Scalia Issues Stinging Dissent: ‘We Should Start Calling This Law SCOTUScare’


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia issued one of his trademark blistering dissents to the Court’s 6-3 ruling in King v. Burwell, accusing his colleagues of bending to political pressure.

“Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State,’” Scalia writes. “It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words ‘established by the State.’ And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words ‘by the State’ other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges.”

“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,” he writes

Scalia points out seven instances in the Affordable Care Act where the words “established by the state” means exactly what it seems to. “It is bad enough for a court to cross out ‘by the State’ once. But seven times?”

“The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an ‘Exchange established by the State.’” he continues. “This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

“[T]he cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

Scalia ended his opinion simply with the words “I dissent,” rather than the traditional “I respectfully dissent.”

[Image via Supreme Court]
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