Midday Commentary on hours-old News — June 25, 2015

Pretty big news out of SCOTUS this morning as they perform some pretty amazing linguistic gymnastics (and we know all about linguistic gymnastics around here) to come up with a 6-3 ruling in favor of the ACA Comeonallowing the funding of a federally run exchange. Which, of course, flies in the face of a plain reading of the law, but who reads plain language anymore, really?

Justice Scalia, who can be a bit of a — what’s the technical term … dill hole? — still knows how to write a wicked dissent:

“Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites. I dissent.”

Beau Sorenson at the Hub gives us a lucky 13 times Scalia lights it up.

Because Utah requires a federal exchange and not a state-based exchange, the ruling means that people using it still get the subsidies.  (Trib)

Meanwhile, the Gang of Six continues to try and find a solution as to whether Utah goes full Medicaid expansion per Gov. Herbert or whether there’s another way. I’m not sure the ruling provides any help, other than to insure that the federal government can continue to use your great-grandkids’ future money to pay for your medical bills now.

• Sim Gill and Troy Rawlings are, shall we say, less than pleased about the feds recent behavior toward Jeremy Johnson. The Trib says:

“Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, who have been involved in the probe for years, say the U.S. attorney’s office for Utah showed utter disregard for an immunity agreement they extended to Jeremy Johnson — obtaining evidence and testimony from the St. George businessman in violation of the deal — a move they fear could jeopardize or at least hamper their prosecutions.”

I’m wound around the axel on this one, so I’m probably not the best person to comment on a situation in which the feds continue to do what they always do, which is whatever they want no matter the impact, and in which the local DA’s don’t seem to be able to investigate or prosecute their way out of a wet paper bag.

But I’m not the best person to comment on this one.

• Utah’s is becoming a reasonably diverse place. And new Census numbers show why. Lee Davidson at the Trib gives us the no-nonsense lead:

“Minorities provided nearly two-thirds of Salt Lake County’s population growth last year. Statewide, they accounted for more than 40 percent of the increase.”

The story is packed with data — really, they should have made it a three or four story breakdown — and well worth the read.

• Commissioner Lyman won’t be getting $100,000 of taxpayer money to defend himself against a federal conviction, but we’ve all been encouraged to pitch in to help voluntarily. Gov. Herbert is pitching in $10,000. (KUER)

And if none of that interests you, perhaps staring at this game of Snake for a while will.


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