Law

Obamacare architect explained intent behind allowing subsidies only on state exchanges

Featured image Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT, is widely is regarded as the architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare. Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Halbig, he asserted that the provision of Obamacare limiting subsidies to the state exchanges was a “typo.” Indeed, he found it “criminal” to suggest that Obamacare was intended to work this way. But William Jacobson (via one of his readers) has unearthed video from 2012 in »

Pro bono law morphs into left-wing lawfare

Featured image Do you remember Shirley Sherrod? She’s the former Department of Agriculture official caught on camera saying she denied a white farmer the full measure of benefits she could have given him, before later describing how she ended up rejecting this racist approach to her job. The late Andrew Breitbart posted excerpts of the Sherrod video that failed to include the part about how she overcame her racist impulse and ended »

Drafting error vs. drafting miscalculation

Featured image Sean Davis, a former congressional staffer, examines the claim that the provision in Obamacare limiting subsidies to those participating in state exchanges was the product of “drafting error.” He finds it laughable. I discussed what a legislative drafting error looks like here. Davis sees it the same way: When I worked in the Senate. . .it was not uncommon to find obvious errors in bills and amendments. Sometimes you would »

Drafting error vs. poor draftsmanship

Featured image Obamacare by its express and unambiguous terms limits Obamacare subsidies to people using health care exchanges “established by the State.” Thus, subsidies to people in the federal exchange are not permitted, as these exchanges obviously are not established by the State. However couched, the argument that subsidies should nonetheless accrue to people in the federal exchange boils down to the notion that the limiting language of the statute is the »

What’s next after Obamacare’s defeat in Halbig v. Burwell? [updated]

Featured image As Steve has noted, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia today invalidated the IRS regulation that provides for insurance subsidies to millions of lower-income Americans using the federal Obamacare exchanges. The ruling means that in 36 states, Obamacare subsidies will not be available, making its insurance coverage unaffordable to many Americans and potentially crashing the system. The Court’s ruling, by a vote of 2-1, is clearly correct. »

American Sniper on trial

Featured image Former WWF wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura brought a lawsuit for defamation against Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sharpshooter and coauthor of American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. The book was published on January 3, 2012, under the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins. With a little help from Morrow’s publicity department, Kyle was featured on segments of the Today Show and the »

The Wagner case decision

Featured image This past February Paul wrote about the case of Teresa Wagner v. Carolyn Jones, Dean of the University of Iowa College of Law in this post. Like Paul, I had read Peter Berkowitz’s Wall Street Journal column over the previous weekend and noted that the oral argument in Ms. Wagner’s appeal was scheduled before the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul the following Thursday morning. TaxProf Paul Caron picked up on »

Judge Sullivan also wants to hear from the IRS

Featured image In the post immediately below, Scott reports that Judge Reggie Walton “wants to hear from the IRS.” Specifically, he wants the IRS to testify under oath about discovery issues pertaining to the destruction of evidence. Judge Walton isn’t the only veteran District Court Judge here in Washington DC who wants to hear from the IRS about this matter. Yesterday, Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, ordered the IRS to explain »

What is Abu Khattala’s highest and best use?

Featured image According to this report: The Justice Department says its case against [Ahmed Abu Khattala], accused in the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, is unusually complex and involves “novel questions of fact and law.” In a Washington, D.C., federal courtroom Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiLorenzo said the government had already begun sharing sensitive documents with defense attorneys. But many of the hundreds of people interviewed »

James Risen would prefer not to

Featured image New York Times reporter James Risen has excellent sources in the intelligence community. If you are a disgruntled intelligence officer or official and want to preserve your anonymity while undermining a top secret program or aiding the enemies of the United States, Risen is your go-to guy. Risen’s accomplishments in this area have been overshadowed by the emergence of Edward Snowden, but Risen should not be forgotten. We know of »

The Bergdahl deal — as unlawful as it was misguided

Featured image The Bowe Bergdahl deal is so highly dubious on the merits, and so bizarre in the execution, that legal issues fade into the background. But the legalities mirror the deal. From a legal standpoint, Obama’s action is highly dubious and his arguments to the contrary are bizarre. A law passed in 2013 requires that Congress be given 30 days advance notice of the release of non-American prisoners held at Guantanamo. »

Koua Fong Lee: The farce continues

Featured image Koua Fong Lee immigrated to the United States from a refugee camp in Thailand in 2004. Three years later Lee killed three Minnesotans when he rammed his 1996 Toyota Camry into the rear of another car at the Snelling Avenue exit of Interstate Highway 94 in St. Paul. Lee’s car careened into the other car somewhere between 70 and 90 miles per hour and Lee was, not unreasonably, convicted of »

Jill Abramson and the road to misery

Featured image In Coconuts, the Marx Brothers’ first movie, the bellhops at Groucho’s Florida hotel demand their wages. Groucho asks them whether they want to be “wage slaves.” When they answer in the negative, Groucho replies: “No, of course not. But what makes wage slaves? Wages!” Wages make slaves out of many of us, and it’s reasonable for low earners to obsess over them. But high earners are a different story. For »

Hillary Clinton and the release of thousands of criminal aliens

Featured image Here’s an underreported scandal brought to my attention by Bill Otis. CBS News reports: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released 36,007 convicted criminal aliens last year who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings, according to a report issued Monday by the Center for Immigration Studies. The group of released criminals includes those convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to the report, which cites »

Brown v. Board and court worship

Featured image Those who believe the Supreme Court should take an “activist” approach often cite Brown v. Board of Education as an example of the Court’s ability to do good where other institutions and the body politic come up short. It’s a decent example, but not sufficient to make the general case. Keep in mind first that before giving us Brown, the Court gave us Plessy v. Ferguson. It upheld, by a »

Bolling v. Sharpe at 60

Featured image As Steve has noted, we are nearing the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. This means we are also nearing the 60th anniversary of Bolling v. Shape, which was decided the same day (May 17, 1954). Bolling held that that racial discrimination in the public schools of Washington D.C. denied blacks due process of law in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This was »

Barron on the administrative state

Featured image Paul has been writing about the nomination of David Barron to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (here and here). I’ve been writing about the questionable status of the administrative state in light of the separation of powers under the Constitution. To the extent of my capacity to understand, Publius has been my guide and authority. Barron stands at the intersection of Paul’s and my interests. »