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10 Polemics from the Supreme Court Decision

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 2, 2012

One may be loath to read all 193 pages of Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including dissents and footnotes.

But some of it is quite instructive, even entertaining, and in some places, downright sarcastic. The Justices wrote with some passion, and used several catch phrases to signify major themes in their legal wrangling.

We highlighted a few. To see the context, and perhaps select your own, visit the Supreme Court website.


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1. "Economic dragooning"
Chief Justice John Roberts used this phrase in his majority argument striking down the PPACA provision that states refusing to expand Medicaid programs to people earning up to 133% of the federal poverty level would lose all Medicaid funding. One definition of the word dragooning (we had to look it up) means to compel by violent measures or threats.

"The threatened loss of over 10% of a State's overall budget is economic dragooning that leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion," Roberts wrote.

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2 comments on "10 Polemics from the Supreme Court Decision"


Stuart Showalter (7/2/2012 at 10:50 AM)
The [INVALID] marks in the previous comment were meant to be dashes.

Stuart Showalter (7/2/2012 at 10:24 AM)
Cheryl's article says, "Ginsberg implied that her fellow Justice is ill-tempered and surly." When I read the opinion I wasn't sure if that was the meaning she intended for the word crabbed or whether she might have meant "complicated and difficult to understand." Or do you suppose she was being clever and leaving the interpretation to the reader? I would like to think that the justices are not ill-tempered and surly [INVALID] Scalia to the contrary notwithstanding [INVALID] but I'm not sure.