Shock: Supreme Court will decide whether federal consumers are eligible for ObamaCare subsidies

posted at 1:21 pm on November 7, 2014 by Allahpundit

I’m stunned.

The Supreme Court, moving back into the deep controversy over the new health care law, agreed early Friday afternoon to decide how far the federal government can extend its program of subsidies to buyers of health insurance.

All diligent conservative blog readers know about the Halbig case by now, yes? I’ve written at least three posts about it so I won’t rehash the basics. Follow the links here if it’s new to you. It was a Category Five ObamaCare tornado in July when a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit agreed with conservatives and ruled that the text of the O-Care statute does not allow subsidies for people who bought their policies on the federal exchange, i.e. Healthcare.gov. Only if you bought your policy through an exchange created by a state are you eligible for help from Uncle Sam. That ruling is a nuclear bomb for the White House, obviously, because it would mean that the vast majority of new enrollees in O-Care would suddenly be on the hook for the full cost of their premiums. That would prove too expensive for many of those people, which would mean lots of dropped coverage and total chaos in the insurance industry. The D.C. Circuit ruling was huge, especially since the Fourth Circuit ruled the opposite way in a similar case decided the very same day as Halbig. That meant a circuit split. And the Supremes almost always take appeals where there’s a circuit split in order to resolve the dispute and set one uniform interpretation for all federal courts.

But then, six weeks later, the Halbig ruling went out the window. The full D.C. Circuit decided to rehear the case en banc, meaning that the three-judge panel’s ruling was no longer good law. Since the full court has more liberals than conservatives, it was a cinch that they’d overrule the panel and declare that federal O-Care customers were eligible for subsidies after all. Worse yet, once they did, it would mean there was no more circuit split. The conservative Supreme Court would no longer feel compelled to take the case, so they’d probably pass on it. And the Halbig line of attack on ObamaCare would be down the drain.

That’s why today’s granting of cert is a bolt from the blue. They’ve decided to trump the D.C. Circuit’s liberals by taking the case anyway, making the en banc hearing moot. ObamaCare fans are mortified:

Timothy Jost, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law and supporter of the law, told Business Insider the law is now in “very dangerous territory.”

“This is highly unusual. The Supreme Court doesn’t usually just take away cases from circuit courts where there’s no circuit split, which I think sends a signal that politics might be driving this — not legal analysis,” Jost said. “So I think that’s bad. It doesn’t look good that this could be a politically driven decision.”

The big mystery: Which four justices voted to grant cert? There’s no way to know since the Court doesn’t release that information so we have to guess. It stands to reason that it wasn’t any of the Court’s liberals: With the D.C. Circuit set to overrule the three-judge panel, why would they tempt fate by voting to give the Supremes’ five conservatives a chance to wreck ObamaCare? It had to be four justices from the conservative wing. And I agree with Benjy Sarlin: It seems highly unlikely that John Roberts, having taken withering fire from the right in finding the mandate constitutional two years ago before O-Care launched, would now turn around and nuke the law a year after implementation based on a dispute over statutory construction, with millions of people’s coverage hanging in the balance. Roberts probably wanted no part of this. So odds are it was Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy(!) who pulled the trigger, and now Roberts is in the hot seat again. Will he double down by saving ObamaCare a second time? Or will he effectively destroy the law by ruling that subsidies for federal consumers are illegal?

Wow. Stand by for a few updates.

Update: An alternate take on Roberts’s thinking:

Update: You’ll hear lots of people today say that the Supremes agreed to hear the Halbig case, but technically speaking that’s not true. It’s the Fourth Circuit’s ruling in favor of ObamaCare that they’re hearing, not the D.C. Circuit’s Halbig ruling. There’s no practical difference, though. Obviously, the Supremes aren’t going to defer to the lower court’s ruling in a case this momentous.

Update: The silver lining here for ObamaCare supporters, of course, is that this could end up being a giant sh*t sandwich for the new GOP Congress and, more importantly, America’s new Republican governors and state legislatures. If Roberts sides with conservatives and finds that the law, as written, says federal consumers aren’t eligible for subsidies then the pressure on Congress to re-write that part of that law so that they are eligible will be intense. Boehner and McConnell will dry-heave over the electoral implications of it in 2016, but they’ll resist because they know their base would revolt if they rescued O-Care by rewriting that law. So the pressure will shift to the states to quickly build their own exchanges, whose consumers are eligible for subsidies. If you’re a Republican legislator or governor facing voters angry that they lost their subsidies because of the Supreme Court, what do you do then?

