Arguments are ongoing at the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, the third Obamacare (Affordable Care Act to precise historians) case to reach that august body.
Add to that some 56 attempts to repeal the thing by elected officials who oughta know better. And because they don’t, I will helpfully post this.
A tinge more disquieting is this Wall Street Journal interview with Michael Carvin, one of the lawyers arguing against the Afford Care Act (h/t to Jezebel):
Wednesday’s argument involves “a statute that was written three years ago, not by dead white men but by living white women and minorities,” Mr. Carvin said. “It hasn’t had time to ‘grow’ or ‘evolve,'” he adds, mocking terms liberals have invoked for constitutional doctrines that conservatives deride as unsupported by the 18th century text.
He cites an unlikely inspiration for his fight: Atticus Finch, who in “To Kill a Mockingbird” defends a black man charged with raping a white woman in small-town Alabama’s racist justice system.
Uh…golly. From this living white woman, I can only say: Bite me, Michael Carvin.
At question in the case is whether the IRS can issue tax credits in health exchanges established by the federal government. If you want more discussion in easy-to-understand language, go here. You can follow a live-blog on the proceedings here.
And thanks, Leftover, for the links.
KHN links to media coverage of the oral arguments are here.
It always kinda scares me a little when Roberts doesn’t have much to say.
Argument analysis from Lyle Denniston…my Go To Guy at SCOTUSBlog…is here.
Of particular interest in his report is that a majority of Justices…including Kennedy, Scalia and Alito…showed concern about the potential “dire consequences” a ruling in favor of King could produce. Also, the government argued that there’s precedent for a fix to to any ambiguity that might exist pertaining to the function of the federal exchange as set out in the law that might result in “dire consequences”: simply delay the ruling for a short period of time to give Congress time to remedy any error. They’ve done it before.
Congress in the abstract has corrected legislative language problems before. This Congress couldn’t legislate its way out of a paper bag. Maybe the next Congress….
Your mouth to God’s ears.
As Denniston reports, Congress has indeed acted, given the opportunity by SCOTUS, to repair language in legislation that created constitutional issues. And they did it within 3 months. Waiting for the next Congress would produce the “dire consequences” the Justices are concerned about.
Legislators in Congresss…including some Republicans…have expressed a willingness to act to avoid such “dire consequences.” Let’s hope it’s not necessary…but it remains a possibility. Especially if the current Congress desires to raise its favorability rating above cockroaches and colonoscopies.
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