March 26, 2012

The Solicitor General argues that failure to comply with the requirement to buy health insurance does not equal a violation of federal law.

I'm at page 47 of the transcript (PDF) of this morning's oral argument, as the Justices explore whether they are dealing with the collection of a "tax" within the meaning of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Affordable Care Act imposes a "penalty" for failure to buy health insurance; it doesn't call the penalty a tax, but it collects the penalty through the individual's tax returns.

Justice Alito asks Solicitor General Verrilli whether the government is saying that in cases where someone is "exempt" from the penalty, it means that the person is "not under the obligation to maintain minimum essential coverage." The SG says that's right. Chief Justice Roberts says those with exemptions are subject to the mandate, just enjoying an exemption from the penalty. The SG says "you cannot infer from the fact that someone is exempt from the penalty, that they are still under an obligation to have the insurance."

Justice Kagan then wants to know about a person who isn't exempt from the penalty but who chooses to pay the penalty rather than to buy the insurance. What if this person then "finds herself in a position where she is asked the question, have you ever violated any federal law, would that person have violated a federal law?"
GENERAL VERRILLI: No. Our position is that person should give the answer "no."

JUSTICE KAGAN: And that's because —

GENERAL VERRILLI: That if they don't pay the tax, they violated a federal law.

JUSTICE KAGAN: But as long as they pay the penalty —

GENERAL VERRILLI: If they pay the tax, then compliance with the law.

JUSTICE BREYER: Why do you keep saying tax?

GENERAL VERRILLI: If they pay the tax penalty, they're in compliance with the law.

JUSTICE BREYER: Thank you.
Why "thank you"? Breyer must think he's pinned Verrilli down. This is indeed a tax?
GENERAL VERRILLI: Thank you, Justice Breyer.

JUSTICE BREYER: The penalty.

GENERAL VERRILLI: Right. That's right.
Hmm. So the SG is saying the only legal requirement is to pay the tax if you owe the tax, which you do if you haven't bought the insurance (and don't have some exemption). There's more discussion and Breyer returns at page 52 to say:
So is your point that the tax -- so, what we want to do is get money from these people. Most of them get the money by buying the insurance and that will help pay. But if they don't, they are going to pay this penalty, and that will help,too. And the fact that we put the latter in brings it within the taxing power. And as far as [the Anti-Injunctions] Act is concerned about the injunction, they called it a penalty and not a tax for a reason. They wanted it to fall outside that, it's in a different chapter, et cetera. Is that what the heart of what you are saying?

GENERAL VERRILLI: That's the essence they called it a penalty. They didn't give any other textural [sic] instruction in the Affordable Care Act or in the Internal Revenue Code or that that penalty should be treated as a tax for the Anti-Injunction Act purpose.
Roberts presses him: One purpose of the penalty is to raise revenue? Yes, says the SG, but because the ACA lacks "textural [sic] instruction in the statute that this penalty should be treated as a tax for Anti-Injunction Act purposes," it's not within the Anti-Injunction Act. Get it? Something needs to be specifically called a tax for the Anti-Injunction Act to apply, but when it comes to assessing Congress's enumerated power to tax, specific textual reference to "tax" isn't needed.

I think Justice Breyer was buying that argument.

113 comments:

edutcher said...

IIRC, they wanted the IRS to handle compliance, so maybe they were going to use the "voluntary compliance" dodge used by the DOT WRT income taxes.

Of course, if you don't volunteer to comply, they do to you what they do if you don't volunteer to pay your taxes...

Quayle said...

The provision is a shape shifter.

And this is good law?

Dan in Philly said...

Newspeak is alive and well, I see.

Aridog said...

And ... the elephant in the room, how is said "penalty" administered to those who do not file tax returns, or if they do, owe no tax or are due a "refundable credit?"

I can't tell you how amused I am with this Obama/Pelosi/Solicitor General nonsense (semantic BS) about it not being a tax ... considering I spent 15 years debating a "civil penalty" (not taxes I didn't pay) with the IRS and having my refunds confiscated every one of those years, even the one I was not employed. Finally resolved, I again receive refunds of excess taxes withheld.

TosaGuy said...

"The provision is a shape shifter.

And this is good law?"