Update: Yup.

Reid nuked the filibuster for lower-court nominations precisely because he wanted to get a bunch of liberals confirmed to the nation’s appellate courts, starting with the D.C. Circuit. That strategy was about to pay off when the liberal en banc court overturned the three-judge panel on Halbig. Instead, this.


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Roberts should also immediately increase security for justices Thomas, Kennedy, alito, Scalia and himself. I put nothing past these leftist zealots. A 4-4 tie will not overturn the 4th circuit.

Other reason I believe Roberts voted to grant cert: if had not wanted to get his fingers dirty, he could have allowed the DC circuit en banc decision to play out. No, he voted to grant cert becuz he is offended by the nuclear stunt, wanted to smack down the DC circuit liberals and get this resolved before more damage was done to the Republic. Otherwise Roberts could have allowed the DC circuit to reverse en banc and, since there would be no conflict between the circuits, he’d have his escape hatch to do nothing.

The worry now is Kennedy, not Roberts IMHO

matthew8787 on November 7, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Unfortunately we don’t know if Roberts voted to grant cert. All we know is at least 4 Justices did. If 5 voted to grant cert, I agree it’s over!

GinaC on November 7, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Bmore

Schadenfreude on November 7, 2014 at 6:01 PM

This post is outstanding. Sure, it’s interesting that the Supremes are taking the case. The subsidies paid in federal exchanges are not lawful, but ordering the government to stop them will create health insurance hardships surely to be blamed on the Right. Still, this is a great opportunity for the Right to craft a comprehensive overhaul to Obamacare that will provide short term federal subsidy relief, if the President vetoes it, the lost subsidies should be blamed on him.

waukee on November 7, 2014 at 6:02 PM

You know, there are several avenues here for John Roberts to correct his earlier screw up, which may be something that he’s willing to embrace. Follow me here.

1. The court already issued on that forgotten bit about the law not being able to be separated out amongst its various pieces. They had a whole day to argue that bit the first time it went to the top court, and the ruling was, if one part fell, the whole law goes with it.

2. This case hinges on a completely separate issue, being that the statute itself was written specifically to say that the Federal Government would not have permission to subsidize the exchanges. It is a statutory issue, not a Constitutional one at all.

3. The court will almost always ignore dealing with Constitutional questions if a case can be decided or solved via the statutory issues already dealt with. (See Scalia’s comments about 99.9% of the work done at the Court being Lawyer’s work.)

4. There’s not much wiggle room allowed by the statute itself. In order to come to their decision, the Fourth Circuit had to basically ignore the statute and use the time honored because we want to do it this way due to politics legal test in order to rule the way that they did.

5. This gives Roberts permission to overturn the whole law, while not reversing his puzzling ruling from a couple of years ago. My bet is that he’ll embrace that opportunity. Especially since it’s pretty clear to anyone over the age of 5 that this law is massively destructive to our society.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Of course it’s all speculative. Over at CNBC lawyers for th Cato institute believe it was a majority of justices that voted to grant cert bcuz of the enormity of the issue at hand.

I also agree with the expert above who cited the court’s history of following election returns. It’s rooted all over American history. Other classic experience was when the court first invalidated new deal reforms and then completely reversed course on the commerce clause after Roosevelt was re-elected in 1936, ultimately culminating in hammer vs daggenhart, a child labor law case, in 1941. I’m not an attorney but constitutional law is fascinating to understand the brilliance of our Framers.

matthew8787 on November 7, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Still, this is a great opportunity for the Right to craft a comprehensive overhaul to REPEAL Obamacare that will provide short term federal subsidy relief, if the President vetoes it, the lost subsidies should be blamed on him.

waukee on November 7, 2014 at 6:02 PM

The whole law sucks. REPEAL IT!

Then, let the Democrats introduce a new, better version of healthcare reform, and actually work with Republicans this time to make it a BIPARTISAN bill, rather than the single most partisan piece of major legislation ever passed by Congress!

ITguy on November 7, 2014 at 6:24 PM

The whole law sucks. REPEAL IT!

Then, let the Democrats introduce a new, better version of healthcare reform, and actually work with Republicans this time to make it a BIPARTISAN bill, rather than the single most partisan piece of major legislation ever passed by Congress!

