Much of the global population doesn’t realize it, but the most powerful nation in the world threw in the towel today on the entire notion of what it means to live in a “land of liberty,” when its Supreme Court ruled in a 6–3 decision the rule of law no longer matters.
The political pundits on the Left, Obama sycophants, and “legal scholars” will spend the next 30 years hailing this case as a “progressive” decision that looked beyond outdated legal formalities and precedence, so let’s be clear what happened before they rewrite history and reshape it to fit the political ideology of the man currently occupying the White House.
The issue in King v. Burwell is simple: The Affordable Care Act provides subsidies for taxpayers who cannot afford health care, but the law clearly states those subsidies are available only to those who purchase insurance in “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031].” Since its implementation, however, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), following the command of the Obama administration, has been granting subsidies to all citizens who otherwise qualify under the law, even if they live in states that are using the federal health insurance exchange, which is obviously not “an Exchange established by the State.”
This struck many observers as an open-and-shut case: The law strictly confines subsidies to state-established exchanges, but the IRS has been granting subsidies to everyone, in violation of the law.
In the majority opinion, issued today by Chief Justice John Roberts—a man so opposed to the cause of liberty that his career would make Benedict Arnold blush—the Supreme Court determined the language “an Exchange established by the State” is “properly viewed as ambiguous.”
Roberts reasons, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
In other words, Roberts and the Court majority decided the law is “ambiguous” because the court needs it to be ambiguous to fit a particular policy goal, not because its meaning actually is indeterminate.
As John Malcom, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, explains, the law is exceptionally clear, and the language requiring states to establish their own exchanges before receiving taxpayer subsidies was deliberately chosen.
The goal of the requirement was to “induce” states to establish their own exchanges without forcing them to do so by law, an action that has already been established to be unconstitutional.
But as the Supreme Court ruled today, none of that matters. All that matters is protecting Obamacare no matter the cost, as Justice Antonin Scalia illustrated in his scathing and heroic, albeit ultimately unavailing, dissent: “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”
The tremendous importance of this case is not that Obamacare was saved (for the moment, anyway), it’s how it was saved. If government agencies can pick and choose which laws are to be read as written and passed by the people’s elected representatives and which laws can be ignored to meet the goals of whoever happens to be in power, then what’s the point of the law at all? Why do we even have a legislative branch? Let’s just get on with it and elect a monarch who rules in four-year chunks and let him or her make all of the decisions for the nation.
Whether you choose to accept it or not, that’s the road we’re now going down.
Of course, most Americans don’t seem to know, care, or understand the significance of this case. Life goes on. Shopping centers stay open, paychecks keep getting cashed, and everyone’s favorite reality TV shows continue to fill channel after channel. Until Americans start taking their liberties seriously (and I’m not sure that will happen anytime soon), convenience will always triumph over freedom. Utilitarianism will always win over principle.
It’s the end of America as we know it, and things will continue to get worse until the people determine, as they did more than 200 years ago, that they desire a government that truly represents them and respects them. Until then, those who believe in liberty must do everything they can to convince their neighbors of the importance of freedom, fully expecting, as they were on Thursday, to suffer from crushing disappointment.