Look out – the Supreme Court’s black-robed gang of far-right ideologues are rampaging again! The five-man clan is firing potshots at Obamacare – and their political recklessness endangers justice, the Court’s own integrity, and the health of millions of innocent bystanders.
In an attempt to override the law, these so-called “justices” have jumped on a wagonload of legalistic BS named King v. Burwell. But that case is a very rickety legal vehicle. It sprang from a frivolous lawsuit concocted in 2010 by a right-wing front group funded by such self-serving oligarchs as the Koch brothers, Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. The chairman of the front group was neither delicate nor discrete in describing the purpose of the lawsuit as a raw political assault on Obamacare: “This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene,” he howled at the time. “I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart ... I don’t care who does it, whether it’s some court someplace or the United States Congress.”
So much for the intellectual depth of the King case, which was fabricated on a twisted interpretation of only four words in the 906-page health care law. The plaintiffs claim that the law prohibits insurance subsidies to the millions of low and middle-income Americans living in the 36 states that did not set up a state exchange – thus making health care unaffordable to millions of hard-working Americans and small business who are purchasing insurance on the federal exchange, essentially nullifying the heart of Obamacare.
Both the district and appeals courts rejected that perverse ideological tommyrot, and even the nation’s largest health care provider called the claim “absurd.” Nonetheless, the gang of Supremes grabbed the case as a chance to wreak their own brand of ideological havoc on a law they personally dislike.
By taking over this case, these Republican judges have openly become partisans, thrusting the Supreme Court itself into the forefront of the GOP’s war against Obamacare – and against Obama himself.
While we know that an anti-government group funded by plutocratic corporate powers is behind the lawsuit intended to terminate Obamacare – who are the four people who are out front as the actual plaintiffs in the case?
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is the corporate front but it had no standing to sue, so it had to find some actual people who would claim they’ve been harmed by the health care law. Thus David King, a 64-year-old Vietnam vet, was recruited to be the lead plaintiff in King v. Burwell, which is now in the Supreme Court’s hands. He and three co-plaintiffs were chosen to put sympathetic human faces on what essentially is a right-wing political ploy.
But who are they? An investigative article in Mother Jones magazine by Stephanie Mencimer reveals that King’s modest income as a self-employed limo driver exempts him from Obamacare’s insurance mandate – so he’s done no harm by the law and, therefore, has no standing to sue. Moreover, as a veteran, he’s entitled to VA care and, in a few months, to Medicare, making him double-covered by public health programs. Mr. King’s main reason for being on CEI’s lawsuit appears to be that he loathes Obama, referring to him as “a joke” and “the idiot in the White House.”
None of the three other recruits seem to have been harmed by Obamacare, either. “I don’t know how I got on this case,” says Brenda Levy, adding that, “I don’t like the idea of throwing people off their health insurance.” Then there’s Rose Luck, whose low income also exempts her from the law’s mandates. But she too fiercely loathes Obama. She posted on her Facebook page that she “wouldn’t admit he was our president,” calling him, “‘The anti-Christ,” who only won the Oval Office because “he got his Muslim people to vote for him.”
This lawsuit was a fraud from the get-go – and if five Supremes use it to take away the health coverage of some 10 million Americans, they’ll also be exposed as rank political hatchetmen masquerading as “justices.”
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist and author.