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ObamaCare subsidies struck down: Will Chief Justice wield his magic pen again?

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Yesterday’s federal appeals court decision in the D.C. Circuit may have profound implications.

Oddly enough, yesterday’s D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the language of ObamaCare limiting federal subsidies to state-run exchanges (as opposed to allowing them for the federally-run exchange, which the Administration has undertaken against the plain text of the law as passed) may provide an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to actually legislate some much-needed reform of the controversial law.

OK, that may seem far-fetched at first glance, but hear me out.

"We have to wonder whether Chief Justice Roberts will wield his “magic pen” and rewrite the text of the law for a second time."

First of all, it should be noted that the D.C. decision will almost certainly be appealed to the full court before heading to the Supreme Court.  (This latest decision was issued by a 3-judge panel.  The Administration will almost certainly appeal to the full 11-member court, which is dominated by Democratic appointees.)  Further, a contemporaneous ruling in favor of the Administration’s position issued by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond – also decided by a panel – blurs things even further.  However, it is likely that the case will reach the Supreme Court eventually.

At which point we have to wonder whether Chief Justice Roberts will wield his “magic pen” and rewrite the text of the law for a second time.

The first time, of course, was when he was the deciding vote on upholding the so-called “individual mandate” two summers ago.  In order to arrive at that rather dubious finding, the Chief Justice, writing for the majority, literally had to rewrite the written statute in order to make the penalty for individuals lacking mandated insurance a tax instead – something that Democrats had fiercely objected to during the debates over the legislation, something utterly at odds with the plain language therein, and something that almost certainly would have killed the bill had it been framed as such during the congressional debates.

Well, here we go again.

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Angus DuBois
Angus DuBois
Contributor
Angus DuBois is the nom de plume of an entrepreneur of 20 years who, in cowardly fashion, prefers to keep his/her business identity a secret. Comments can be forwarded to angus@nexxuspublishing.com.

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