If you make the rules, it's great law. If you live under the rules, then it is not.

This isn't law, it's Calvinball.

Mark O said...

Wow. Even the arguments are a fraud. It's not a tax, it's a breathmint.

Bob Ellison said...

I've got it! Just pair up all Americans with little pipes in their abdomens, and make sure at least of of each pair is fat. Put a little doo-hickey in the middle to control flow of fat from one person to the next, thus:

0 0
()-+-()
/\ /\

(Shoot. The blog will convert this to a variable-width typeface. Oh, well.)

The IRS gets to control the doo-hickey. If the person on the left (L) fails to pay the taxelty, the IRS adjusts the flow toward him/her; if the person on the right reneges on the penaltax, the flow goes back rightward.

Note that this opens the door to other, unintended benefits, like new forms of marriage and early death (which is a cost- and earth-saver). And the obese can become less so just by doing the right thing, and the bad people will become obese by doing the wrong thing!

rhhardin said...

I'd argue that an injunction is the opposite of a junction, and go from there.

Once ordinary language is out of play, you can do anything.

The first move is to put ordinary langauge in brackets.

Mark O said...

The SC should send it back and tell Congress that if this is such a damned good idea, pass the bill with a tax.

Aridog said...

Yep, it's a breath-mint. Now consider if you are poor and barely getting by, don't buy insurance under Obama/Pelosi Care, becasue you can't, and are entitled to a refundable credit under current tax law. Where is the "penalty" to come from? From you refundable credit is where....e.g, a portion of other people's taxes transferable to you, but confiscated by the IRS to pay the "penalty."

Wonder why the proponents of this fiasco didn't make mention of the above in their bragging?

X said...

hey! I just exempted myself under the equal protection clause.

George said...

Justice Breyer will buy any arguement that keeps Obamacare on the books.

Tridad said...

A bit of a stray, but why is he referred to as "General" and not "Solicitor?"

I wouldn't call the Secretary of Defense, "Defense" I'd call him Mr. Secretary.

Doesn't the "general" in SG refer to the area of law?

Fred Broder said...

The political hacks in black robes will "buy" whatever rationalization give them the outcome they desired going in.

It's a tyranny, and these are tyrants.

Nothing more or less.

cf said...

A breath mint AND a floor wax.

Lyssa said...

Tridad - Nope, the Attorney General is a General (as is the Surgeon General), the same way that the SecDef is a Secretary. Threw me for a loop the first time that I heard it, too.

Partridge said...

Can somebody explain to me why the SG doesn't want the Anti-injunction Act to apply? (perhaps the Professor?) Is it because they think they're on the upside and want to get to the merits of the case right now? Wouldn't they want to defeat the challengers now by stating that the Anti-Injunction Act DOES apply, in the hopes that by the time it gets around to decision on the merits everyone has forgotten?

I'm just asking for clarification. These issues are rather dizzying, and I have legal training.

traditionalguy said...

The mirage from hot gas myths need not be true, nor workable, nor affordable, at all.

Obama's ONLY goal today is to drive out any competing source of insurance other than a Single insurer which by having Government Pockets and therefore requiring no actuarially set price, will never fail to "unexpectedly"drive out all other legal insurers.


That approach worked for President Marxist on Wall Street and the Banking industry.


It is also how he is regulating oil and coal energy costs to become too expensive to stay in business against government controlled by subsidy entities Obama/Chu call "renewables."

The only thing being renewed is the demilitarized Marxist State where we once enjoyed being a rich Super Power.

Michael said...

They have been at this an entire day and yet haven't broached the topic of the all important free birth control for women. Is this getting kicked downfield? it was double urgent a few weeks ago.

Scott M said...

Are there any pictures of the Court this morning? Were any of them wearing a hoodie black robe in solidarity?

BarryD said...

This could be the first time an attorney tried the Chewbacca Defense on the Supremes.

Donald Verrilli is not Johnny Cochran, though, and the Justices aren't the OJ jury.

t-man said...

No, no, no. It's a floor wax and a dessert topping.

dbp said...

"
I think Justice Breyer was buying that argument. "

Not to sound cynical, but is Justice Breyer's vote in any doubt?

Alex Ignatiev said...

The Attorney General of the United States is the general attorney for the nation. The Solicitor General of the United States is the general solicitor for the nation.

