It’s been a rough week for right wingers. First, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. The next day, it legalized gay marriage across the country. Nothing enrages wingnuts like the “wrong” people enjoying health and happiness.
Everyone knew it was coming. Everyone knew the Supreme Court was due to issue a bunch of rulings this week, and that two of them would be huge. The biggest cases on the Court’s docket involved two things that are vital to human life: health and happiness. Specifically, the Court’s decisions regarding Obamacare (health) and marriage equality (happiness) would have significant impact.
It was inevitable that wingnut heads would explode. The Court had already upheld Obamacare once, and conservatives went back to the well with a laughable case. The Court also signaled where it was heading when it overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, and refused to hear challenges to federal court rulings that overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.
The days of reckoning came hard and swift.
On Thursday, the Court upheld Obamacare’s federal subsidies, deflecting a right-wing attempt to overturn the law with a legislative typo. Adding insult to injury for wingnuts, Chief Justice John Roberts not only sided with the majority on the 6–3 ruling, but penned a majority opinion that sent a clear message to his party: “Not ‘it!’ If you want to overturn this law, win some elections and get the votes to do it.”
If you thought right-wingers would be glad that the Court saved them from themselves by not blowing up Obamacare, because conservatives still don’t have a consensus on how to replace it, guess again. Some of the worst reactions came from the right-wingers on the bench. Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the minority opinion, basically came undone. Scalia’s dissent, signed by Justices Thomas and Alito, complained that:
The other justices can’t read, because 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,’“ which is ”quite absurd."
The court didn’t even need to hear the case, that his fellow conservatives fought long and hard to bring before the Court.
Congress actually did intend to enact a law that would extend health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, and send the insurance market into a “death spiral.”
“Words no longer have any meaning,” as a result of this ruling.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush issued a statement of disappointment and said that as president he would “make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio promised to continue fighting to repeal the law, and replace it with a “consumer-centered plan.” (Not, “patient-centered”? Interesting.)
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker isn’t in the race yet, but called on members of Congress to “redouble their efforts to repeal and replace this destructive and costly law.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted that the ruling hadn’t changed his opinion on the law.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry said in a statement that “the Obama Administration has ignored the text of the Affordable Care Act time and again for Spinal Labs,” and that the ruling “allows them to continue to disregard the letter of the law.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham argued that the ruling is all the more reason to elect a president who will repeal the law.
Conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root started peddling this blackmail theory yesterday. From there, Root nosedives down the rabbit hole, and drags the IRS, the NSA, and Saul Alinsky in with him. Of course! The only reason Roberts voted to save Obamacare twiceis because the Obama administration is holding something over his head. It couldn’t be because conservatives have no case. (Actually this one went into circulation the first time the Court upheld Obamacare.)
It’s easy to understand their frustration. Conservatives failed to stop President Obama from passing health care reform. More than 50 votes to repeal have also failed. In several election cycles, conservatives failed to gain enough seats to pass a repeal, or elect a president who’d sign one. Now they’ve failed at their last best hope to repeal Obamacare in the courts.
President Obama rose to the occasion with moving words of his own.
President Obama welcomed Friday morning’s Supreme Court decision clearing the way for marriage equality across the nation, hailing it as a crowning moment in a long, sometimes bitter struggle for LGBT civil rights in America. “It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years and even decades working and praying for change to come,” he said. “I know a change for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so long,” he continued, but added that the decision is evidence that “real change is possible…shifts in hearts and minds is possible.”
“Sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” he said.
(Actually, the heavens may have preempted the Court, as the double rainbows appeared last week.)
Of course, there were a few dark clouds. The biggest were on the judicial bench.
Chief Justice Roberts’ dissent can be summed up as “What’s the Constitution got to do with it?”
Justice Alito tossed out the obligatory accusation that the majority was “making up rights” willy nilly.
Scalia’s dissent was the written equivalent of throwing his papers in the air and declaring, “Do what you want. I give up.” Scalia accused the majority of a “constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine;” declared the Court “strikingly unrepresentative” (because all the justices were Harvard or Yale educated, with nary an Evangelical or Protestant among them); and critiqued Kennedy’s majority opinion as “couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.”
Justice Thomas, in a particularly fervent dissent, claimed that the plaintiffs in the case “have in no way been deprived” of liberty, because: “They have been able to travel freely around the country, making their homes where they please. Far from being incarcerated or physically restrained, petitioners have been left alone to order their lives as they see fit.”
Thomas holds that human dignity “has long been understood in this country to be innate.” Then in one stunning paragraph, Thomas explains who else he thinks was not deprived of it: