Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pray for Judge Thomas Griffith To Do The Right Thing

There is a huge court case going on regarding the "Affordable Healthcare Act", otherwise and popularly called "ObamaCare".

Not the case before the Supreme Court, involving Hobby Lobby, et. al., on whether a for-profit corporation can object on religious grounds, the required contraceptive/abortion part of health coverage through centralized insurance coverage--

No, it's a better case, before the D.C. Court of Appeals, just down the street from the Supremes.

The case is Halbig v. Sebelius.  At issue in the case are the subsidies that the federal government provides for individuals purchasing insurance through Obamacare. Though the text of the law says the subsidies were to go to individuals obtaining insurance through an “exchange established by the state,” a rule released by the Internal Revenue Service subsequently concluded that subsidies would also apply to exchanges set up on behalf of states by the federal government.

This case has a very good chance of overturning "ObamaCare", either entirely or at least sending the law back to Congress for a fix, or hopefully, its doom.

The D.C. Court is a three-judge panel, with the usual Carter appointed judge, Harry Edwards, on the left; Raymond Randolph, a judge on the right, appointed by George H.W. "41" Bush; and then there's Thomas Griffith in the middle, literally, appointed by George W. "43" Bush.  Griffith appears, according to oral arguments thus far, to be the deciding judge.

Edwards dismissed the appellate claim already as "preposterous", and describing it as a desperate attempt to gut the law.  How very open minded of him...

On the other end, Judge Raymond Randolph called it “a leap” for the Obama administration to argue that when Congress used the language “established by the state” legislators really meant the federal government.

At the core of this issue is that single phrase: "established by the state".  The phrase itself is used in at least seven places in the pertinent sections of the 2,700-page law.  Each occasion seems to refer to individual states establishing insurance exchanges, though vaguely, yet never once to a Federally established exchange, or some mix of each, as both the IRS and DOJ  infer.

Were the case to succeed, it would mean that three dozen (36) state governments opposed to Obamacare could significantly narrow its scope by refusing set up exchanges, thus preventing residents from claiming subsidies.

In those states, employers wouldn't be penalized for failing to offer qualifying insurance (which is triggered by workers seeking federal subsidies), meaning that anti-Obamacare states could become more attractive to businesses trying to get around the employer mandate. It would also increase pressure on Congress to undo the individual mandate.

Griffith was critical of the case being made by the Obama administration. Several times, he pointed out that the key part of the phrase “established by the state” seemed to be who was establishing the exchange, a distinction Stuart Delery of the Justice Department was trying to portray as arbitrary for the purpose of subsidies.

“It wasn’t established by a state” if HHS set it up, Judge Griffith argued. He said that he thought the government had a “special burden” to demonstrate the legislative history is on the administration’s side given that the plain language of the law contradicted them.

Griffith was also dismissive of other parts of the DOJ's argument.  So hang on~!


Most Rev. Gregori said...

The whole "Affordable Healthcare Act" needs to be repealed because no matter what the Supreme Court has ruled, the entire law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, as is the Common Core Curriculum, because the Federal government has NO Constitutional right or power to be involved in our health care or education.

The Local Malcontent said...

No, of course not.
Congress and Zerobama both have taken the illegal roads to Big Government, precisely what the Framers warned against, warned would happen.