They are not the generals of all of the set of Attorneys or Solicitors.

The Surgeon General is a military title of courtesy; they are, in effect, the general of all the medical doctors in the military.

Please, people, let's get this right.

http://organon.jimhufford.com/2010/04/weekend-wordery-attorneys-general-or-attorney-generals/

Robin said...

These semantic dodges are what the bulk of constitutional law is all about. And judges and constitutional scholars willingly employ these dodges and semantic games in discussing constitutional law. The court goes along with these semantics ... right to the point where they've gone too far and the credibility of the game snaps.

And often constitutional advocates lose sight of where that place is.

Bob Ellison said...

Ce n'est pas une taxe.

Lem said...

Its dejavu all over again..

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the—if he—if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement".

The Grey Man said...

Holy Selective Enforcement, Batman!!

Alex said...

Sic semper tyrannis

Lem said...

If this is not an Etch-a-Sketch I don't know what is.

traditionalguy said...

The Congress that creates the only surviving system of Health Care payments will soon be bragging about what they did.

Today's miasma of arguments will disappear the day there is no other legal way to insure medical costs because all actuarially sound policies are deemed not good enough to meet the mandated coverages.

Then the medical industry becomes the State in all of its lies and shams and bribes covering up our new North Korean/Cuban levels of care.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

"GENERAL VERRILLI: If they pay the tax penalty, they're in compliance with the law."

I think the flip side of that is that if you don't pay the tax penalty, they're not in compliance with the law, ie in violation of it. Perhaps that was the import of Breyer's "thank you."

Chip Ahoy said...

Jesus Christ, you caught the r in textural where textual is needed. You scare me some times.

Bender said...

Oh, we've decided to again do multiple posts of the same topic, thereby spliting comments. I wondered why I was the only one commenting at the first oral argument post.

I'll ask again here --

JUSTICE ALITO: Sub-section A says directly, "an applicable individual shall ensure that the individual has the minimum essential coverage." And you are saying it doesn't really mean that, that if you're not subject to the penalty, you're not under the obligation to maintain the minimum essential coverage?

GENERAL VERRILLI: That's correct.
pp. 47-48

Is this a fatal concession?

If the mandate applies only to those subject to the penalty, but the penalty applies only at then end of the tax year, at filing time, then there can be no "obligation to maintain the minimum essential coverage" at the beginning of that tax year.

Bender said...

Meanwhile, so much for the argument of "we need the individual mandate to get rid of free-riders who are costing us lots of money by going to the emergency room" --

JUSTICE ALITO: Suppose a person who has been receiving medical care in an emergency room -- has no health insurance but, over the years, goes to the emergency room when the person wants medical care -- goes to the emergency room, and the hospital says, well, fine, you are eligible for Medicaid, enroll in Medicaid. And the person says, no, I don't want that. I want to continue to get -- just get care here from the emergency room. Will the hospital be able to point to the mandate and say, well, you're obligated to enroll?
GENERAL VERRILLI: No, I don't think so, Justice Alito, for the same reason I just gave. I think that the -- that the answer in that situation is that that person, assuming that person -- well, if that person is eligible for Medicaid, they may well not be in a situation where they are going to face any tax penalty and therefore --
JUSTICE ALITO: No, they are not facing the tax penalty.
GENERAL VERRILLI: Right, right.
JUSTICE ALITO: So the hospital will have to continue to give them care and pay for it themselves, and not require them to be enrolled in Medicaid.
GENERAL VERRILLI: Right.
p.50

Lem said...

How do you argue against something that by its own admission is conveniently multiple things at the same time JUST SO it can avoid an argument against it?

What is that?
I mean, what would you call it?

Tank said...

Lem said...
How do you argue against something that by its own admission is conveniently multiple things at the same time JUST SO it can avoid an argument against it?

What is that?
I mean, what would you call it


A con?

Con man gotta con.

t-man said...

Can't they just throw out the law on the principle that a reasonable person has to understand the law to which he is subject?

Lem said...

I've heard of a subatomic particles existing at two places at the same time..

So maybe the madate thats a tax and a penalty and yet neither one is a quantum.. it goes back as well as foward in time.

How can anybody stand in its way?

