Law360 featured Michael Best attorneys Kirk A. Pelikan and Charles P. Stevens in the article "Attorneys React To Supreme Court's ACA Save" on June 25, 2015.
"The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that consumer subsidies can continue flowing through all of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, protecting tax credits distributed to nearly 6.5 million consumers on 34 federally established exchanges. Here, attorneys tell Law360 why the decision is significant.
Kirk A. Pelikan, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP: Certainly the decision keeps the employer mandate in place in the 36 states that did not adopt exchanges. However, the decision also signals a departure from certain standards of statutory construction. Effectively, the court has said that while plain meaning should control the interpretation of a statute, it will ignore natural reading of language where the content and structure of the act compel it to do so. Chief Justice Roberts attempts to rein this result back in the last section of his decision, but the effects will, we think, be far-reaching.
Charlie Stevens, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP: Justice Roberts admitted in his majority opinion that the ACA ‘contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting,’ and that ‘the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.’ In his dissent, Justice Scalia spoke more plainly indicating, the ‘Court tries to palm off the pertinent statutory phrase as “inartful drafting.” [citation omitted.] This Court, however, has no free-floating power to rescue Congress from its drafting errors.’ And further, ‘the more unnatural the proposed interpretation of a law, the more compelling the contextual evidence must be to show that it is correct. Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of.’”
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