Linda Greenhouse on King v. Burwell, the Obamacare wrecking ball case now before the U.S.Supreme Court. - gwc
Overturning Obamacare Would Change the Nature of the Supreme Court - NYTimes.com
by Linda Greenhouse
***To accept the challengers’ narrative, the government’s brief asserts, “the court would have to accept that Congress adopted that scheme not in a provision giving states clear notice of the consequences of their choice, but instead by hiding it in isolated phrases.” The court should interpret the statute “to avoid the disrespect for state sovereignty” inherent in that unlikely account.
Among the two dozen other “friend of the court” briefs filed on the government’s behalf is one from a group of small business owners (significant because the earlier case against the Affordable Care Act was brought by a small-business federation) and several from the health care industry. The Catholic Health Association, representing 600 Catholic hospitals, along with Catholic Charities, filed a brief explaining the significance of the Affordable Care Act for health care providers that serve, as the Catholic hospitals do, a high proportion of low-income patients.
So will the Affordable Care Act survive its second encounter with the Roberts court? I said earlier that this case is as profound in its implications as the earlier constitutional one. The fate of the statute hung in the balance then and hangs in the balance today, but I mean more than that. This time, so does the honor of the Supreme Court. To reject the government’s defense of the law, the justices would have to suspend their own settled approach to statutory interpretation as well as their often-stated view of how Congress should act toward the states.
I have no doubt that the justices who cast the necessary votes to add King v. Burwell to the court’s docket were happy to help themselves to a second chance to do what they couldn’t quite pull off three years ago. To those justices, I offer the same advice I give my despairing friends: Read the briefs. If you do, and you proceed to destroy the Affordable Care Act nonetheless, you will have a great deal of explaining to do — not to me, but to history.
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