Rule of Law Dealt a Blow by the Supreme Court


Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government in King v. Burwell, the lawsuit coordinated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) that challenged the IRS’ rewriting of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. At issue in the case was the legality of an IRS regulation that made federal subsidies available on, the federal health insurance exchange, in addition to state-based exchanges explicitly mentioned in the law.

The four plaintiffs in the case, all Virginia residents, David King, Brenda Levy, Rose Luck, and Douglas Hurst responded in a joint statement:

“We are deeply disappointed with today’s Supreme Court decision because it hurts Americans like us in two ways.  First, it threatens something that our democracy is based on–the rule of law. And second, it allows the IRS to keep offering nationwide subsidies even though the law that Congress passed says otherwise.  That unfairly restricts the health insurance choices of millions of people, and it threatens their jobs as well.

Reforming Obamacare has always been a job for Congress.  But now Congress has another job as well—to protect the rule of law and prevent agencies from overreaching or abusing their power. We sincerely hope that Congress can do both jobs. ”

CEI’s General Counsel Sam Kazman highlighted the decision as a tragedy for the rule of law:

“Today’s ruling is a tragedy for the rule of law in our country. The Court has allowed the IRS to rewrite a law enacted by Congress in a ruling that undercuts the Constitution’s separation of powers. For this reason, it is all the more important that Congress exercise even more vigilance in keeping the executive branch and its agencies in check. The rule of law is the foundation of our democracy, and defending it is something that Congress must do even as it deals with the problems created by Obamacare.”

For more information about the case and to read the full decision, please visit CEI’s resource page on King v. Burwell.