ITguy on November 7, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I agree that the ACA needs repeal. Given the number of key / critical components that were (37,38, or 39) that were unilaterally delayed by the Administration despite what the actual legislation says, it shouldn’t be as challenging as so many Democrats are trying to spin it to repeal.

And if the SCOTUS comes to the same decision as was first reached in Halbig, where the actual wording of the law counts (only state exchanges can offer subsidies), the ACA will be as dead as if Roberts hadn’t changed his vote on the individual mandate.

But I will disagree with letting the Democrats craft a new bill. They will do little more than craft another comprehensive clusterfark, which will continue to codify more federal government power and call for more wealth redistribution / higher taxes.

I think it’s a superb chance for leadership for the GOP to step up and offer measured incremental and highly targeted steps to address the challenges in the healthcare industry. Do a few steps, evaluate their success, then adjust and move forward with the next wave of initiatives.

Remember, anytime Congress or the President talk about a ‘comprehensive’ piece of legislation – it’s codespeak for passing a complete clusterfark.

Athos on November 7, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

The only flaw I see in your argument is that (IMO) Roberts never would have ruled that way on the mandate if he were not being influenced to do so. It is a ruling completely contrary to his prior thinking and to the direction his questioning in the matter leaned. In short, I think he was blackmailed. And if he was blackmailed earlier to keep the law intact, then I have little hope that the blackmailers will leave him alone this time around.

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 6:59 PM

1. The court already issued on that forgotten bit about the law not being able to be separated out amongst its various pieces. They had a whole day to argue that bit the first time it went to the top court, and the ruling was, if one part fell, the whole law goes with it.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

You sure about that? They invalidated the Medicare portions without invalidating whole law….

ChrisL on November 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Unless those doing the blackmailing are now in much weaker position, or if the vehicle of said blackmail no longer holds.

My personal belief is that it wasn’t anything so sinister as blackmail, but rather talk about his legacy on the court and not wanting to stand out as an obstructionist judge who’s on the wrong side of history. If that’s the case, that equation has changed considerably since then. In short, I don’t see Roberts as a criminal mastermind made Supreme Court Judge, but rather a vain simpleton made Supreme Court Jester.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Regarding the blackmail issue:

I saw a bit of scuttlebutt after the mandate ruling regarding some potentially shady things Roberts did in order to adopt two kids from Ireland (just Google “Judge Roberts adoption”). These things were originally and very briefly reported back in 2005, but almost immediately deep-sixed by the media. If true, envisioning a scenario under which Roberts rules a particular way to protect his family is not difficult.

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 7:12 PM

My personal belief is that it wasn’t anything so sinister as blackmail, but rather talk about his legacy on the court and not wanting to stand out as an obstructionist judge who’s on the wrong side of history.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Before that ruling, there was literally nothing in Roberts’ history to suggest he would care about “his legacy” other than upholding the Constitution.

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 7:14 PM

ChrisL on November 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM

I’m not a lawyer, so please if any of those are around, please chime in. I don’t think those rulings mean that laws in question must fall, only that it gives the Justices permission to strike it all down if they feel it too damaged by the ruling, as in the case of the individual mandate. In this instance, without the subsidies, there’s no way this baby survives. At least not without rescue, which I hope would not be forthcoming.

I’d also like to add, Repeal only. We never needed for a single Gosh Darned thing to be done in the first place, we certainly do not need to replace this turd with a less offensive turd.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM

I’m not a lawyer, so please if any of those are around, please chime in. I don’t think those rulings mean that laws in question must fall, only that it gives the Justices permission to strike it all down if they feel it too damaged by the ruling, as in the case of the individual mandate. In this instance, without the subsidies, there’s no way this baby survives. At least not without rescue, which I hope would not be forthcoming.

I’d also like to add, Repeal only. We never needed for a single Gosh Darned thing to be done in the first place, we certainly do not need to replace this turd with a less offensive turd.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM

I’m certainly no lawyer, either, but I believe you have the right sense of it. OTOH, that has pretty much always been an option when critical portions of legislation are declared null. The fact that the Supremes reiterated it in writing was a shot across the bow of the law’s proponents: if this law comes back to the SCOTUS, we may very well take the whole thing down. Here’s hoping…

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Die a horrible death, you stinking, putrid piece of hot garbage.
And that goes double for Obamacare.

