See the four words above. They don’t mean what they say. So says the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
Are you going to believe the highest court in the land or your lying eyes?
It’s one thing for words to literally mean what they say. It’s quite another for some group of unelected officials to interpret words for the uninformed masses as to their actual intent. It doesn’t matter how clear words may seem once you enter the malleable realm of intent. The SCOTUS believes intentions speak louder than words.
The Court has determined that the overarching intent of the Affordable Care Act nullified words that were embedded into the law. It treated the phrase “established by the state” as though it was some typo or misplaced artifact that somehow insinuated itself inside the framework of the law by mistake.
This isn’t the first time the Court has worked this feat of linguistic legerdemain. Three years ago, it translated the word individual “mandate” to mean individual “tax” for slow-witted citizens who might get confused as to the real meaning. After all, it’s much easier for someone to understand a three-letter word than a seven-letter word.
In both cases, congress had debated issues ad nauseum and their deliberations led to the precise words written into the Affordable Care Act. In the case ruled upon today, the actual intent was that each state literally establish an exchange where health insurance could be purchased. If a state, as opposed to the federal government, did not establish an exchange, it would not be entitled to federal subsidies. Hence, the explicit words “established by the state” were inserted into the law and they literally meant what they said. In the case ruled upon three years ago, congress deliberately avoided the word “tax” because it didn’t want people to think that their taxes would go up, if they didn’t obtain federally approved health insurance. Congress instead decided to use the less intrusive and less loathsome term “mandate,” and they did so deliberately. In both cases, the Court decided to reinterpret explicitly intended words to suit the outcome the Court desired.
In both cases, the SCOTUS believed that it would deal a fatal blow to the entire law, if it accepted words written into the law in plain English. In other words, the end justified the means. It had to be done. The greater good demanded that we follow the Court down the rabbit hole to a land where words aren’t what they appear to be. Apparently, Supreme Court Justices believe they are clever politicians who know what is best for us rather than impartial judges who render verdicts based on the letter of the law passed by congress and signed by the president. The spirit of the law, as they see it, trumps the letter of the law. In both cases, however, the Court overruled the letter and spirit of the law, as reflected in words that couldn’t be any clearer.
We had a president not long ago, who actually said in a deposition, that it all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is. Apparently, the SCOTUS was not about to be upstaged by a mere president.
One can be forgiven for questioning what is real anymore. We used to say that people who were challenged by reality were candidates for the funny farm. But times are changing and today’s ruling by the SCOTUS proves it.
If words don’t mean what they say, then what does anything mean? Why should an ancient relic called a Constitution be trusted when a thing called a dictionary can’t be trusted? If words don’t count for much anymore and intentions rule the roost, then we are well on the road to hell, which is also paved with good intentions.