Supreme Court Hears ObamaCare Exchange Arguments – Court Appears Split, Roberts Stays Quiet…

While the Supreme Court may be split, the media is not. Check out this ridiculous tweet sent out by NBC writer John Harwood.

NBC john harwood

ACA Author Jonathan Gruber begs to differ….

The Supremes 2012WASHINGTON DC – The Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday along ideological lines after hearing a challenge of ObamaCare tax subsidies that, if struck down, could affect up to 8 million policy holders.

The liberal justices peppered Michael Carvin, the lawyer for the health law challengers, with skeptical questions almost from the outset over his argument to limit the subsidies.

When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. — who represents the Obama administration — stepped to the lectern, the liberal justices fell silent, and Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia took over.

But Chief Justice John Roberts, who was the deciding factor in the last major ObamaCare case in 2012, said almost nothing in nearly 90 minutes of back-and-forth. And the questions posed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a key swing vote on the bench, did not make clear how he will come out. During the hearing, Kennedy posed tough questions to both sides.

The justices met Wednesday to determine whether the law makes people in all 50 states eligible for federal tax subsidies — or just those who live in states that created their own health insurance marketplaces. This question matters because roughly three dozen states opted against their own marketplace, or exchange, and instead rely on the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Healthcare.gov. If the court rules against the Obama administration, insurance subsidies for people in those states would be in jeopardy.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the law set up flexibility for states to either set up their own markets or rely on the federal Healthcare.gov. Giving subsidies only to people in some states would be “disastrous,” Ginsburg said.

Scalia later challenged Verrilli.

“It may not be the statute Congress intended, but it may be the statute Congress wrote,” Scalia said of the provision in question. The case focuses on four words in the law, “established by the state.” The challengers say those words are clear and conclusive evidence that Congress wanted to limit subsidies to those consumers who get their insurance through a marketplace, or exchange, that was established by a state. (read more)

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90 Responses to Supreme Court Hears ObamaCare Exchange Arguments – Court Appears Split, Roberts Stays Quiet…

  1. Chip Bennett says:

    …established by the state…“, “…shall not be infringed…“: why do progressives have such difficulty with four-word phrases that have plain meaning?

    And I don’t trust Roberts one bit, after he invented a new federal taxing authority out of whole cloth in order to save ObamaCare last time around.

    Liked by 8 people

    • tenndon says:

      +1,000
      That’s 1K.
      Plus I mean it to be. SCOTUS is much, much too political…And, Much, Much, Too…FUBAR…

      Liked by 1 person

    • doodahdaze says:

      See: IRS…. he was right. IMO. It is a tax matter. The whole thing is based upon tax law. It is up to the legislature to change it. Not the Court. JMO.

      Like

      • Chip Bennett says:

        See: IRS…. he was right. IMO. It is a tax matter.

        Kindly quote the clause in the constitution that enumerates the authority for the federal government to tax individuals for failure to engage in an action.

        Like

        • doodahdaze says:

          See: Earned income tax credit. See: 16th amendment.
          They did not fail to engage in an action. They elected to pay the tax rather than insure themselves. Whether or not they realized it.
          See: Entire Tax Code.

          Like

          • Chip Bennett says:

            See: Earned income tax credit. See: 16th amendment.

            The 16th amendment enumerates authority to tax income of individuals. Got anything else?

            They did not fail to engage in an action. They elected to pay the tax rather than insure themselves. Whether or not they realized it.

            Engage in commerce (purchase insurance) = no tax penalty.
            Fail to engage in commerce (don’t purchase insurance) = incur tax penalty

            Where is the failure-to-engage-in-commerce taxing authority enumerated in the constitution. It’s not the 16th amendment.

            See: Entire Tax Code.

            Non sequitur.

            Like

    • myopiafree says:

      Hi Chip – excellent comment.
      The “wording” is screwed up – at best. The Supreme Court, should just sand the entire Obama-mess BACK TO CONGRESS. Have them re-write, the bill, to say, “the IRS and Congress” will set up “exchanges”, and the STATES will be totally EXCLUDED, from that process. That way the S. C. could wash their hands of it. The CONGRESS could pass NEW Obama- 900 page mess. But wait, it is now a REPUBLICAN congress. Problem solved !!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • doodahdaze says:

        Thank You!!!!! It is the job of the “NEW CONGRESS” we elected, not the court. RIGHT ON!