Angry Cabbage on November 7, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

.
The only flaw I see in your argument is that (IMO) Roberts never would have ruled that way on the mandate if he were not being influenced to do so. It is a ruling completely contrary to his prior thinking and to the direction his questioning in the matter leaned. In short, I think he was blackmailed. And if he was blackmailed earlier to keep the law intact, then I have little hope that the blackmailers will leave him alone this time around.

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 6:59 PM

.
No doubt.

Someday … whatever that was, will become ‘public knowledge.’

listens2glenn on November 7, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Fine, then issue short-term vouchers until we elect a Republican POTUS.

John the Libertarian on November 7, 2014 at 9:13 PM

If you’re a Republican legislator or governor facing voters angry that they lost their subsidies because of the Supreme Court, what do you do then?

You do the same thing you did the first time around, and for the same reasons.

unclesmrgol on November 7, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Regarding the blackmail issue:

I saw a bit of scuttlebutt after the mandate ruling regarding some potentially shady things Roberts did in order to adopt two kids from Ireland (just Google “Judge Roberts adoption”). These things were originally and very briefly reported back in 2005, but almost immediately deep-sixed by the media. If true, envisioning a scenario under which Roberts rules a particular way to protect his family is not difficult.

yaedon on November 7, 2014 at 7:12 PM

So the hell with everybody else?

So much for ” I regret I have but one life to give to my country “

Mr Soames on November 7, 2014 at 10:08 PM

If the mandate is a tax, why is the government paying itself (or short-changing itself) for the tax?

I think that’s the question at hand, but I’m not a legal expert.

SouthernGent on November 7, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Maybe the dam has burst, given what an obvious failure Obama’s foreign policy has been (oh yes, did anyone notice Russia just invaded Ukraine?), his utter electoral failure and now the only gem of his legacy, Obamacare, proven to be yet another liberal cluster.

If legions of democrats are now not actively plotting against Obama, that would be surprising.

virgo on November 7, 2014 at 11:21 PM

waukee on November 7, 2014 at 6:02 PM

.
The whole law sucks. REPEAL IT!

ITguy on November 7, 2014 at 6:24 PM

.
Okay … so far, so good.
.

Then, let the Democrats introduce a new, better version of healthcare reform, and actually work with Republicans this time to make it a BIPARTISAN bill, rather than the single most partisan piece of major legislation ever passed by Congress!

ITguy on November 7, 2014 at 6:24 PM

.
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This is not happening … this is not happening … this is not happening … this is not happening …

listens2glenn on November 7, 2014 at 11:45 PM

The whole law sucks. REPEAL IT!

Then, let the Democrats introduce a new, better version of healthcare reform, and actually work with Republicans this time to make it a BIPARTISAN bill, rather than the single most partisan piece of major legislation ever passed by Congress!

ITguy on November 7, 2014 at 6:24 PM

How about letting the states decide what to do?

wifarmboy on November 8, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Overwhelming the people, so we can subsidize them. What does government care, it’s other people’s money.

RdLake on November 8, 2014 at 7:46 AM

Roberts blamed the voters the last time so he could escape criticism for his ruling that it was a tax. Now that the voters have spoken loud and clear, maybe he will feel vindicated enough to rule this crock a dead crock. The founders were not thinking of providing insurance, but building roads when they wrote the common good part.

Kissmygrits on November 8, 2014 at 8:37 AM

It isabundantly clear that this is a political decision. The Supremes saw the election results and are responding to the will if the people.

I find this deeply troubling, because I think the court should be insulated from the fickle moods of the electorate.

On the other hand… Nuking Obamacare? HELL YES!!!

So I’m torn. (But I’ll get over it!)

Haiku Guy on November 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

I don’t trust Roberts and I don’t trust Scotus. They are a part of the machine. Some go in with good intentions but most then just start doing their “jobs”.

