Two Reading Lessons from the Supreme Court

By George Will

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court frequently ponders arcane matters. But this week, however, in oral arguments concerning two cases, the justices’ task will be to teach remedial reading to Congress and to Arizona.

On Wednesday, the justices will consider this: Did Congress mean what it said when, with patently coercive intent, it stipulated in the Affordable Care Act that subsidies for persons compelled to purchase health insurance can be disbursed only through exchanges “established by the state”? If so, billions have been illegally disbursed through federal exchanges in the 34 states that resisted the ACA’s pressure to establish exchanges.

On Monday, however, the court will consider whether the Constitution’s Framers meant what they said when, in the Election Clause, they assigned an important function to each state’s “legislature.” This clause says: “The times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.”

Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) supposedly is a better idea. It was created by a state constitutional amendment passed by voter initiative. The commission is composed of five members. Four of them are chosen by the majority and minority leaders of the two parties in the two legislative chambers — but these leaders must pick from a list of just 25 (of the 4.9 million Arizonans of voting age) selected by another state commission, one for appellate court appointments. No member of the Legislature may serve on the IRC. It draws congressional district maps that are not subject to even such checks as a gubernatorial veto or referendum. The Legislature’s role is reduced to submitting nonbinding recommendations to the IRC — “a function without consequence,” as the Legislature says in its brief to the court. …

[Published on Human Events, Read More Here]

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