        Like

      • joanfoster says:

        The Republicans are scared to death of having an option to repeal. One must always remember in these political arguments we bounce about here is that Republicans are afraid of their own shadow. They do not want to be the first horse out of the gate for fear of actually winning and having to come up with workable solutions to our nation’s problems. Republicans are as much the problem as Dems and Obama himself.

        Like

        • myopiafree says:

          If the Supreme Court sends it back to Congress, it is not “repeal”. It will necessarily become a “New Bill”. I have no problem with the need for reform, by BOTH PARTIES. I have a problem with FORCING a person to buy something he does not want – and can not truly afford. It is this “Tax – gun to the head” that I object strongly to.” Remove that force, and write a better bill. Using a “tax code” to bludgeon us into submission, is not how you have liberty in this country. FIND A BETTER WAY.

          Like

        • Roy says:

          The Republicans are scared to death of their curtain being yanked aside to expose their support of Obama through slight-of-hand. We are witnessing an almost complete government takeover of all three branches.

          Like

    • tappin52 says:

      Not only do they have trouble with four-word phrases, they have trouble with three-letter words, like j-o-b-s.

      Like

    • o says:

      Roberts wants the Court to be all about him rather than the constitution. Or he has quite an interesting FBI file,.

      Like

  2. doodahdaze says:

    Allow me to express my opinion. If I was on the court I would vote to uphold Obamacare. It was clearly the scheme the democrats intended to subsidize everyone. The new Congress could easily change the game plan. No Congress is bound by what the last Congress does. The Court should not have to. The people can get rid of it by voting out the crooks. IMO government wins the day. Rightfully so. I hope the court slaps em all upside the head.

    Like

  3. waltherppk says:

    Obamacare should come with a surgeon general’s warning.
    Caution! Use of the ACA could be hazardous to your health.

    Like

    • waltherppk says:

      (And lethal to your wallet)

      Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      The democrats tried to put a carrot and a stick in to their law. Due to the ridiculous process to pass it a minor error occurred in the language of the statute. Now all the hopes of the conservatives have to ride on this!!?? I don’t think that is right on or the intent of the Founders myself. The people have spoken at the ballot box twice. But the people they elect do not stand and deliver. I think this is why the court reached down and grabbed this case. To send a message to the people and the legislature. JMO.

      Like

      • TheLastDemocrat says:

        Maybe. I believe the subsidy issue was included to persuade states to set up their own exchanges. I believe the architects meant the subsidy to just be for states setting their own exchange.

        But I also believe they counted on some wiggle room – they just did not write it in.

        I believe that the architects simply did not believe these four little words would come back to get them.

        They have been flying on a wing and a prayer, and it has been working. They have just been grabbing for the moon while it is in reach.

        —A strong argument is the argument about upsetting a great deal – healthcare coverage, policy, economics. There are precendents for ways around that, however.

        Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      Exactly why the GOP will not repeal it. It has taken the democrat health care argument away. Now health care is the democrats tar baby.

      Like

  4. doodahdaze says:

    But whatever the wisdom or folly of §1519, this Court does not get to rewrite the law. “Resolution of the pros and cons of whether a statute should sweep broadly or narrowly is for Congress.” Rodgers, 466 U. S., at 484. If judges disagree with Congress’s choice, we are perfectly entitled to say so—in lectures, in law review articles, and even in dicta. But we are not entitled to replace the stat- ute Congress enacted with an alternative of our own design.
    I respectfully dissent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. doodahdaze says:

    Having used traditional tools of statutory interpretation to examine markers of congressional intent within the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and §1519 itself, we are persuaded that an aggressive interpretation of “tangible object” must be rejected. It is highly improbable that Congress would have buried a general spoliation statute covering objects ofany and every kind in a provision targeting fraud in finan- cial record-keeping.

    Like

  6. doodahdaze says:

    Yates does not contest his conviction for violating §2232(a), but he maintains that fish are not trapped within the term “tangible object,” as that term is used in §1519.

