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Scalia: ‘Words No Longer Have Meaning if an Exchange That is Not Established by a State is ‘Established by the State’

scotuscare

Did the chief justice mean what he said? 

James Taranto writes: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices,” Chief Justice John Roberts observed three years ago in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the case that is usually described—with a good deal of imprecision—as having “upheld” ObamaCare.

Did the chief justice mean what he said? Today the court delivered another ObamaCare ruling, this time entirely in the administration’s favor and by a vote of 6-3. Unlike in NFIB, the majority in King v. Burwell spoke with a single voice, Roberts’s. So did the dissenters, that of Justice Antonin Scalia.

As Scalia sums it up: “The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd.” The practical consequence is that despite the limiting language, tax subsidies will continue to flow to people who buy medical-insurance policies in the majority of states, which have not established exchanges.

ALERT-GOP

BONUS: GOP Already Fundraising on SCOTUS Defeat

The justices went further in the administration’s favor than the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose judgment they upheld. As Roberts explains (citations omitted here and in subsequent quotes): “The Fourth Circuit viewed the Act as ‘ambiguous and subject to at least two different interpretations.’ The [circuit] court therefore deferred to the IRS’s interpretation”—a doctrine known as Chevron deference.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

In a similar case called Halbig v. Burwell, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia had ruled that the statute was not ambiguous—that the provision limiting subsidies to policies purchased through “an Exchange established by the State” did in fact limit subsidies to policies purchased through “an Exchange established by the State.” As Scalia observes:

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. . . . Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Scott Walker’s Righteous Victory in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Associated Press

The Editors, National Review: We are halfway there: On Friday, the state assembly of Wisconsin voted to make the state the 25th to pass right-to-work legislation, and Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill with some satisfaction. That’s 25 down, 25 to go. (Our optimism is not so unanchored as to consider the sorry case of the District of Columbia.)

[read the full text here, at National Review]

Right-to-work laws end the practice of union bosses’ enriching their organizations through a legal variety of extortion under which all workers are required to pay the equivalent of union dues, whether they wish to be represented by a particular union or do not. The traditional position of Democrats, toward whose campaign coffers a great deal of that money is destined, is that this practice is necessary to ensure “fairness” — that workers enjoy the unions’ protection whether they want it or not. But the correct term for an arrangement like that isn’t “fairness” — it is “protection racket,” and Governor Walker’s signature will put an end to this particular brand of racketeering.

laborAge

“The face of the American union member in 2015 is not a working man in a hardhat or Rosie the Riveter, but a bored DMV clerk twiddling his thumbs on a government-mandated break while a taxpayer waits six hours to renew a driver’s license.”

A great deal of attention is being paid, and will be paid, to what this means for the presidential aspirations of Wisconsin’s governor, who confronted and trounced entrenched public-sector interests and then trounced them again when they tried to recall him. Governor Walker is an impressive man offering a welcome infusion of ordinary good governance to the Republican presidential pageant, but the political concerns here are secondary. The most important consideration is the excision of a cancer from the American economy and the American body politic.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“Unions are not a mechanism by which the rights of ordinary workers are secured; they are a mechanism by which the enormous streams of taxpayers’ dollars shunted into inefficient and criminally wasteful bureaucracies are laundered into campaign donations and political muscle for Democrats.”

The prominent American labor unions mainly are in steep decline, but, because of certain legal privileges, they punch above their weight politically and economically; they are corrupt, sometimes in the formal legal sense and often the more general moral sense; they are an appendage of the Democratic party whose remarkably well-compensated bosses ransack their members’ paychecks in order to exchange political donations for political favors; and, perhaps most important, they are today a prominent presence mainly in the public sector… Read the rest of this entry »


Inside Deal Hidden in Plain Sight: ‘Unions May Get Health Law Tax Relief’ Says Report

union-thugsIt looks like labor unions might be getting tax relief from Obamacare, according to a report from kaiserhealthnews.org.

“Weeks after denying labor’s request to give union members access to health-law subsidies, the Obama administration is signaling it intends to exempt some union plans from one of the law’s substantial taxes,” reads the report.

Buried in rules issued last week is the disclosure that the administration will propose exempting “certain self-insured, self-administered plans” from the law’s temporary reinsurance fee in 2015 and 2016. Read the rest of this entry »