The case “King v. Burwell” has once again divided the Supreme Court along ideological lines. The liberal justice such as Associate Justice Elaine Kagan believe the federal subsidies were intended to be applied to anyone eligible. She said it was the correct view to take when looking at the law in context. Merely focusing on four words limiting the subsidies to exchanges run by the individual states is too narrow. Quite likely, Justice Kagan believes the health care law is serving a higher public purpose and should deserve the benefit of the doubt rather than suffer scrutiny over dogmatic interpretations of the law as she posted via LinkedIn.
However, Associate Justice Samuel Alito issued the most pointed question to Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Obama’s Solicitor General, when he asked why he is making the argument that the four words “established by the state” should be interpreted by the High Court differently than what it is understood to mean. The words, which were written relative to the federal subsidies for Obamacare, literally mean they were available only to state run exchanges. Justice Alito pointed out that if Congress did not intend to make that the case they why didn’t they phrase it using language such as “established under the act” or “established within the State”. Justice Kennedy expressed his concern that if the Congress had intended the subsidies should apply to all types of exchanges, why did the IRS have to make the call to extend billions of dollars to states using the federal exchange.