The light is red is green but not yellow.

PackerBronco said...

Lem said...
How do you argue against something that by its own admission is conveniently multiple things at the same time JUST SO it can avoid an argument against it?


Why not just say the usual: "The HHS Secretary shall determine whether it's a penalty or a tax or whether it's mandatory or not." and be done with it?

Isn't that what congress elected to do with 90% of this monstrocity?

Mick said...

If the government can, in the interest of "lowering health care costs", force a US Citizen, under penalty of fine, to buy a product. Then the government can also say that US Citizens must buy a bicycle, or join a health club. The fact that certain groups, most all friendly to Obama, can "opt out" of the healthcare law further reaffirms it's unconstitutionality.

Lastly, why does the "law prof" not speak about the fact that Kagan, who was the Solicitor General that argued for the Constitutionality of Obamacare for the Obama administration, should definitely recuse.

Wally Kalbacken said...

As a proud Floridian, let me just say that in mine opinion, and this is just mine opinion, we have, by far, the hottest Attorney General in the known universe.

bagoh20 said...

This is all very impressive. I'm so proud, of my congress, my president, my nation. When does Bernie Madoff do his cameo appearance?

walter said...

"They have been at this an entire day and yet haven't broached the topic of the all important free birth control for women."

One mandate at a time.
It's a minty fresh IUD

prairie wind said...

Too bad the Republicans can't just go enthusiastic for Obamacare, and start making plans for what a Republican HHS secretary could decree. For example, under conservative "rule" (oh, those quotes aren't even necessary any more, are they?), the HHS secretary would decree that individuals should pay for birth control and all preventive healthcare, too. Another decree would be that all insurance companies must offer many different insurance policies so that an individual could find one to suit the individual.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. People tend to forget that decrees like that are only a good idea as long as your guy is in office.

Wally Kalbacken said...


http://assets.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/SFBJ%20Pam%20Bondi%20AGs%20550.jpg?v=1

Lem said...

I was thinking the same thing bagoh20..

The Bernie Madoff Mandate.

Just Lurking said...

It's like the Abbott & Costello "who's on first" routine, or maybe Catch -22 :

Person A: Under Obamacare, it is not against the law to not buy insurance.

Person B: Then why the penalty?

A: The penalty is only if you do not pay the tax.

B: And the tax is for what?

A: The tax is a penalty for not buying insurance.

B: But I thought not buying insurance was not against the law?

A: Correct: It is not against the law to not buy insurance.

B: How does this make any sense...

A: I don't know...

Both together: Third base!

(That's some catch that Catch-22.)

YoungHegelian said...

@Lem

I've heard of a subatomic particles existing at two places at the same time..

And strangely enough, with words as with subatomic particles, it all depends on "spin".

walter said...

"When does Bernie Madoff do his cameo appearance?"

Hmm...nice. But for this part, I was hoping for the AFLAC duck...although he doesn't really quack.

Lem said...

To find the constitutionality of this thing, the Supremes are going to have to do an olympian somersault followed by a triple axel while scoring a hail mary pass.. for good measure.

How does a court pronounce/bequeath the ultimate freedom of an individual over their own health/body as in Roe vs Wade and then turn around and says.. second thoughts.. the government really does know best in matters of your health/body.

m stone said...

I think Bender zeroed in on a key Zero mind melter, Alito's question and the General's affirmative: So the hospital will have to continue to give them care and pay for it themselves, and not require them to be enrolled in Medicaid.

Doesn't this raise yet other Constitutional law questions affecting the hospital and not the individual? Or is this another claim altogether?

Quayle said...

the HHS secretary would decree

Yes, I foresee a GOP Secretary of HHS decreeing a risky sexual behavior surcharge, to cover the costs of expensive AIDS and STD treatments.

This is the idiocy of the left - they so willingly fashion the tools by which their own pet oxes will be gorged.

Quayle said...

Ug. I mean 'gored.'

(I mean, today gorged means gored, doesn't it? Any word means any other word today.)

YoungHegelian said...

Can the SC find a law such a muddle that they essentially say we can't resolve the constitutional issue as written, and send the law back to the legislature for a re-write?

I mean this as a serious and not rhetorical question

Rusty said...