    Like

  7. Coast says:

    Honestly, I think one of the strongest arguments to indicate that Congress didn’t have a clue as to what “meaning or intent” was in the law is the statement from Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself. She said “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it”. Well, then that clearly indicates that no one read the bill, didn’t know what was or wasn’t in the bill, and thus could never have intended anything specific except for the actual language of the bill. In addition, it also clearly shows that the Democrats considered the language of the bill to be “law” once they passed it, which is exactly what they did. As a result, the language is what it is, and thus there could not be any implicit intentions whatsoever.

    Liked by 5 people

    • doodahdaze says:

      Nobody read the bill. They just voted on it. The court is not the place to legislate a statute. All they do is decide if it is or is not constitutional. The new congress is responsible for the disaster. That old congress is just history and this one is not bound by a thing they did. Even Obamacare.

      Like

    • TheLastDemocrat says:

      Coast – sadly, that was not presented in the arguments today.

      Like

    • Roy says:

      “clearly shows that the Democrats considered the language of the bill to be “law” once they passed it”

      Sacrosanct law for whom? BO ignored the “law” how many times with his seat-of-the-pants extensions?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Coast says:

    The Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday along ideological lines….

    And what a shame that is, since their job is not to be ideological but to be just and defend the Constitution. Any judge (and that’s probably most of them) that already has a strong bias is not fit to be on the bench of the Supreme Court.

    Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      Media pap. The court is going to slap em all.

      Like

    • joanfoster says:

      You are so right, Coast. This is why term limits on the Supremes should be the goal of every American. We have some of these Justices (Ginsburg) actually falling asleep during oral arguments – Really??? It’s time for some of them to say good bye.

      Like

      • Crystal says:

        Yes, thank you! Term limits of 7 to 10 years. And if they perjure themselves under oath during the confirmation process (such as the last one to be confirmed did), that person should be removed from the bench.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. beaujest says:

    We would be better off with Diana Ross and “The Supremes” wearing the robes !

    Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      This is wrongheaded IMO. No offense. The law and the Constitution is all we have left. The legislative and executive are no longer responsive to the will of the people. The Judicial still has rules that go back 200 years and must be followed. This is just my opinion after studying the law and jurisprudence after getting interested during the GZ miscarriage of justice and landing on a branch around here. (One of the best things I ever did). Now I feel kike I am on a branch of another tree and Boner and McConnell are sitting on it closer to the tree. With a saw!! Sawing away.

      Like

      • RJ says:

        Well, now I know who has been on that branch with me…welcome aboard, get ready for your flight, buckle up and pass me the Gideon Bible when you’re finished…if time permits!

        Like

  10. LRay says:

    Combining two stories with this but…

    Its kind of ironic that progressive apologists are arguing about King v Burwell that the intent of the law doesn’t match four specific words, therefore the intent of the law should be the accepted interpretation.

    On the other hand, with Hillary, her apologists argue that although the intent of the federal records act is that all official communications are secured and archived but there was no specific language covering electronic communications when she was Sec State.

    Call me cynical.

    Like

  11. crazy says:

    Kennedy’s comment that if read as written then there’s a constitutional problem was the best. Well, duhhhh. This case is such a no-brainer it’ll be interesting to see the pains to which the big brains will have to go to keep the ACA intact.

    Like

  12. doodahdaze says:

    Sept. 17th 1787……this was the date the US Constitution was adopted. 228 years ago. By 13 States. Now 228 years later we have 50….not 57…states. I am 67 years old. I was born only 160 years after the Constitution was born. 228 years is not that long in the timeline of humanity. Just a smidgen. I just wonder what will happen from here. I think about it. I watch. I wonder. The revolution lives. It is ongoing thanks to the constitution. We shall see. Godspeed America!

    Liked by 2 people

    • bitterlyclinging says:

      Barack Obama was the man the framers were terrified of and did everything they could to protect against, youngster.
      What they didn’t foresee was an electorate, the depth and breadth of quality of which is regularly on display, once or twice a week on the ‘Watters World’ segment of the O’Reilly Factor. Definitely no way of ever foreseeing a citizenry that would have gone orgasmic had Obama climbed into a milk and fruitloop filled bathtub with Glozelle Green.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jeffrey says:

        Takes a survivor to call a 67 years old “youngster”! May I ask your age venerable bitterlyclinging? Excellent synopsis you make. Weak, spoiled, fortunate imbeciles that now seem to have us outnumbered and outranked.

