A Moment of Schadenfreude

So before moving on from today’s SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell, let’s luxuriate for a moment into scalded-cat reactions of those conservatives who have already offered comments.

At National Review‘s The Corner, Quin Hilyer had this to say about the Chief Justice:

With today’s Obamacare decision, John Roberts confirms that he has completely jettisoned all pretense of textualism. He is a results-oriented judge, period, ruling on big cases based on what he thinks the policy result should be or what the political stakes are for the court itself. He is a disgrace. That is all.

The headline was: “Chief Justice Roberts Has Officially Gone Native in Washington.”

This theme of personal, deliberate betrayal by Roberts was ratcheted up a few notches at Red State by frequent diarist Leon Wolf, who after an extensive and unintentionally hilarious series of assertions that not one person who ever went to law school could honestly agree with the majority opinion, delivered this anathema:

One wonders how many decades of electing Republicans to the Presidency are needed before the Supreme Court finds itself reformed in all the many ways we are continually promised by Republican candidates. One further wonders how long we will continue deluding ourselves into believing that it will ever actually happen.

More importantly, John Roberts has now been fully exposed for what he is – a craven, unprincipled hack, determined to protect the interests of his own power and his institution’s prestige over and above the interests of doing his job well and honestly. In other words, he’s basically the Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of the Supreme Court.

Ouchy ouchy.

At the Federalist, Ben Domenech took the “heightening the contradictions” approach:

[T]his SCOTUScare ruling presents an accurate reflection of the reality in Washington: that American politics no longer has real checks and balances. The rules no longer apply. Words mean whatever we say they mean at the time that we say them, neither more nor less. Welcome to the Cartman presidency, where the executive does whatever he wants, up to and including making IRS bureaucrats decide a multi-billion dollar issue. Think the text means exactly what it says? Judicial fiat says lol, jk.

In the context of a nation governed by men and not laws, arguments from the establishment about process, restraint, and the normal give and take of what used to be the American political system for most of the Twentieth Century are going to become weaker and weaker. For the faction that demands dramatic change, the gradualist approach favored by Republican leaders who yearn for the status quo politics of the before time – before the bailouts, before Obama, before the Tea Party – is revealed as a myth.

Both Domenech and Hot Air‘s Ed Morrisey observed that the decision did keep congressional Republicans from “caving” on the subsidies and and keeping Obamacare alive with their own hands (I suspect Ramesh Ponnuru’s prediction earlier this week that this would happen is achieving the status of instant impossible-to-disprove CW).

And now the 335 Republican presidential candidates are starting to weigh in, with Mike Huckabee first out of the box (per TPM’s Ahiza Garcia):

“Today’s King v. Burwell decision, which protects and expands ObamaCare, is an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny,” Huckabee said in his statement. “Our Founding Fathers didn’t create a ‘do-over’ provision in our Constitution that allows unelected, Supreme Court justices the power to circumvent Congress and rewrite bad laws.”

I can only begin to imagine what Bobby (Nobody Can Get to the Right of Me) Jindal will have to say.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.