Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed his famously deft touch with words Thursday in his biting dissent of the High Court's ruling that Obamacare tax credits are legal.
"Today's interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of," Scalia wrote, according to The Huffington Post
. "We should start calling this law SCOTUScare."
The justice, according to Huffington Post, manifested his "penchant for literary drama" in the dissenting opinion. The court voted 6-to-3 to uphold tax subsidies to Americans who purchase their health insurance on the federal exchange rather than one created by the state.
"This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits," he wrote. "You would think the answer would be obvious -- so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it," Scalia wrote, adding that the ruling was "the Court's next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery."
In March, the National Journal reported
that during the oral arguments of the King v. Burwell case challenging the president's piece of signature legislation, Scalia confronted the governments' lawyers about the law's text, which specifies that subsidies are available to consumers buying their coverage on exchanges "established by the state."
"How can the¬ federal government establish a state exchange?" he asked. "That is gobbledygook."
The Obama administration argued that the law contained other provisions showing that Congress did not intend for subsidies to be contingent upon whether someone purchased their coverage on a state exchange.
In 2013, Business Insider
published a story with the headline 'Justice Scalia's Most Cantankerous Statements Of 2012' that reviewed the "most curmudgeonly" remarks made by the "grumpy" and "controversial justice."
Among them was his response to reporters who asked whether Chief Justice John Roberts had a last-minute change of heart on his 2012 Obamacare ruling, a decision that ensured the law would be upheld.
"I don't talk about internal court proceedings," Scalia told the Huffington Post. "A reporter who reports that is either a) lying, which can be done with impunity ... or b) that reporter had the information from someone who was breaking the oath of confidentiality, which means that's an unreliable person."
Known for his literal interpretation of the law, the King v. Burwell case was made for Scalia, according to the Journal.
"A strict textual approach that would weaken Obamacare? Check and check."
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative, sided with the high court's liberal members in the majority. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined Scalia in dissenting.
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