Schadenfreude over the rage and tears of Obamacare opponents

So the reviews are coming in from the right wing nutcases following today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the subsidies provided by the federal exchanges in those states that did not set up state exchanges. They were predicted to be over the top and they did not disappoint, essentially claiming that democracy is dead and the system of government envisioned by the country’s founders has been replaced by a tyrannical president supported by judicial activist Supreme Court.

Yes, the fact that the legislature passed a law, the executive implemented it, and the Supreme Court ruled on a challenge to it is seen as a breakdown of the system of constitutional government

Some are suggesting that chief justice Roberts is being blackmailed or that he has sold out to the Washington elites. You can read some of the other wild reactions from the usual suspects here and here.

For more sober and informed analysis of the opinion, you can read Amy Howe and Lyle Denniston. Denniston points out that the legal guerrilla warfare waged against Obamacare continues with other challenges to the law being fought in the lower courts. But Timothy Jost argues that today’s ruling might have the effect of making the lower court judges dismiss those challenges since the main features of the law have been upheld. It seems unlikely that the Supreme Court will hear yet another case on Obamacare and instead will leave it up to Congress and the president to make any changes to the law.

Justice Scalia issued another withering dissent but as Tierney Sneed points out, his tendency to make sweeping statements in his dissents sometimes comes back to bite him in later cases. Roberts used his words in the previous Obama care against him this time, while many lower courts used his dissent in the Windsor case to strike down bans on same-sex marriages.


  1. thebookofdave says

    Scalia departed for La-La Land long ago. The ruling on this case could have followed the ideological biases of the justices, or the court could have issued an arbitrary ruling. Instead, they based their decision on the statutory framework of the law itself, and used language that fit the broader context of the legislation: their best guess of the original intent of the bill’s authors. This is just about the opposite of judicial activism, and one more example that Scalia uses the term for political convenience, instead of applying any coherent standard

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