        Liked by 1 person

      • doodahdaze says:

        I think they did. There are remedies in the constitution. They just have not been used yet. Failure of the people to remedy the problem under the constitution is not the fault of the framers of it. It is the fault of the people.

        Liked by 2 people

      • doodahdaze says:

        IOW the Constitution is innocent. Not just not guilty, but completely and undeniably innocent.

        Like

  13. texasranchqueen says:

    Ruth Badass Buzzy looks less than 100% sober and about to fall out of her occupied chair!

    Like

  14. Rachelle says:

    Now we will see if this is really a Supreme Court and separate branch of government or just a bunch of hearing examiners working in yet another dreary administrative bureau.

    Like

  15. Dixie Darling says:

    THE SIMPLE BOTTOM LINE IS: The Democrats should have read the damn bill before they rammed it through congress.

    Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      Nobody read the bill. They voted like the Lemmings they are. The Obammmunnnnist lawyers know what they are doing. The GOP lawyers are a joke. The Obammunists make winning arguments. The GOP ones have no clue.The Obammmunnnists do not make emotional arguments. Only the Obammmunnist politicians and media make the emotional argument. The democrat lawyers make the legal arguments the GOP does not rebut. We are losing the legal battle due to incompetent GOP legal help.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dixie Darling says:

        It’s too bad the Obammmmnist lawyers are better the the GOP lawyers, but if it had been done right in the first place, we wouldn’t need any of those lawyers. This is the fault of the democrats for not giving anybody a chance to read that monstrosity of a bill.

        Like

  16. Murse says:

    Justice Scalia trashes how the Obamacare law was written.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/justice-scalia-trashes-obamacare-law-212316860.html

    Like

  17. thesouthwasrght says:

    Funny thing is that all this wrangling back and forth won’t matter a smidgen because the fact is that these fools running the show have created a beast so unsustainable as to engender it’s own demise. Kinda like a star imploding and forming a black hole.

    Like

  18. RJ says:

    The really easy part will be taking aim, for me it will be a “center mass” focus. Lawyers hate guns for the most part. They thrive and masturbate with words, even in public! When the game gets real and blood starts to run…they will lead the pack out of Dodge!

    People like me will be waiting, out there in the fields, crouched low, breathing slowly…setting up our shots. History tells us it is the Patriot who will stand and fight…to the death.

    I’ve played this game before, it’s scary to be sure. I don’t want to play this again, never have.

    When push comes to shove…we’re getting closer to that moment. Even Bibi stated as much, didn’t he?

    Don’t you just love denial?

    Like

  19. bitterlyclinging says:

    The lawyers at powerlineblog seem to feel the left will have its way in King Vs Burwell, in spite of how the law reads, in spite of the Constitution.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/03/triumph-of-the-leftist-will.php

    Like

  20. angie says:

    Can the Supremes kick it back to Congress? If they do, as much as I hate entitlements, maybe allow the truly poor who can’t work and the elderly to get free care. Then, add a “no pre existing clause” so people cannot be denied insurance.
    In Louisiana, the poor get charity care. That was one reason I was so against Obamacare. Let the states handle it in their own way.
    While I’m intelligent in some ways, I’m “thick as a plank” in others, what options would you guys like to see? I think we needed changes but not Obamacare.

    Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      All in all I doubt it matters much what the ruling is. The GOP will be crazy trying to keep the funding going.

      Like

    • Les says:

      States’ Rights. Let states decide how much they can afford to give to care for people. If you disagree, you can move to another state. Let there be red states and blue states, just don’t try to force the red states to pay for the blue states. Same with education initiatives handed down by out-of-touch-extremist Feds that cost state monies but are useless, and usually harmful.

      The Feds eff stuff up because they are trying to spend state monies. They can’t even spend Fed monies responsibly.

      Like

  21. james121515@gmail.com says:

    I am experiencing some serious cognitive dissonance over this entire thing. It’s really easy to be against something until it actually affects you directly. In theory, I am against Obamacare, but practically, I really hope the court upholds the federal exchange subsidies, because losing the subsidies means I will likely lose my health insurance. I wasn’t able to get ANY health insurance before Obamacare because I had cancer 25 years ago at the age of 5, despite being in perfect health today. Keep in mind I wasn’t even turned down because of a “pre-existing” condition, but rather a “once existing but long ago cured years ago condition”. But still no insurance company would write me a policy until Obamacare. Not only that, but I really like my policy, which is a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plan.

