of a law liberals love in contravention of Congress’ actual words.
* Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan.
** Read Scalia’s dissent. You know you want to. It’s worth your time, I promise.