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Radio Silence


still-of-kevin-costner-and-wayne-knight-in-jfk-(1991)-large-pictureAbove: Michael Carvin prepares for oral arguments. Jonathan Gruber was spotted on the grassy knoll.

Today is oral arguments day in King v. Burwell.  My question: is there any good reason why they’re not streamed live, rather than being held until Friday?  I know I have a professional self-interest here, but when a literal life-or-death matter is before the nation’s highest tribunal it seems as if the public should be able to listen in real time.

I also don’t think there are any good arguments against televising Supreme Court proceedings, but baby steps.

While you wait for the transcript to go up, if you’re into that kind of thing, Beutler is excellent once again:

As exercises in bad faith go, Barnett’s double standard is trivial, perhaps even unintentional. By contrast, the crucial elements of the King casethe political theatrics, the enlistment of plaintiffs, the historical revisions, the legal arguments themselvesare all breathtaking in their duplicity. The current challenge offends the sensibilities of its detractors more than the constitutional challenge that nearly voided the law three years ago, because the law’s opponents have enlisted such indefensible tactics. And the horrible thing about it is, they might very well succeed.


You have to be delusional or dishonest to claim that Congress imposed a huge condition on the subsidies, or that we can’t know what Congress was trying to accomplish. Yet a swing justice could decide that “by the State” does not equate to “by the federal government on behalf of the State”to ignore the fuller contextand thus that the law doesn’t do what Congress wanted when Congress wrote it. That would be a huge coup for diction scolds and people who get angry at the thought of poor people going to the doctor. It would also reflect a conscious decision to ignore the clarity of the law’s purpose. If that’s the thin reed on which the Supreme Court interprets Obamacare, in defiance of the democratic process that brought it into existence, something will have gone very, very wrong.

…my longer preview piece is up here.  

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