Lem

They're looking for a 'penumbra'.

Cedarford said...

As I understand it, the government, police and certain civilian emergency personnel are exempt from having to obey speed limit laws at their discretion in certain times they select.

From that exemption, should I then conclude there is no mandate on the lowly proles to obey speeding laws or be fined and imprisoned??

===========
BTW, Bender, your analysis is badly flawed that under Obamacare you can just visit emergency rooms and therefore avoid being forced to pay for insurance.

Scott M said...

BTW, Bender, your analysis is badly flawed that under Obamacare you can just visit emergency rooms and therefore avoid being forced to pay for insurance.

Usually when smart people tell stupid people that they are stupid, they give a reason for the stupidity, otherwise they end up looking stupid.

Lem said...

They're looking for a 'penumbra'.

Where no mean yes.. again ;)

Pastafarian said...

How did we end up here?

Is this the revenge of those nincompoops who were good at useless things like grammar, and horrible at useful things like mathematics and science?

All of our fates end up in the hands of ninnies playing word games.

Tom Armstrong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

"My" analysis?

When did I become Obama's Solicitor General?

It was an Obama Administration official who just told the Supreme Court that under ObamaCare, certain people -- the very people that ObamaCare was supposed to protect and provide "Affordable Health Care" -- can still just visit emergency rooms and not be forced to buy insurance or enroll in Medicaid.

Wally Kalbacken said...

I got your penumbra, right here!

Tom Armstrong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

@Pasta,

Is this the revenge of those nincompoops who were good at useless things like grammar, and horrible at useful things like mathematics and science?

Oh probably so. The guys who were good at math and science gave us the 2008 financial meltdown & AGW, respectively.

Tom Armstrong said...

Justice Breyer: "So, Mr. SG, [[QUACK]] this meat tastes like chicken, and because [[QUACK]][[QUACK]] leaner than the fat level that most people associ[[QUACK]] with duck, and lacks that [[QUACK]]ey taste we've come to think of when we think of [[QUACK]], then this is in [[QUACK]] chicken, is that [[QUACK]]? "

Solicitor General: "That's [[QUACK]]."

Hagar said...

Regardless of what the Solicitor General has stated today, if the ACA stands, both not buying insurance and not paying the fine/tax will turn out to be crimes.

GrandpaMark said...

The tax/penalty will be collected the same way your income tax is collected; by withholding money from your paycheck. You will get/not get a "refund" when you do your taxes in April.
Incidentally, ask any young working person how much income tax they paid.Many will believe they didn't pay any, they"got money back".

Bender said...

You think all those people who don't want to get a free picture ID to vote are going to want to go get signed up for some government program like Medicaid when they still will be able to show up at the ER and get free care that way?

Mick said...

The Marxist Kagan has an obligation to recuse. The fact that she does not says that our law is broken.

"Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will be in clear violation of federal law by virtue of her decision to hear the Affordable Care Act case coming before the Supreme Court today.

Upon joining the other justices to hear oral arguments she will fracture the federal statute which DEMANDS that judges recuse themselves from participation in a case “where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as council, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.” (1)

And according to emails obtained by the Media Research Center as the result of a 2010 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the DOJ, not only did she advise DOJ attorneys and express opinions concerning the merits of ObamaCare, she lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearings by answering “No” when asked specifically if she had any involvement in preparing the government’s defense for ObamaCare. (2)

ObamaCare was signed into law By Barack Hussein Obama on March 23rd, 2010 while Kagan was United States Solicitor General, a month and a half before she was nominated to the Court. As Solicitor General it was Kagan’s sole responsibility to represent the Department of Justice and federal government in actions coming before the Supreme Court."

http://www.coachisright.com/justice-kagan-breaks-federal-law-in-order-to-rule-obamacare-constitutional/

Lem said...

I'm at page 47 of the transcript..

You are not at page 47 unless the HHS Secretary says you are at page 47.

Bender said...

One interesting aspect of the multi-day arguments is that now the advocates will be able to tee off on what was said before by the opposing side.

Reading the argument today, it is clear that the Administration gave opponents more ammunition than it gained.

walter said...

With all the duck poop on the floor, someone has some 'splainin' to do.

walter said...

