Watch this. It's incredible.
Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding subsidies on the Affordable Care Act’s federal exchange is a big gift to Republicans. Though he was ruling against the expressed desire of every Republican presidential candidate — that the subsidies should be eliminated even if that meant the nation’s healthcare system would enter a death spiral — the chief justice greatly simplified the lives of Republican politicians.
In the process, he made a powerful argument for deference to the legislature and the critical need to consider the goals of Congress and real-world consequences when interpreting statutes. By mustering five votes in support of his position, Roberts made a bitter loser of Justice Antonin Scalia and his rigid textualist approach to statutory interpretation.
I never believed this would happen in my lifetime when I wrote my first several TNR essays and then my book, Virtually Normal, and then the anthology and the hundreds and hundreds of talks and lectures and talk-shows and call-ins and blog-posts and articles in the 1990s and 2000s. I thought the book, at least, would be something I would have to leave behind me – secure in the knowledge that its arguments were, in fact, logically irrefutable, and would endure past my own death, at least somewhere. I never for a millisecond thought I would live to be married myself. Or that it would be possible for everyone, everyone in America.
But it has come to pass. All of it. In one fell, final swoop.
This was the best week of Obama’s presidency
More politics and policy below the fold.
Michael F. Cannon:
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in King v. Burwell. King and three similar lawsuits challenged President Obama’s attempt to expand the Affordable Care Act unilaterally by taxing 70 million Americans whom Congress explicitly prohibited him from taxing. Along with Jonathan Adler, I helped lay the foundation for these challenges. I even helped recruit plaintiffs for King and one of the other cases. As I explain in my contribution to this SCOTUSblog symposium on the ruling, I was heavily invested in this case. I’ll go further: I don’t think there is anyone who was as heavily invested in this issue and this case as I have been for the past four years. And I am extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to rewrite the law in a manner that taxes 70 million Americans without congressional authorization.
So what might you might not expect from a guy like that?
Well, today the Supreme Court issued a ruling I do like.
Here Are The Best (Worst) Lines From Antonin Scalia's Raging SCOTUScare Dissent
"Today's interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of," he wrote. That is, strictly speaking, true, since this was a new case.
"We should start calling this law SCOTUScare."
"This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious -- so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it," Scalia wrote, again accurately, though not in the way he meant.
"The Court's next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery..."
"Pure applesauce," he insisted. "Imagine that a university sends around a bulletin reminding every professor to take the 'interests of graduate students' into account when setting office hours, but that some professors teach only undergraduates. Would anybody reason that the bulletin implicitly presupposes that every professor has 'graduate students,' so that 'graduate students' must really mean 'graduate or undergraduate students'? Surely not.'"
Watch These Two GOP Presidential Candidates After the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision
If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage should be legal in every state, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich will have to decide whether to implement or delay the decision.
God may reign, but He (or She) doesn’t legislate. The gritty business of passing laws is left to the people’s representatives, who answer, in the first instance, to their constituents, and defer, at least in theory, to the Constitution. The record of politicians who claim, in anything more than a general way, to be doing God’s will is dubious. Too often, assertions of divine guidance spoken in state capitols (as well as in the Capitol) have turned out to be little more than bigotry dressed in clerical garb. This is why, at least in theory, we have a Supreme Court. In their best moments, the Justices apply the careful scrutiny demanded by the Fourteenth Amendment—for equal protection of the laws—against any government official’s clairvoyance about God’s intent. That is what happened in 1967, when the Supreme Court finally heard Loving v. Virginia and ruled that all anti-miscegenation statutes must fall.
And that is what the Court did on Friday, in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that is, in every sense except ease of pronunciation, the modern analogue to the Loving case. In the current opinion, the Justices ruled five-to-four that states may no longer bar same-sex marriage, just as in Loving they said that states could no longer forbid interracial marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion features a good deal of the fulsome rhetoric for which he is known, but it also contains a core of decency that leads to the resolution. Ultimately, though, the case is pretty simple.
Justice Kennedy Cements His Legacy On Gay Rights With Marriage Ruling
In Friday’s decision striking down bans on same-sex couples’ marriages, Kennedy summed up his legal legacy for gay people: “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”