The Court? How Many Divisions Does It Have?

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about to become law, Nancy Pelosi famously scoffed at its critics, many of whom had said the proposed legislation was an incomprehensible dog’s breakfast of a bill, far too complicated for anyone in Congress to understand. “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” she said.

Hours ago, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined what isn’t in it: permission for the IRS to provide tax subsidies for insurance purchased on Federal healthcare exchanges.

The reasoning behind this decision was simple enough: the law explicitly enumerates the criteria under which such subsidies may be granted, and health plans purchased on Federal exchanges do not qualify. You can see this for yourself here.

With this ruling, the Court defended a quaint idea, a charming relic of a bygone era: that a law means what it says it means. The Obama administration, however, is having none of it: according to the New York Times, “the White House rejected the court’s ruling”. The administration has, apparently, no intention of complying until higher courts have had their say.

Well! I’d have thought that whether they must obey the ruling while on appeal was for the courts to decide, not the defendant, but I guess I’m just a charming relic of a bygone era myself. These guys just do whatever they want. After all, who’s going to stop them?

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  1. JK says

    I’m just a charming relic of a bygone era myself. These guys just do whatever they want. After all, who’s going to stop them?

    Sort of off-topic as it happens but then you are, more or less saying, Gubmint has “a habit” of turning an inch into a mile? Then, some Court gets into the Act making Legislative “intent” … oh, more interesting I suppose?

    Over on D&N earlier I made some offhanded remark/comment that America’s South was “(somewhat) less schizophrenic than New England” then it was brought to my attention Texas’ law enforcement had quietly begun requiring all Texans applying and renewing driver’s licenses to be fingerprinted and, every set of fingerprints obtained would then be entered into the Texas Criminal Records database. Included a link so anybody perhaps questioning my veracity could check.

    Upon testing the initial link “agitated” the firewall the IT guys advised necessitating me to find a second less incendiary. I’ll not place the first link herein but here’s the second – the very few comments should illuminate adequately “the probable Constitutional problem.”

    (But – before I paste the second link, perhaps getting me nearer to “on-topic” I’ll paste from the first link a quote offered by a Texas Gubmint functionary;

    “We should reconsider having law enforcement in charge of departments like Motor Vehicles but we are the idiots who allow the IRS to be in control our healthcare.”

    Posted July 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  2. “‘Bowt as many as the Pope has, ah reckin’.”

    — Big Joe, da Man-o-Steel

    Posted July 22, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  3. In the immortal words of Andrew Jackson, “The court has made their decision — now let them enforce it.”

    Posted July 30, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Enforcement is not in the Court’s job description. That’s the Executive’s job. But if the Executive doesn’t do his job, it’s up to the Legislature (and the Chief Justice) to remove the Executive.

    Unfortunately, the Legislature has as few divisions as the Court. But the House does hold the purse strings. Unfortunately, the Senate (at least for now) is in service to the Executive.

    Rock, paper, scissors works in theory, but in practice, Jackson and Stalin were right — it’s the divisions, stupid.

    Posted July 31, 2014 at 12:15 am | Permalink
  5. Congress has the money. The Supremes have jobs for life. But the President has the guns and roses.

    Posted July 31, 2014 at 12:25 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    By announcing up front that it will wield neither the threat of impeachment nor the power of the purse, this Legislature has effectively, and pre-emptively, disarmed itself.

    Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink