The Judicial Branch and the Law

In a couple of weeks, the Supreme Court will hear a case involving Federal subsidies to health coverage purchasers who bought their plans on ObamaMart instead of State exchanges. The Obamacare law limits those subsidies to purchasers via State exchanges argue the plaintiffs; the government demurs.

Some ACA critics fear the Supreme Court may hesitate to block the current subsidies because of a lack of confidence in the legislative branch in general.

Against that backdrop, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said

The current Congress is not equipped really to do anything[.]

That claim is the pseudo-logic President Barack Obama uses to justify his Executive Orders and “executive actions” that deliberately bypass Congress, and unconstitutionally so.

Justice Ginsburg, and others of like mind on the Supreme Court, may be entirely right on Congress’ ability—or willingness—to act. However, she, and they, would do well to remember that the Constitution they’re sworn to uphold does not authorize the Court to legislate in place of, or in addition to, Congress.

Justice Ginsburg and her fellows would do well to remember that the judiciary’s task is first to determine whether a law comports with the Constitution as the Constitution is written, and if it’s legitimate, to apply that law as that law is written.

Full stop.

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