The Widdershins

Blindly unjust daisy plucking…

Posted on: February 12, 2015

Afternoon Widdershins. To keep the old synapses snapping, here’s a short post about marriage equality. Spoiler alert, it Daisy Pluckingisn’t one of those racy essays about couples’ plumbing or an IKEA’esque instructional of how Part A should fit into Part B. Rather, it is a calculated tale about our Chief Justice being nothing more than a robe-wearing daisy plucker who mumbles, “They love me, they love me not.”

I encourage you to read the entire Emily Bazelon essay entitled Marriage of Convenience. Her premise is decidedly unhappy-making, but well-worth the investment of time since it’s never too early to start preparing for bad news.

Ms. Bazelon’s premise:

…Same sex marriage does well in polls these days, and a Supreme Court ruling sanctioning it nationwide would probably poll well, too. And that sort of popular validation benefits Chief Justice John Roberts. Though he hasn’t supported same-sex marriage, he is highly attuned to the way the public perceives the court. His legacy as chief is tied to the standing of the institution he leads.

Marriage of convenience wedding cake…Roberts will probably have more chances, over time, to accomplish what appears to be his primary long-term goal: to move the court in a more conservative direction on a range of issues. (Corporate friendly/race unfriendly.)

…[T]he court has fared better with the public when it pairs conservative decisions with progressive ones. And same-sex marriage is part of that equation. In 2013, the term ended with a splashy ruling in which five justices — Roberts not among them — struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricted federal benefits for spouses to male-female couples. This decision came one day after the court gutted a central component of the Voting Rights Act, in a 5-to-4 decision written by Roberts.

The win for same-sex marriage overshadowed the loss for voting rights — an abrupt end to a key anti-discrimination provision, which had been hard-won by civil rights activists.

Next month there’s a new challenge to Obamacare manifested in the American Enterprise Institute funded case of King v. Burwell. In that it is before the Supreme Court is laughable, not just to supporters of the ACA, but also to conservative activists and health care providers like HCA.

At its heart the King case centers around four words inartfully phrased in the 900+ page legislation. Not to fear, such things happen so often there is well-settled Supreme Court precedent to handle such matters — ignore it and defer to the expertise of the agency implementing the legislation. In addition, for the plaintiffs to be successful they must wrap the case in tissues of lies and the Supreme Court, among other things, must embrace those lies and completely ignore the legislative history — a thing unheard of in American jurisprudence.

What a holding in King would do is strip subsidies from those enrolling through the federal exchange when their home states failed to enact a state exchange. It would strip subsidies from millions (the Rand Corporation estimates 10 million), increase premiums, cause cataclysmic confusion, and sow instability in the marketplace. Excising those offending four words and fixing the ACA in a Republican controlled Congress has a likelihood just below that of Mitch McConnell being named “Sexiest Man Alive”.

King v. Burwell:  A second chance to make a first class bad decision...

King v. Burwell: A second chance to make a first class bad decision…

Three years ago when the ACA was before the Court, Roberts joined the progressives to uphold the law, but he gave conservatives a little noticed gift — allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, thereby denying access to millions in 23 states. The farce of the King case will rip that hole in the safety net to a gaping maw 34-states wide.

If Roberts joins the four conservative justices this time around in this laughably incoherent, meritless case, the daisy scorecard will be evened up by the same-sex marriage case on the “they love me, they love me not” scale since health care for millions, courtesy of Chief Justice Roberts, will have been right and royally plucked.

Just for the record, it isn’t supposed to work like this, but it is something I thought you might like to know. Also, “plucked” wasn’t my first word choice.

Take the conversation in any direction you might like.

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17 Responses to "Blindly unjust daisy plucking…"

Prolix, you have a gift for making the arcane understandable. Great post.

Here’s a link to Gail Collins’ column, both supportive and on point.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/12/opinion/gail-collins-an-ode-to-obamacare.html

@1, Thanks Chat, what a wonderful compliment.

And thanks for the link to Gail Collins’ column — she is picking up on the same points that sent “Mother Jones” into a set-your-hair-on-fire Watusi dance, but the point is an excellent one and is legally critical.

To bring a case you have to have standing. To have standing, among other things you must in some way be harmed — there’s got to be an ouch and the law has to leave a mark, so to speak — in the King v. Burwell case, it has been a wink and a nod when the issue has been raised. It has been raised before the Supremes by motion, let’s see if anything happens. If it does, the appeal would be dismissed as improvidently granted. If it doesn’t, you will see the dissenters gnash their teeth down to the nubbins on the point in their opinions.

There was an excellent article in Bloomberg on Obamacare and how terrible it is. The author mentions the high deductible of most of the bronze plans…that deductible being $5,372. He also mentions how high the deductibles are even in the silver or some of the gold plans. And then to bolster his argument, he does the incredibly stupid thing of comparing Obamacare policies to those provided through company or group plans. I cannot think of a time when individual health policies were as generous as some group/company plans can be. Once he took the argument there, basically comparing apples to oranges, he lost his argument imho.

Is the author unaware that no one can purchase Obamacare if they have access to other insurance?

Prolix, you have email when you have a chance to check it.

Oh I’m sure he’s aware. I used the term excellent in jest because he lost all credibility when he tried to compare apples/oranges.

For example, this:

cost sharing on the exchanges is still typically far higher than for the employer-based coverage that about half of Americans still have. Maybe that’s a necessary price to pay for extending government-subsidized health care. But it also means that when people complain about the high cost of care, they’re not wrong.

I would argue that even before Obamacare, the metal plans, etc. people buying individual health policies did not get as much bang for the buck as those having group or company sponsored plans. It was just a stupid article and comparison. It would have made more sense to compare individual plans before and after implementation of the A.C.A.

You can tell how close it is to actual Mardi Gras day by this handy-dandy chart of King Cake consumption drawn up by a twitter person. Chart has no valid statistical meaning, but it is fun.

Oh my…a “difficulty” at a Mardi Gras ball, 1845.

Fatal difficulties are the worst.

Great King cakes chart. Love King cakes, cannot find in Miami area. Love the praline cakes, the cream cheese and strawberry cakes.

I was going to order one for the doc and went to websites of two different bakeries and they had banners on there saying they weren’t taking anymore pre Mardi Gras mail orders! M.G. isn’t until next Tuesday! 😯

LOL! Lil booby’s No-Go zones from his London speech!

He’s a no-go zone himself.

I would want one of these.

Bon temps!

@16: It beats those things from The Scooter Store! 😆

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