Some are surprised that Chief Justice John Roberts came out so strongly for the government in King v. Burwell, the lawsuit that aimed to bar insurance subsidies from Obamacare exchanges run by the federal government.
I’m not a lawyer or Supreme Court scholar but to me Roberts’ stance isn’t surprising at all. King v. Burwell was a joke –an exemplar of the type of “frivolous lawsuit” some on the right are so fond of citing. Roberts wants the Court to be taken seriously both now and in retrospect, so this was an easy decision.
Let’s face it:
- Congress’s intent was clear –to provide subsidies regardless of the mechanism a state chose to implement its exchange
- There was no discussion by anyone at the time of drafting about any difference in subsidization on state v. federal exchanges
- Every state –including those led by Obamacare foes, interpreted the law the way Congress intended
- The legal argument was the result of opponents sifting through the minutiae of the law to find any argument that might be used against it
- The plaintiffs –if they even understand the argument– have not been harmed by the law
Frankly, it’s hard to take the consenting Justices seriously.
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