CW on November 8, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Surprising. I mean the possibility was always there, but it is not as likely for SCOTUS to take cases like this…unless there is a major reason to do so. Considering the extreme comments from liberal commentators/individuals (like Mr. Jost’s comments above…yeah, because the call to rehear the case en banc by the DC Circuit didn’t have a lick of political calculation at all, right? Keep that hypocrisy going, sir.), it seems that even they are aware of the ramifications of what could be at stake here. Obamacare is very much at risk. Then again, supporters really only have themselves to blame for these turn of events. They didn’t want input from alternative points of view. They passed the law through heavy-handed means. They changed rules whenever it suited them, including outright packing judicial bodies to suit their means. And, in all the ambiguities within the law, they decided to make the vital statute concerning subsidies as crystal clear as possible to bully the states, daring them to buck providing exchanges, and therefore “goodies” for their constituents. Well, the joke ended up being on them, they tried to obfuscate the issue by putting intents that weren’t there, and now are facing a possible rebuke from the high court as a result. They deserve all of this.

zacmidnigh on November 8, 2014 at 9:27 AM

The court already issued on that forgotten bit about the law not being able to be separated out amongst its various pieces. They had a whole day to argue that bit the first time it went to the top court, and the ruling was, if one part fell, the whole law goes with it.

Flyovercountry on November 7, 2014 at 6:04 PM

You sure about that? They invalidated the Medicare portions without invalidating whole law….

ChrisL on November 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM
__________________________________________________

Guys, The court would not be invalidating any law, simply interpreting the law as writing by the geniuses in the the congress. The fact that the plain meaning of the law results in a hot, stinking mess would be a problem for the the president and the congress, not the court. The law would survive, but likely not the Obamacare federal exchange.

chazmaz on November 8, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Since when does the judicial branch “make law”?

ultracon on November 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Yawn.

Benedict Roberts won’t let the Democrats down.

Ted the Average on November 8, 2014 at 11:43 AM

It would strengthen the Constitution if the law was enforced as written rather than fudged to reflect, “what we really should have said but didn’t”.

That is how it is supposed to work. The words need to mean what the words mean, or there really is no law. Only whim.

But we shall see, I too see no way any of them could uphold the mandate in the first place. It was pointedly not a tax. The word was not “tax”. Yet it was deemed a tax. So they violated the meaning of the exact word in that ruling already.

We shall see if they do it again.

If they do, we are not a nation of laws, but of whims.

petunia on November 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

It is abundantly clear that this is a political decision.

Haiku Guy on November 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

I’d call it a legal decision (judicial review of a highly questionable IRS rule)by a conservative SC majority, against a political backdrop (popular resistance to bureaucratic/executive overreach), and an obvious legislative remedy (amendment). Think Hobby Lobby directed to the IRS. Stripped of the emotional hand wringing, pretty run-of-the-mill SC fare.

Barnestormer on November 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Since when does the judicial branch “make law”?

ultracon on November 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Since they handed down the first ruling in our history. It is their job to interpret the words. It’s how laws work.

petunia on November 8, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Please relieve us of this troublesome law!

petunia on November 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I have to ask…does anyone really expect the Court to follow th letter of the law here….They will simply ignore the bits they do not like and make a crap ruling.

JIMV on November 8, 2014 at 12:35 PM

JIMV on November 8, 2014 at 12:35 PM

I fully expect three of the four very liberal justices to ignore the letter of the law and base their decision on their interpretation of intent. They’ve already telegraphed that they believe the law ‘evolves’ via intents and effects of society – and that the Constitution and a literal interpretation is ‘obsolete’.

I also fully expect three of the four conservative justices to take the exact opposite position, that the literal word of the law is the law…and if those who wrote / passed / signed the law wanted it to say or do something different, they should have changed it.

Breyer, Kennedy and Roberts are the question marks.

Roberts should be counted in with the other three conservative justices, but he’s already demonstrated that he’s willing to sell out his legal and intellectual honesty in order to appear as if he’s not acting in a political fashion or that his court is perceived as a political entity.

Breyer is normally a loyal liberal vote, but the literal wording of the law is right there. Is he willing to completely sell out his intellectual honesty in order to support a base political position and protect a clusterfark?

Kennedy is the normal swing, but in the wake of Hobby Lobby, I think that he will also embrace intellectual honesty or politics or ideology. The law says what it says and needs to be enforced as it is written. It’s up to Congress to correctly say what it means – and that those who voted for and passed this legislation should have read it more carefully to ensure it said what they meant.

Athos on November 8, 2014 at 4:10 PM

People still take the Taco Supreme Court seriously?

Bunch of thugs in black robes. Its a tax, its a penalty! I’m a teepee, I’m a wigwam! Relax man, you’re two tents. Depends on what the definition of is, is your honor.

