Scalia’s Touching Faith in Congress

There was an exchange during oral argument in King v Burwell on Wednesday, the case that seeks to eliminate subsidies for those getting health insurance through federal exchange rather than a state one, that was both amusing and alarming. If the court rules for the plaintiffs, more than 8 million will lose their health insurance and the Affordable Care Act will be gutted.

It led to an unintentionally amusing exchange:

SCALIA: What about Congress? You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue? I mean, how often have we come out with a decision such as the ­­ you know, the bankruptcy court decision? Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem. It happens all the time. Why is that not going to happen here?

VERRILLI: Well, this Congress?

The room, not surprisingly, erupted in laughter. Congratulations, Congress, you’ve literally sunk to the level of a punch line.

But more to the point, Scalia wasn’t kidding. “I don’t care what Congress you’re talking about,” he added. “If the consequences are as disastrous as you say, so many million people ­­ without insurance and whatnot – yes, I think this Congress would act.”

Does Scalia read newspapers? Does he live in a bubble? Anyone who thinks this Republican-led Congress would fix the law to make sure those 8 million people don’t lose their insurance is living in a fantasy world.

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  • Mr Ed

    This Congress? You mean the Congress which couldn’t figure out how to pass DHS funding, something they wanted to do. This Congresses which has been telling us for five years that they have a plan to replace the ACA but has only come up with – all the good stuff and none of the bad.

    While they whine and play for the cameras there will be a literal body count. People formally insured will be forced to reduce or put off health care and some will die. maybe we should put a line of tomb stones in front of Congress to keep count.

    I forget why is having Americans buy health insurance bad?

  • ArtK

    Anyone who thinks this Republican-led Congress would fix the law to make sure those 8 million people don’t lose their insurance is living in a fantasy world.

    Scalia isn’t living in a fantasy world. The result that he (and his masters) wants is that those 8 million people lose their insurance. His question is just to give “plausible deniability” to that fact.

  • richardelguru

    “..why is having Americans buy health insurance bad?”

    because it should be single payer national and paid for by taxes?

  • anthrosciguy

    The correct question is, of course, does Scalia give a shit? And the (also obvious) answer is “no”.

  • Alverant

    “What about Congress? You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue?”

    If they can blame President Obama for them, you bet they will!

  • dogfightwithdogma

    Scalia isn’t living in a fantasy world. It’s worse than that. Scalia lives in a nightmare world in which nearly all of us are the potential victims of his Freddy Kruger version of justice and constitutional law.

  • llewelly

    Scalia knows that the more people there are that can’t get insured by the ACA, the less popular it will be. He wants those 8 million people to be uninsured. He’s not deluded; he is evil.

  • John Pieret

    Scalia maybe all of the above but mostly he thinks that what the majority wants is what they should get, even if that means that the poor and minorities get trampled on. And if the majority is too stupid to see beyond the lies the one-percenters and multi-national corporations pay big bucks to saturate them with, that’s too bad too.

  • Teve Tory

    I hadn’t had health insurance in 15 years. Thanks to Obamacare I now have a basic policy. If King v. Burwell goes the stupid way, I once again don’t have insurance.

  • Modusoperandi


  • whheydt

    Is the “Muslin Tyrant” the one who says, “Get thee behind me, Satin”?

  • lorn

    Satin, come for the forked-tongue flattery, stay for the beguiling softness.

  • Doc Bill

    This Congress. Or that Congress. It’s the same bunch that Boehner has been “claiming” is working on a replacement for Obamacare, yet where’s the committee? Who’s actually working on an alternative? Could Boehner just be blowing smoke up our asses?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  • StevoR

    With Congress being deservedly held in such contempt is there any sort of movement building to restrict its powers or reform it so it isn’t as bad as it seems to be? Not my country but it does seem to me that that would be a good idea.

    Also would be interested in knowing Scalia’s response to the laughter at his words and whether he realises how out of touch and silly he looks and they look.

  • DaveL

    Scalia lives in a different world from the rest of us, a world where:

    -Congress will act to avert disaster

    -Corporations are people

    -Actual innocence is irrelevant to judicial punishment

    -Jews mark their gravestones with a latin cross

  • doublereed

    I don’t even understand the question. Congress allowed millions of americans to be without insurance in the first place. They didn’t fix the problem until it became millions of americans. And whatever Congress would attempt to do would be ruled unconstitutional by Scalia anyway.

    The question is such deliberate stupidity and malice.

  • doublereed

    @14 StevoR

    Not exactly what you’re talking about, but there is Wolf-PAC.

  • fifthdentist

    You mean the same Congress who in recent years has taken to demanding that a few hundred million for relief of tornado/hurricane victims must be “paid for” by cutting other things? (Unless it’s in THEIR district. Then it is vital that it be funded, and damn the deficit).

    You mean the same Congress who let long-term unemployment insurance expire rather than add a few tens of millions to the budget? Even though the people in that position were unlikely to find work in the economy at that time?

    You mean the same Congress whose members are cut from the same cloth as the state legislators and governors who refuse to expand Medicaid, literally becoming the “death panels” they warned us about? Because people are going to die who otherwise would have received preventive care and/or treatment for controllable diseases due to their inaction.