Justice Antonin Scalia wasn’t going to go down without a fight – a colorful one at that.
Scalia, joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, lambasted the majority decision with a series of literary quips and flourishes in a scathing dissent that may have buoyed the spirits of conservatives crushed by the Court’s ruling.
And in a rare move signaling his intense opposition to the majority ruling – written by fellow conservative and Chief Justice John Roberts – Scalia voiced his dissent aloud from the bench for the Court to hear.
Here are the most quotable lines from his written dissent:
1. “This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it re-writes the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
2. “The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.”
3. “Pure applesauce. Imagine that a university sends around a bulletin reminding every professor to take the “interests of graduate students” into account when setting office hours, but that some professors teach only undergraduates. Would anybody reason that the bulletin implicitly presupposes that every professor has “graduate students,” so that “graduate students” must really mean “graduate or undergraduate students”? Surely not.”
4. “The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed … will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence.”
5. “It is bad enough for a court to cross out “by the State” once. But seven times?”
6. “The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress “[a]ll legislative Powers” enumerated in the Constitution.”
And from Scalia’s oral dissent from the bench:
7. “The Court solves that problem (believe it or not) by simply saying that federal exchanges count as state exchanges only (and this is a quotation from the opinion) “for purposes of the tax credits.” How wonderfully convenient and how utterly contrary to normal principles of interpretation.”