Read the 7 Most Ridiculous Lines from Justice Antonin Scalia’s Obamacare Dissent

“Words no longer have meaning.”

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APA crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, in March 2015, as the court hears arguments in King v. Burwell.

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On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare’s insurance subsidies in a 6-3 decision penned by Chief Justice John Roberts. Legal experts had long dismissed the merits of the case, and it even turned out that the plaintiffs had questionable standing.

But to three of the court’s conservative justices, the court’s decision to side with the government is a sign not only that the court is full of partisan hacks, but also that words themselves hold no meaning.

In a blistering 21-page dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia accused John Roberts of abandoning his judicial independence to defend Obamacare at any and all costs. “[N]ormal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved,” Scalia writes.

Just how absurd is it, in Scalia’s mind, that the court upheld the subsidies? Here are his other prime quotes of indignation at the majority’s opinion:

  • “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.'”
  • “[The decision] rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare”.
  • “The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”
  • “You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it.”
  • “Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!”
  • “Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of.”
  • “[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.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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