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DonaldD
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US Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare... and at 6-3, the decision was not split purely on partisan lines.

Let the games begin.

[ June 25, 2015, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: DonaldD ]

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D.W.
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The fragments of the dissent I skimmed through seem to be purely legal/technical. More snippy that the SC is being annoyed with proof read and red pen correcting a poorly written (but well intentioned?) piece of law. The “maybe we should be calling it SCOTUScare” had me chuckling.
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Wayward Son
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I think Chief Justice Roberts put it best: "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them."

They rightly (IMHO) ruled on what Congress intended to do with the law, rather than what a miswording in the law may have said.

Of course, the Right is going a little bonkers over it right now. [Smile]

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JoshCrow
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I found Scalia's comments in the dissent pretty funny, actually. Not because I disagree with them, per se, but because he has a dry and wonderful sense of humor.

I'm so glad that a drafting error has been treated as such. Even my lawyer friend who adamantly opposes anything that smacks of "legislating from the bench" seems to think there's nothing dubious about this, since such drafting errors are relatively infrequent and unlikely to create precedent for wilder sorts of interpretations (although that may not stop litigants from trying, as Scalia observed).

[ June 25, 2015, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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Rafi
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It was not a drafting error, it was intentional. This is essentially the end of the rule of law. They have overturned all legal canon and ignored precedent. It give the executive branch unlimited power by freeing it to say laws mean whatever they want them to say. The ideal result would have been for SCOTUS to adhere to canon and then congress pass a "fix".

[ June 25, 2015, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: Rafi ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
This is essentially the end of the rule of law.

C'mon man. This ruling was bad, just like the last one. But please, stop with the hyperbole.
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Rafi
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It's not hyperbole. The executive branch can now say of any law that whatever they wanted in there was meant to be I there and enforce it as though it always was in the law. It doesn't even matter what the original intent of the legislative branch was since the original intent was ignored here. It means laws will mean whatever they want them to mean.
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DonaldD
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Well, no: there is plenty of precendent in interpreting the meaning of a law to be not self-contradictory, if there is a minimal amount of ambiguity.

Ambiguity within one or two sentences in a law that spanned, what, hundreds of pages (?) is really insufficient to cause those sentences to be interpreted in such a way as to defeat the law's explicit purpose.

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Rafi
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There is more than a century of precedent and legal canon in interpreting contradictions and ambiguity in laws - I detailed them in this forum a couple of months ago. Those have now been scrapped. Roberts himself confirms that in the majority ruling (I'm paraphrasing).

The original intent of legislators in crafting laws is now flexible depending on executive whim and the meaning of laws can be altered by the executive branch and enforced. Whatever laws congress passes now, if one guy stands up and says he meant something else, whether that guys was elected or not, the law is amended at that moment and the executive branch can enforce it as though that was the law as originally passed. This is, literally, giving the executive branch the new power to amend laws in any way it wants.

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TomDavidson
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Bull, Rafi.
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Wayward Son
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Fortunately, Rafi, Congress still has the power to "fix" the law and amend it so it says what it was intended to say in the first place. Just like you wanted it. [Smile]

And I certainly hope and pray that the Republicans have enough integrity, after persuing this legal challenge, to at least try to put in an amendment to correct this horrible injustice and take away all subsidies from people in Red states that don't have their own exchanges, like the law as originally meant to do, even if Obama would threaten to veto such a measure. I'm sure there are dozens of Republican lawmakers who are climbing over each others to sponsor such a bill. [Wink]

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kmbboots
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Anyone else hear this in their heads when they read this thread?
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JoshCrow
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How many times has the rule of law ended now already? What is this, the tenth? Twelvth? I keep looking outside and the sun is still shining out there. I really want to know when I can get into my bomb shelter and wait for the chaos to begin.
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Wayward Son
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Whoo-hoo! You think this is bad, Josh? Wait until the SCOTUS rules on gay marriage. [Eek!] [Smile]
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D.W.
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They have now. So we'll see if all those rainbows somehow make the sky fall for real this time. [Razz]
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JoshCrow
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Canada has been a burning same-sex marriage hellhole for 10 years now. I am gazing out the window upon the very definition of Orwellian madness, with cameras peering into my window so the government can watch me when I sleep, and homo-brainwashing in our kindergardens. Think of the children! Oh God, the children!
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Fenring
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To be fair we don't know what will happen to the children, or to society, without 50 years of hindsight for any big social change.

