Judge Andrew Napolitano believes Chief Justice John Roberts, in his majority opinion in King v. Burwell engaged in “bizarre and odd contortions” to reach its decision.
“My immediate reaction is that the chief justice has yet again resorted to a nearly unheard of construction in order to save the statute,” Fox News’ senior judicial analyst told Bill Hemmer.
He noted that Roberts has now saved the law twice, first ruling in favor of its constitutionality and now in re-interpreting the plain language of the statute. “Last time around when the government said it was not a tax and the challengers said it was not a tax, the chief justice ruled it was a tax and that saved it,” the judge said.
“This time around he took the plain meaning of ordinary words, ‘established by the states,’ and somehow held that they were ambiguous, and that he could — and that that the majority could — correct the ambiguity according to what they thought the drafters meant.”
“The court is now in the business of saving a statute in order to save its reputation,” Napolitano said, sharing the view Justice Antonin Scalia put forward in his dissent.
Napolitano found Scalia’s dissent–joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas–to be “as compelling and stinging as any dissent as I have seen.”
Scalia writes of the majority’s opinion: “Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of.”
“The Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers,” he posits.
Roberts, who was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer, ruled in favor of the subsidies being available to those who purchase insurance through the federal health exchange. In his opinion, the chief justice relied heavily on the overall intent of the law and the negative impact ruling against the subsidies would have.
Scalia, in turn, relied on the plain meaning of the words “established by the State” regarding Congress’ apparent plan to get the states to participate in the Affordable Care Act.
Roberts concludes: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.”
Scalia instead finds the majority engaged in “somersaults of statutory interpretation” to save the law. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”
“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” he adds.
“Rather than rewriting the law under the pretense of interpreting it, the Court should have left it to Congress to decide what to do about the Act’s limitation of tax credits to state Exchanges,” Scalia argues.
Going forward, the originalist jurist believes these cases “will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”
h/t: The Blaze
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth