December 2, 2014

Mitch McConnell finally admits the truth about how conservatives view the Supreme Court and its role in "taking down" Obamacare. No surprises here other than his unabashed candor in admitting it.

Here it is: Congress can't successfully repeal the ACA so they're looking to the Supreme Court to handle that dirty piece of business for them. They keep their hands clean and still get to deprive millions of people of access to health care.

Act Two will be the newly-minted Republican Congress riding in on their white horses to do "something" about health care for millions. I've already told you what that will be, but you can refresh your memories by reading my post about The Project 2017, which includes a comprehensive but inadequate replacement.


Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — the Senate’s incoming majority leader — admitted on Monday that Republicans are banking on the Supreme Court to invalidate a key portion of the Affordable Care Act in order to completely undo the law.

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting, McConnell conceded that the new Republican Congressional majority will be unable to significantly alter President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. But he added that should the Supreme Court strike down the subsidies available to individuals who receive their health care coverage through the law’s federally run exchange, it would constitute “a major do-over of the whole thing.”

“[Obamacare] bears the President’s name, the chances of his signing a full repeal are pretty limited,” he said. “Who may ultimately take it down is the Supreme Court of the United States… if that were to be the case, I would assume that you could have a mulligan here, a major do-over of the whole thing, that opportunity presented to us by the Supreme Court as opposed to getting the President to sign a full repeal which is not likely to happen.”

I think it's interesting that he said this to a room full of CEOs who claim to support people getting health insurance. If they support it, why do they care whether Republicans repeal it or the Supreme Court guts it?

Greg Sargent:

Even if you think [the challengers'] claim is plausible, maybe even attractive, the contrary interpretation offered by the government is at least reasonable. That brings me to the scope of their argument that troubles me the most: their unyielding conviction that they’ve identified the only possible construction of the ACA. Nowhere do they acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, they’re wrong.

That’s because they can’t admit to doubt. Because of the deference extended to agency interpretation, doubt means they lose. But their unwillingness even to acknowledge ambiguity reflects an important difference between legal advocacy and neutral interpretation. To be clear, [the challengers] deserve immense credit for their lawyerly ingenuity: they’ve constructed a facially plausible argument in support of an exceedingly strange interpretation of the ACA. But the courts would violate their obligation of fidelity in statutory construction if they mistook that ingenuity for genuine obeisance to Congressional will. The latest challenge to the ACA is political activism masquerading as statutory restraint.

All of the sound and fury over Gruber a couple of weeks back was conservatives' attempt to work the refs in advance of argument before the court. They're playing this to one person, and one only: Chief Justice Roberts. The rest are foregone conclusions.

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