As far as government surveillance goes, maybe you're an exhibitionist? [Wink]

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JoshCrow
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Almost 50 years ago, interracial marriages were legalized. We barely talk about them anymore - they are background noise. Race, of course, is as much an issue as ever - but "the children" seem to have grown up as they are wont to do, and the only people expressing regrets about it are the marginal hate groups.
I suspect it will be much the same with same-sex marriages.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
We barely talk about them anymore - they are background noise.
To be fair, that Cheerios commercial a little while back still brought out all the bigots.
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
We barely talk about them anymore - they are background noise.
To be fair, that Cheerios commercial a little while back still brought out all the bigots.
True, although that was standard-issue bigotry rather than pointing at a social consequence of Loving v. Virginia. Maybe the social consequence is eating more Cheerios.
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Pyrtolin
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The Stonewall riots were almost 50 years ago; if anything that was the significant change point. This is just the last fallout settling into place. Legally and socially significant, but as far as degree of change goes, it's really just a final formality.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
How many times has the rule of law ended now already? What is this, the tenth? Twelvth? I keep looking outside and the sun is still shining out there. I really want to know when I can get into my bomb shelter and wait for the chaos to begin.

I'm not sure where your count comes from but if you think this all breaks down into post-apocalyptic biker gangs raining the wasteland before the second commercial break, then I see why you're skeptical. It's gonna take longer for the repercussions of this to develop than a weekend.

By a end to the rule of law, I mean we know have the rule of men. Laws don't mean what the words of the law mean, they mean what someone says they means - and that meaning cane be whatever they want it to be based on situation. Is it a tax or a fine? It's one in some situations, it's the other in another situation. State does not mean state every time, sometimes it means other things and those sometimes will be whenever men decide it to be. Words are now fluid, meaning is malleable and definitions are not based on plain meaning but political expediency. That's what this ruling means and it applies at all levels of government, state, local and federal.

Anytime those in power and charged with enforcing laws don't like a law, merely claim it as a drafting error, a typo, and then enforce it as it was "intended" all along. It won't happen this weekend but it will happen as the comfort level with redefining laws at executive whim grows just as it had with executive orders. With those 2 things combined, the legislative branch is largely irrelevant now.

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D.W.
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Maybe they should rule that no law is constitutional unless it fits on a single page and is clear and concise and covers a single issue without any riders or pork attached to it.

I'd be ok with that. Don't think **** would get done, but it's a happy thought.

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:

Anytime those in power and charged with enforcing laws don't like a law, merely claim it as a drafting error, a typo, and then enforce it as it was "intended" all along. It won't happen this weekend but it will happen as the comfort level with redefining laws at executive whim grows just as it had with executive orders.

Be sure to wake me up when it happens so I can get in my shelter.
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NobleHunter
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Or the ruling means that partisans can't kneecap a piece of legislation because someone was a bit sloppy with copy/paste.

It's also worth pointing out that the relevant section of the law would be unconstitutionally coercive as it was written.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
It's gonna take longer for the repercussions of this to develop than a weekend.
How long 'til the biker gangs? I need to know if I have time to get the seventeen or eighteen additional piercings I'm going to need.

quote:
By a end to the rule of law, I mean we know have the rule of men.
In all seriousness, if you really believe that law has been respected, consistently applied, and held inviolate in meaning up to this point in American history, your expression as you wander through life must be one of constant surprise and outrage.
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Wayward Son
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How long? Same as always: mañana, mañana. [Smile]
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Or the ruling means that partisans can't kneecap a piece of legislation because someone was a bit sloppy with copy/paste.

It's also worth pointing out that the relevant section of the law would be unconstitutionally coercive as it was written.

