Chief Justice John Roberts received lots of criticism for the arguments he made in his majority opinion in the King v. Burwell lawsuit. He’s been criticized by Antonin Scalia, his colleague. He’s been criticized by citizens who disagree with him because they don’t think the words “Exchange established by the State” is ambiguous, as Justice Roberts argued in his majority opinion.
Here’s part of Roberts’ opinion:
Under petitioners’ reading, the Act would not work in a State with a Federal Exchange. As they see it, one of the Act’s three major reforms, the tax credits, would not apply. And a second major reform, the coverage requirement, would not apply in a meaningful way, because so many individuals would be exempt from the requirement without the tax credits. If petitioners are right, therefore, only one of the Act’s three major reforms would apply in States with a Federal Exchange.
The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.
That isn’t a legal argument. That’s a policy argument. The Supreme Court’s job isn’t to determine whether Congress did its job properly. (They didn’t.) Roberts argued that the phrase “Exchange established by the State” was a case of “inartful drafting.” Justice Scalia highlighted the fact that that exact phrase was found in 7 places in the text of the bill:
Let us not forget that the term “Exchange established by the State” appears twice in §36B and five more times in other parts of the Act that mention tax credits. What are the odds, do you think, that the same slip of the pen occurred in seven separate places?
Chief Justice Roberts shouldn’t be a Supreme Court Justice. If he wanted to fix bills, he should’ve become a legislative aid. It isn’t the Supreme Court’s responsibility to fix poorly written legislation. Their job is to determine whether a) a statute violates the Constitution or b) a statute’s clearly written text means what it says.
In this instance, Justice Roberts used intellectual dishonesty to say that 4 clearly written words didn’t mean what they mean. When he did that, he essentially told the world that the Judicial Branch had stopped being the legal branch of government and that they were now becoming a third political branch of government.
That’s a disgusting perversion of the Constitution.