Discussion for article #225789

When has historic proof ever been acknowledged by Obamacare foes?


Congress’ intent is regularly raised as a core criterion when the courts are asked to interpret any law. But what is precedent when the law by error of omission appears to contradict Congress’ clear intention?

It seems reasonable that, where the intention is clear, the Court still should allow the intent to stand as law – at the very least, to allow the Executive Branch to govern according to the clear intent. But I wonder what precedent says on this key point.

1 Like

I guess the ruling by those Republican judges would come under the category of ‘Pesky judicial activist judges’ the GOP is always complaining about.


Dang, you beat me to it!

Silly facts…it’s not like they play any role in the RWNJ bubble.


The Five Guys Named SCOTUS don’t seem concerned with precedent or Congressional intent.


Crazy screaming mobs don’t get more attrative with age, so we didn’t need that pic, but I did like seeing the Democratic House leadership, including one exceptional woman, who pushed through this historic legislation.


Suppose a state law lists things “a minister” must do before performing a wedding.

And a section of the law says, “a rabbi or priest can also perform weddings.”

The reasonable interpretation would be that all the laws which apply to the minister apply to the rabbi and the priest.

Likewise, with the ACA saying that people can get subsidies from an exchange established by the state, and then another section saying that the federal government can create exchanges, a reasonable interpretation is that the federal exchanges can also provide subsidies.

1 Like

Exactly; this is the barrenness of judicial textualism. If I write a letter, with a typo, saying I want to give tanks [instead of thanks] to all my friends for supporting me, by the logic of textualism, I would be obliged to give all of my friends tracked armored vehicles.


Notorious RBG has made clear but diplomatically what she think of those five.


I’ve been a big fan of TPM since its beginning, but I have to be a curmudgeon here.
This story has a Mack-truck sized hole in it: Sure, CBO never anticipated that federal subsidies would not go to states that didn’t set up their own exchanges. And sure, everybody was relying heavily on CBO’s estimates.
But why should I give a fuck? Does this fact in any way impact the litigation making its way to the Supreme Court? I read and read - and read and read - vainly seeking a legal expert to explain this.


Isn’t RBG amazing? She is so intelligent, savvy, and straightforward (no drama, but those watching her interview understand exactly what she thinks)


It speaks to the intent of Congress, so it’s very relevant to the litigation.


I once got a ticket where the officer spelled my name wrong. I tried that as a defense in court. The judge just laughed.


Well, yes, it certainly should, because it is a clear part of the legislative history of the law in question, and that is one of the things that judges are supposed to look at when resolving disputes over the meaning of a statute. The precedent is that language that goes against the clear intent of the law is assumed to be in error and is ignored in favor of the law’s clear intent.


Exactly right. There is reality and then there is legal reality. Judges can use legislative history to determine congressional intent or they can decide that a poorly crafted sentence is the major determinant. Thus the split last week. But the fact that the CBO never considered something is not meaningful unless a judge decides it is. And it would be pretty low on the totem poll.

Sorry, I disagree with that. This article presents a very good argument that the fact that nobody in Congress ever asked CBO to score that scenario is strong evidence that it was not a situation that was intended by anyone.


So basically what you’re saying is that a thousand of the smartest people in the country couldn’t figure out how to parse a simple sentence.

Congressional intent is only important if the language is not clear. Again, two appellate courts disagreed on this point. Saying that the CBO did not notice a problem with the language is only one piece of evidence for congressional intent and its only important if a judge thinks it important. I’ll bet good money on how important Scalia thinks it is.

1 Like