Actually, we know that this was not a typo or copy and past error. We have interviews and all sorts of documentation. The rationale you're pushing as invented after the fact by the administration.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:

Anytime those in power and charged with enforcing laws don't like a law, merely claim it as a drafting error, a typo, and then enforce it as it was "intended" all along. It won't happen this weekend but it will happen as the comfort level with redefining laws at executive whim grows just as it had with executive orders.

Be sure to wake me up when it happens so I can get in my shelter.
I think you'll be better off just staying asleep.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Actually, we know that this was not a typo or copy and past error.
Do you think that would have mattered? Would the suit not have been filed if everyone universally agreed that the text was just left over from an earlier draft?
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D.W.
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My uninformed/layman interpretation is that it was a remnant of an unsuccesful means to strong arm the states into setting up their own exchanges.

The drafters assumed the states would do so. They wouldn't have drafted it this way if they understood the states would decline out of protest but I don't think it's fair to call it a typo.

But no Tom, it wouldn't have mattered. And honestly, had they been smarter drafting it, we would have dodged THIS case, but not the overall attempts to try and stop the ball rolling.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Actually, we know that this was not a typo or copy and past error. We have interviews and all sorts of documentation.
Pity no one bothered to show these to Justice Roberts. It may have changed the outcome. [Smile]
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Pity no one bothered to show these to Justice Roberts.
Would you believe Justice Kennedy? [Embarrassed] (Dang it, I'm getting my SCOTUS rulings mixed up. [Mad] )
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
My uninformed/layman interpretation is that it was a remnant of an unsuccesful means to strong arm the states into setting up their own exchanges.

The drafters assumed the states would do so. They wouldn't have drafted it this way if they understood the states would decline out of protest but I don't think it's fair to call it a typo.

That is exactly what it was, there exists considerable documentation and interviews demonstrating that was the intent. The administration amended the law with the claim is was merely an oversight, that what congress intended all along is not what they really meant and that the administrations new wording of the law is the way it should be. SCOTUS has now said its within the executive branch's powers to amend laws this way.

Now the executive branch has the power to pass laws via executive order and executive actions and the power to amend existing laws as it sees fit.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
there exists considerable documentation and interviews demonstrating that was the intent.
No there isn't. There's evidence that the idea was considered, but not that it was retained in the final draft. All that we see here is an attempt to make it clear that subsides were only for public exchanges and not for the private ones used by large employers or associations of small employers.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
It's gonna take longer for the repercussions of this to develop than a weekend.
Rafi, you remind me of someone named G3 who stated with certainty that 50 million people were going to lose their health insurance due to Obamacare by May 2015, except he was later unwilling to acknowledge that huge error in judgement. Are you different?

Will you go on the record here and state the month and year by which you believe that adverse repercussions will be measurable?

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LetterRip
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Greg,

Rafi is G3/G2/etc.

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Greg Davidson
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At least until held accountable for the nonsense he or she has written under that name, at which point it will be necessary to shed another moniker.
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DonaldD
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So, what were the different ways that SCOTUS could have ruled, if they were to find against the ACA?

Obviously, they could have ruled against the subsidies with immediate effect, but they might also have stayed the decision for a period of time, since immediately terminating the subsidies would have meant causing millions of people to lose their insurance, in some cases almost immediately, without giving the legislature, such as it is, time to react.

The former ruling would have been far less likely; in both the case of upholding the ACA, and ruling against the subsidies while staying the decision, the court effectively puts the ball back in the legislature's court: in both cases, Congress could then have theoretically modified the law if the result was not consistent with what they wanted.

What would a 6 or 12 month stay mean, however? 12 months from now is only 4 months before the next election.

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hobsen
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Major pieces of legislation like the ACA are usually debated and modified by the House and Senate before being passed, and then sent to a conference committee which produces a common version which can be passed by both the House and Senate and sent to the President for signature. But Ted Kennedy died after the Senate passed the ACA, and the Republican Scott Brown was elected to serve out the remaining four years of his term, meaning the Republicans in the Senate now had enough votes to prevent the ACA from passing. The House avoided this outcome by rubber stamping the Senate version and sending it to the President for signature, even if the legislation was known to be a rough draft and possibly unconstitutional.
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