When Words Don’t Mean…

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that words don’t mean what they mean. To be less vague, the Supreme Court ruled that while ACA was written to say that subsidies were only available through health care exchanges established by states, there was nothing wrong with the government handing out subsidies to individuals who received health care through the federal exchange. See more details here.

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that words don’t mean what they mean.

Now, I’m not saying those who are less fortunate shouldn’t receive subsidies. But, what we’re dealing with here is lawmakers writing one thing, then enforcing it another way. There is no argument of what the lawmakers wanted to do: allow all citizens within a range to get subsidies when applying for insurance. But, the law was written in a manner that attempted to force states to bend to the governments will. Unfortunately for the government, the states did not comply.

Chief Justice Roberts said it himself, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.” So, in other words, Roberts chose to interpret something that wasn’t there. The judicial system is meant to interpret what is written in law, not ignore what was written for their favorable translation of intent.

If a traffic sign is posted at 84 instead of 48, as long as the sign is posted, the law is upheld at 84. If the law is written one way (and clearly that way), it needs to be upheld in that way. If the justices were doing the job like it was meant to be done, they’d throw out the badly written law and tell Congress to fix it. Unfortunately, we have a set of justices not focused on interpreting the law, but more focused on the political consequences of their actions. But, this decision not surprising since it was foreshadowed in 2012.

When the justices decided the health care law was legal, they showed they no longer cared to interpret the law and instead wanted to effect political outcomes. This has been a pattern in the rulings, and it’s a scary one for sure.

So clearly, words have no meaning.

If words on a page say one thing but we define them to mean something different, no one can be taken at their word. What contract can be upheld? What moral code can be concrete? Ladies and gentlemen, we’re now in a time where dictionaries aren’t needed. What is a dictionary worth if the definition has no meaning? More importantly, how can we communicate when we cannot agree on what words mean.

I don’t feel I need to belabor the point. Parallel’s can be drawn all over, moral relativism can be discussed, but ultimately this is our choice to make:

Do we want words to mean something or not?

The decision is ours, and it appears the decision has already been made.