Maybe Kagan gets out of recusing herself because none of her past experience was as a judge. It's another etch a sketch thang. Different hat..err robe..and all.

Lem said...

Reading the argument today, it is clear that the Administration gave opponents more ammunition than it gained.

It doesn't matter..

The Supremes are just going to go through the motions.

Bob Ellison said...

But Lem, will they feel the motions in their briefs?

Ah ha ha ha ha! Maybe I'm not the first one on that. Hmm. Maybe it's time to make dinner.

Tim said...

The individual mandate is problematic, no doubt.

But missed in all the discussion of the individual mandate is the ACA's requirement (ACA Sec. 1511-1513) for employers with 51 employees or more to provide health coverage for their employees, upon penalty of $2,000 per employee.

That's what we call "an inducement for job creation."

caplight45 said...

Chip Ahoy said...
"Jesus Christ, you caught the r in textural where textual is needed. You scare me some times.

Would you expect any less from Jesus Christ?

What Traditionalguy said at 2:26

Chip Ahoy said...

My tingly spidey senses are telling me this is going to be a very serious week.

cubanbob said...

Bender said...
"My" analysis?

When did I become Obama's Solicitor General?

It was an Obama Administration official who just told the Supreme Court that under ObamaCare, certain people -- the very people that ObamaCare was supposed to protect and provide "Affordable Health Care" -- can still just visit emergency rooms and not be forced to buy insurance or enroll in Medicaid.

3/26/12 4:09 PM

So do the hospitals then get to sue the government for compensation under the takings clause?

If you are at present not required to pay the penalty but the government can withold it from your refund how is that not an enforced penalty? If one were to pay to the penny and not owe one cent more in taxes but refuses to pay the penalty how does the IRS collect the penalty? How is that equal application of the law?

I doubt a panel of quantum physicist could determine at any point in time what is the tax and what is the penalty or if either exist.

cubanbob said...

Tim said...
The individual mandate is problematic, no doubt.

But missed in all the discussion of the individual mandate is the ACA's requirement (ACA Sec. 1511-1513) for employers with 51 employees or more to provide health coverage for their employees, upon penalty of $2,000 per employee.

That's what we call "an inducement for job creation."

3/26/12 5:09 PM

A great incentive for small businesses to split in to separate corporations and keep the payroll under the wire.

Tim said...

"My tingly spidey senses are telling me this is going to be a very serious week."

It is certainly a very important week. It might be the most critical week for freedom in this Republic since, well, I'd rather not exaggerate (better historians than me could suggest an equally critical time), but for a very, very long time.

Tim said...

"A great incentive for small businesses to split in to separate corporations and keep the payroll under the wire."

Right.

Isn't it wonderful that all the idiots who voted for Obama have now, prospectively, given cause for all sorts of economically inefficient work-a-rounds to economic growth and job creation?

It's as if the morons have no sense whatsoever as to how the real world works.

It's all a pipe dream of hope and change at the end of the rainbow highway ridden by golden unicorns.

Jess said...

@cubanbob
A great incentive for small businesses to split in to separate corporations and keep the payroll under the wire.

Or maybe to decide that at some point, one has made enough money, and that the business needn't grow and hire.

Titus said...

Can you get your tits bigger with Obamacare?

Big tits.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

A great incentive for small businesses to split in to separate corporations and keep the payroll under the wire.

Bingo.

OR...just fire a couple of employees and stay under the magic 51 employees.

Even with more than 51 employees and given the option of either providing a Cadillacs mandated insurance program at approximately $20,000 a year per employee OR....paying $2000 penalty per employee...

Gee Bob...I'll take door number two.

Sorry employees...you are on your own. Go talk to Obama and Pelosi...she'll tell you what is in the bill now.

Roger J. said...

This is what the United States America and its constitutional elements have become. Truly sad. A president conniving with the President of the USSR on an open mike; a legislative branch that has no idea what they created; and an administration arguing in increasingly diminishing concentric circles to justify an incoherent piece of legislation. And a SCOTUS who should, IMO, say: come back and talk to us when you get your shit together. Shame on us--we elect these fucking morons,and their idiocy is a direcly reflection of us, as we are the electorate.

God help my my kids and grandkids.

Lem said...

The Supremes are like a jury in personal injury case.. they cant wait to lavishly hand out the money.

