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March 5, 2015

Five Takeaways From the King v. Burwell Arguments

As a matter of statutory construction, this is a very straightforward case. This point was made beautifully clear by Professor -- excuse me, Justice -- Elena Kagan, who did us all the favor of coming up with a well-polished hypothetical posed to the able Michael Carvin, attorney for the petitioners, that demonstrated the fallacy of this latest right-wing hit on the ACA. Kagan's hypothetical case (imagine a world without hypotheticals!) made the point that all text has context, and that specific instructions need to be read as part of an overall program and direction. As she put it to Mr. Carvin, whom she expertly snared in her net, "what you're saying is that the answer to the question really does depend on context, and it depends on an understanding of the law as a whole...."

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