First, let’s remember that in other courts, this case might never have even made it to the Supreme Court in the first place. It began as an enterprising attempt by an obscure conservative policy wonk to poke holes in Obamacare, and the phrase at issue was recently revealed to be a drafting error, cut and pasted from an earlier version.
So, while some may see the Chief Justice’s legacy as twice saving Obamacare, one could just as easily see it as twice saving the Supreme Court.
Second, and more interestingly, the King v. Burwell opinion is what real judicial conservatism—as opposed to ideological, political conservatism—looks like.
This case was not, let’s remember, a referendum on Obamacare’s merits. It was about a quirk in the literal text of the law. Could people receive tax subsidies if they bought their insurance only on a state-run exchange, or could they qualify if they bought their insurance on a federal exchange, as well?