They are going to find a way.. even if its a ridiculous one.

Carnifex said...

Any supreme court justice who actually listens to this drivel and is not offended by it, has sunk far into a senile dementia that makes Alzheimers seem like Pythagorean Greece.

And as for Breyer buying into it, yes he is a retard.

But then he agreed with the Kelo decision too.

I think the country would be better if fewer lawyers were seated on the court, and more skilled laborers like carpenters, and electricians were seated instead.. We can listen to this shit and recognize it for shit.

The nine people whose sole job is to decide whether the government is getting too intrusive, are vetted, hired, and paid, by the very government they are supposed to be impartial in judging? And their gig is for life? Color me unimpressed.

Roger J. said...

Washington DC delenda est

Lem said...

Aren't we grand?
look we gave people health care..

It will be a miracle if they don't let it stand as is.

Joe Schmoe said...

26 states are opposing?

That makes 31 states not opposing it?

Pogo said...

Verrilli is trembling.


VERRILLI I'll tell you the truth...


Alito smiles.

ALITO That's good. Now what's it called?

VERRILLI A... a tax.

ALITO A tax? Or not a tax?

VERRILLI Not a tax.

Alito stares at him. He's been charged with anger and when Verrilli says this he explodes. He hits V. full in the face.
Verrilli stares back at him. The blow has forced tears from his eyes, but he makes no move, not even to defend himself
.
ALITO I said the truth!

VERRILLI It's a tax.

Alito slaps him again.

VERRILLI It's not a tax.

Alito slaps him again.

VERRILLI A tax.

He hits V. again.

VERRILLI A tax, not a tax.

He belts V. finally, knocking him into a cheap Chinese vase which shatters and he collapses on the sofa, sobbing.

ALITO I said I want the truth.

VERRILI (almost screaming it)
It's a tax and not a tax!


Forget about it, Antony, it's Leftytown.

Chip Ahoy said...

Maybe it's like wax on wax off.

Rick said...

Breyer buying the government's argument? That's really sticking your neck out.

Lem said...

My impression is that most people link Orwell's 1984 nightmare with surveillance.. not with the corruption of language.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So maybe the madate thats a tax and a penalty and yet neither one is a quantum..

Since naming laws after individuals is all the rage nowadays, I suggest we call this one Schr├Ádinger's Tax.

walter said...

Let's just hope there is no choking.

Hagar said...

Beat me to it Paul, but I still think that when they open the box we will find that the cat is very dead.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I notice now that someone in the earlier thread beat us both to it, Hagar.

Lem said...

The purposes of the nature of the inquiry we will conduct tomorrow is different than today..

Today the cat is alive..

However, it would be inappropriate, and probably illegal in many states, to skin the cat while it is alive..

Lem said...

wrong link..

A live and dead cat here.

Sue D'Nhym said...

"I think Justice Breyer was buying that argument."

Naturally. It gives him the result he wants while providing him with some pretense towards having a reason- something the left wing of the court generally feels no need to have.

Lawyer Mom said...

Hmmph. Was hoping that by tonight I'd be chowing on my chuck-Wickard dinner.

Indigo Red said...

"GENERAL VERRILLI: That's the essence they called it a penalty. They didn't give any other textural [sic]..."

Verrilli actually says textural. It's quite plain in the recording. Every time he said it, I wanted to slap him and say, "It's TEXTUAL, moron!" But, he is much smarter than me.

ChicagoXile said...

Perhaps this is the cat you're looking for. Not alive and dead, but two-faced.

http://usat.ly/nKYcci

Scott M said...

God help my my kids and grandkids.

Well, at least we took care of that pesky USSR.

SGT Ted said...

These are supposed to be the top legal minds in the country, arguing stupid shit like that with a straight face, thinking they are so smart.

And they wonder why lawyers are held in such low esteem.

prairie wind said...

A great incentive for small businesses to split in to separate corporations and keep the payroll under the wire.

Oh, I think Kathleen Sebelius has something up her sleeve for businesses who try to get tricky.

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atomicmonkeyactionsquad said...

Hat tip to TosaGuy, whose comment "This isn't law, it's Calvinball" got mentioned as the link (or quote) of the day over at IMAO.us!

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