    Like

  22. Chewbarkah says:

    John Harwood’s tweet, posted by Sundance, encapsulates one of the main pro-ACA defenses: “Chances that the ACA authors intended it to work the way challengers say it must work are exactly zero.” This premise is false, and sets up a man of straw via a half-truth.

    1) The challengers have no burden to show that ACA subsidy provisions are rational or the whole system workable. The plaintiff also has no burden to divine the anonymous and sundry authors’ true intentions; the complaint involves the reality of what has transpired.
    2) Based on the text of the ACA, it is self-evident that the authors desired that States set up State Insurance exchanges. State exchanges are exactly how the authors “intended it to work”. Do the plaintiffs dispute that? No.
    3) The ACA as written depended upon independent action by State governments to set up State Insurance exchanges.
    4) The ACA authors knew the federal government could not FORCE States to set up State exchanges. That is why they wrote the legislation to create financial incentives (in the form of premium subsidies among other things) to generate political pressure at the State level for creation of State exchanges.
    5) But elected officials in a majority of States declined to form State exchanges. Because of those legal, political actions at the State level, the subsidy system is unworkable and unconstitutional. The ACA authors knew they were subject to State decisions in a federal system. Their political calculations didn’t work out. They could have written the legislation differently, but they didn’t.

    We can only hope that 5 Justices are aware that federalism is part of our Constitutional order, and comprehend the role of States in overall checks and balances. The authors of ACA gambled, presumed, and failed. The plaintiff’s case does not require that the authors expected ACA to work without State exchanges. ACA’s subsidy scheme fails because the US government could not dictate the actions of State governments. If ACA proponents don’t like the result, their remedy is the ballot box.

    Like

  23. PatriotUSA says:

    The sheer liberal hypocrisy of two of the Supremes, Kagan and Sotamayor can be found in these comments from yesterday. Kagan at least has shown some competence in her past but I generally do not care for her. Sotamayor is TOTALLY and has been TOTALLY unworthy of serving on this court. She was appointed only because of her minority and gender. I have been doing a massive amount of reading and these comments from the liberal side of the justices stood out to me.

    From Kagan: “We don’t look at four words,” Justice Elena Kagan said. “We look at the whole text, the particular context, the more general context, try to make everything harmonious with everything else.”

    A snippet more from Kagan: “That’s not the clarity with which we require the government to speak when it’s upsetting federal-state relations like this,”

    So the feds can muddy up the waters to obfuscate rather than pay attention to the actual words, those four words that may tank the ACA as it should be tanked. Just MHO.

    Overlooking what is in the law and how it is worded. Try to make everything harmonious with everything else. So why not toss in rainbows, unicorns and freebies for all? Oh wait, the liberals did that by ramming through the ACA the way they did. Is this not progressive group speak at it’s worst? Piss on most all of it for the greater bill of goods is better for the collective. Gawd, just kill me now, please and all I ask is for a fine bottle of whiskey, some Real Cuban ceegars, me Model 97 Winchester riot model 12 gauge and me Colt Detective Special 38 to at me side.

    Now from the real free thinking genius Sotamayor who should be running a taco cart someplace in East L.A.: “We’re going to have the death spiral that this system was enacted to avoid,”

    More liberal parseltongue, this is better than nothing and it is a start, so feel good AmeriKKKA. Pay no attention to those chains as they slither up your body and begin to encircle your neck.

    So better to enslave the American citizens through the ACA, the IRS, penalties, being forced to buy something we may NOT need or want or be fined by the IRS. Is this not a worse death spiral in both the short and then long term than striking parts or all of the ACA down and doing better. Oh yeah, maybe start by READING any proposed legislation first and making such reading MANDATORY of our ‘elected’ politicians. Maybe said elected politicians canny read in the first place which would make even more convoluted sense of why this mess exists in the first place not to mention the fact that since Woodrow Wilson this country has been tilted downhill in so many ways.

    I think they will let the ACA stand as it is rather than gut this portion of this terrible legislation or better yet, scrap the entire thing and start over. I hope I am wrong.

    Like

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