“Or will he effectively destroy the law by ruling that subsidies for federal consumers are illegal?”

Well, since he ruled that the Constitution and 14th amendment doesn’t apply since its all a tax or something, why would you assume that AP?

Yet, the constitution says you can’t tax the American citizenry unequally (unless you get an amendment like the fed income tax) and the tax er penalty er obamacare mandate blatantly violates that along with the so called equality amendment in the 14th. It is black and white that socialized medicine and the taxes to fund it are only possible via amendment but hey, when has that stopped CONgress since the new deal era? This whole mess is outright slavery. It is the government saying they own your body from cradle to grave.

oryguncon on November 8, 2014 at 5:17 PM

I agree w señor in part. I feel Roberts believed the voters would dispense w obamacare in the 2012 election.

Since then roberts has been so offended by this corrupt administration on so many fronts – including the rank stacking of the DC circuit, that he wants another bite at the apple. If I am not mistaken, Roberts has led a 9-0 rebuke to this administrations lawlessness in nearly a dozen cases over the past 2 or so years.

I believe Roberts was chief of the DC circuit so you know he is seriously furious w the reid nuclear stunt employed to corrupt his legal roots.

I am not worried about Roberts on this decision to overturn the 4th circuit. I am worried about Kennedy bcuz he is reportedly so pissed at Roberts for the 2012 treachery that he may reverse course as payback.

One hopes that this is not how the supremes decide matters of this magnitude but human nature is fragile

matthew8787 on November 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM

I’d add The Lie of the Year which was a dagger into the soul of our country. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. That burns deep.

Besides, in Robert’s opinion he mentioned the importance of not misleading the public. A lie certainly does that very thing and won him re-election to boot.

MaggiePoo on November 9, 2014 at 12:07 AM

And things have not been going well for the Obama administration regarding Supreme Court rulings.

Axion on November 9, 2014 at 6:41 AM

Its all part of the plan, paving the way for single-payer Warrncare.

bernverdnardo1 on November 9, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Or perhaps Crispycare

bernverdnardo1 on November 9, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Maybe enough SCOTUS judges didn’t like the horrid idea that congress can pass a law that says not-X and then later say, Oh, sorry, we meant X cause that’s what we want now, so everybody just pretend the written law actually says X, and everybody has to go along.

The democratic party is just one big cluster-f*ck.

Chessplayer on November 9, 2014 at 9:34 PM

bernverdnardo1 on November 9, 2014 at 9:26 PM

.
Definitely “single payer.”

But you’ll have to explain the rest of that.

listens2glenn on November 9, 2014 at 9:36 PM

When liberals start to cry about politics it means they are worried.

I think the underlying issue is important, more than just for Obamacare.

Can the legislature pass laws that are so bad that the President has to make things up to keep it?

It has to be one of the worst written laws ever. And if words have meaning… it will be struck.

petunia on November 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

No bailouts for the insurance companies who are going to lose millions of dollars. Time to take the gloves off and play some hard ball on this puppy.

Amazingoly on November 10, 2014 at 3:48 PM

AP, you do realize that folks who are relying on subsidies in an obmacare exchange plan are the small minority of voters. The very large majority of voters are the ones who got their plan cancelled or premiums raised. I would venture maybe 5 million will be affected on the subsidy issue, but over 100 million are getting screwed and will be grateful if the Court strikes this down. This is a win, win for the GOP.

Ta111 on November 10, 2014 at 10:50 PM

AP, I usually find your analysis brilliant, but I couldn’t disagree more with everything you say here.

I would have been stunned had the Supreme Court not taken this case. the text of the law is clearly against the administration, and based on the bombshell Gruber clip, the intent is against the administration as well. So, regardless of your judicial philosophy (text of law trumps intent, or intent trumps text of law), the administration is in the wrong here.

Will some leftwing justices look the other way for the Obama administration? Yes, almost certainly. But, I think it’s better than 50/50 that the Obama administration loses here. Roberts got scared when four justices opined that the entire ObamaCare law is unconstitutional in the individual mandate case. This case will be inherently more narrow. Roberts has already shown himself open to chipping at ObamaCare in cases it violates the constitution or laws — coercive medicaid expansion, and religious liberty ruling on contraception.

This case is legally a clearer violation of the constitution than past ObamaCare cases. The Obama admin could be in very big trouble here.

netster007x on November 12, 2014 at 12:22 AM

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