The 7 Best Lines from Justice Scalia’s Obamacare Dissent

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Supporters of the Affordable Care Act won the battle of opinions at the Supreme Court Thursday, but critics may win the battle of words.

The 6-3 majority opinion in King v. Burwell upholds subsidies to millions of Americans buying health insurance through Obamacare, but it does so in relatively bloodless language about deferring to congressional intent.

But the fiery dissent from conservative Justice Antonin Scalia — joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito — features a number of zingers, applause lines and harshly worded criticism.

Here’s a look at seven of his best lines:

Scalia starts by bashing the majority opinion:

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.

Then he shows how depressed the case makes him:

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.”

Then he questions his colleagues’ motivation:

Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

Then he uses a word from the 19th century to criticize their logic:

The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.

Then he uses a euphemism for what he thinks of their logic your grandma might have used:

Pure applesauce.

Then he suggests an alternate name for Obamacare:

We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

Then instead of ending with the typical “I respectfully dissent,” he writes this:

I dissent.

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