Annnnnd there we go: Mitch McConnell flat-out states the SCOTUS is simply a tool for the GOP
Regarding the King v Burwell ACA case which is headed to the Supreme Court soon (with a ruling likely sometime next summer, after the 2nd Open Enrollment Period is long behind us), Mitch McConnell had this to say this morning (h/t to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post for the story):
The moment, which was flagged by a Democrat, comes in an interview that McConnell gave to the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib this morning (see second video). Seib notes that some Republicans have advocated for repeal, and asks: “How do you approach the Affordable Care Act now?” McConnell answers (emphasis added):
“It bears the president’s name. The chances of his signing a full repeal are pretty limited. There are parts of it that are extremely toxic with the American people. The elimination of the 40 hour work week. The individual mandate. The medical device tax. The health insurance tax. I think you could anticipate those kinds of things being voted on in the Senate. Such votes have not been allowed in the past.
“Who may ultimately take it down is the Supreme Court of the United States. I mean there’s a very significant case that will be decided before June on the question of whether the language of the law means what the language of the law says, which is that subsidies are only available for states that set up state exchanges. Many states have not. If that were to be the case, I would assume that you could have a mulligan here, a major do-over of the whole thing — that opportunity presented to us by the Supreme Court, as opposed to actually getting the president to sign a full repeal, which is not likely to happen.”
On the one hand...um, yeah, no kidding. It's not exactly a major revelation that Mitch "tear it out root & branch" McConnell is rooting for the ACA to be "taken down" by any means necessary. He and his cohorts in the GOP have been obsessing about little else (well, aside from #Benghazi! and a few other sideshows) over the past 4 years, and the House Republicans have voted 30, no 40, no over 50 times to flat-out repeal the law in that time, and they even shut down the United States Government over it. Their bloodlust has cooled over time, but only slightly.
On the other hand, I kind of thought that the Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be ruling purely on the merits of the case before it: Did Congress intend for people in every state to be able to receive federal tax credits if their circumstances qualified, does that intent match up with the wording of the law itself, and is that intent unambiguously clear one way or the other in light of the surrounding text of the law?
In other words, theoretically, the plaintiffs aren't trying to destroy the law, mercy me, not at all! Why, they're trying to defend it as written, you silly goose!! For shame! How could anyone suggest otherwise?? And if the law happens to fall apart as a result of the outcome of the SCOTUS ruling, why, that's just a side issue.
Of course, that's utter garbage. Supporters of the ACA know it; opponents of the ACA know it; Michael Cannon knows it; Jonathan Gruber knows it; the Supreme Court knows it. In case anyone had the slightest bit of doubt, here's the transcript of a rant by American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Greve from 2010 (thanks to Ken Kelly for the link, and to Joey Meyer for the post):
This bastard [the ACA] has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it. I don’t care who does it, whether it’s some court some place, or the United States Congress. Any which way, any dollar spent on that goal is worth spending, any brief filed toward that end is worth filing, any speech or panel contribution toward that end is of service to the United States. [1:30:56 in the video]
My goodness. That's some pretty violent, disturbing language about a law whose primary purpose is to improve the health and well-being of Americans, but, you know, some filthy rich people might be very, very slightly less filthy rich, and we can't have that, so KILL!, DISMEMBER! STAB! STRANGLE!! ARGLREBARGLE!!!!!
The thing is, it's one thing for everyone to know that the plaintiff's case being upheld would be very likely to destroy the law outright (although that's not necessarily the case), and to know that this was the real reason for bringing up such a petty suit in the first case.
It's something else entirely for the incoming United States Senate Majority Leader to openly admit, point-blank, that the reason he wants the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the plaintiffs has nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the case, but because it will destroy a law which he and his party don't like (even if a big chunk of it was their friggin' idea in the first place).
I think I prefer Mr. Greve's statement on the matter. It has all of the candor of McConnell, with the added honesty of ripping the comical turtle shell off of his back and exposing the ugly intestines of the conservative mindset beneath.