Patterico's Pontifications

4/12/2010

Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What Do the “Intentionalists” Have to Say About That?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:12 pm

The New York Times reports that Congress may have “unintentionally” voted for its own health coverage to change when it voted for ObamaCare:

It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way. And, perhaps fittingly if unintentionally, no one may be more affected than members of Congress themselves.

In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.

For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available.

The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?

I think it raises a different and more important question: when a bunch of yahoos vote to ratify a law they haven’t even read, how is that law to be interpreted?

I recently published a post titled Why “Intentionalism” Is Not Always Compatible with the Rule of Law. In it, I asked:

If a legislature passes a law that says one thing, but the legislature really meant something else, how should the law be interpreted? According to the plain language of the law? Or according to the intent of the legislature, even if it contradicts the statute’s plain language?

It turns out that my question was not idle or abstract. With ObamaCare, we may be faced with a concrete example. What if ObamaCare says that members of Congress lose their current coverage — even if, as the article suggests, they did not “intend” this?

Do we interpret the law by looking to the clear text, the way those out-of-touch, formalistic lawyers uniformly insist that we do when the text is unambiguous?

Or do we to look to the unexpressed intent of the ratifiers of the law, the way the “intentionalists” would insist we do?

Put simply: if the clear language of the law screws up the Congresscritters’ health coverage, but they didn’t intend this, what governs? The language of the law they passed? Or their unexpressed intent?

I anxiously await the intentionalists’ reply.

P.S. As with the last time I discussed language interpretation, I am implementing a harsh rule for commenters. Comments are expected to be strictly about ideas, with absolutely no personal comments whatsoever. As before, the moderators and I are going to be very, very strict about enforcing this. Comments that do not follow this rule will be summarily deleted. Comments that blatantly violate the rule may earn the offending commenter a time-out or a ban.

Given my restrictive rules, I will accept comments from banned commenters, as long as they follow the rules I have set forth. No personal digs are allowed, no matter how small — but any articulation that hews strictly to the expression of ideas will be allowed.

128 Responses to “Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What Do the “Intentionalists” Have to Say About That?”

  1. The intentionalism debate is always lively if a little Byzantine from my perspective…but I have to say:

    People who vote for bills without reading them get what they deserve.

    That seems pretty obvious to me. Of course (and this is not a dig), there are plenty of people I meet who seem to think that the “voting for something not read by the voter” argument is inaccurate. I think it is accurate, and I would be delighted to see Congress hoist by that species of petard.

    As always, the trouble with intentionalism is that interpretation is always within cultural context, and those parameters change in ways sufficiently unexpected to confuse even intentionalists.

    Just my two cents.

    Eric Blair (5cf38e)

  2. There’s another, earlier, issue that came up about Congress’s intentions. Obama told the world that, under Obamacare, children with preexisting conditions who applied for health insurance coverage would be accepted this year. A closer reading of the actual bill indicated that such was not the case. It simply was not in the bill.

    The “problem” was solved by Secretary Sebelious and Obama jawboning the health insurance companies to the point where they agreed to accept children with preexisting conditions even though the language was not in the bill.

    I’ll hold my opinion on what I think of this exercise for fear of being banned the Patterico–but that opinion is not a favorable one.

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  3. Mike: feel free to engage the ideas of the post on any level you wish.

    Leave the personalities out of it. If that’s where you were going, you are wise to refrain.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  4. My opinion is that this imposition of immediate coverage for preexisting conditions in children was an unbridled and unwise exercise of executive power. If a President can simply create a law by fiat because he said “X”, and the legislature did not actually vote “X” well then we have a Sun King rather than a President. It’s not supposed to work that way. In certain circumstances and with certain Sun Kings, the peasants have been known to become unruly.

    I understand the need for broad Presidential authority in times of emergency. I don’t understand the need for broad Presidential authority simply to make something of this nature “come true” in the absence of actual legislative action.

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  5. Congress insisted the bill was law upon the presidents signature. The law is the law and congress critters owe the taxpayers for any medical care obtained after that date and time. They can look elsewhere to purchase medical coverage out of their own pocket.

    Scrapiron (996c34)

  6. all i have to say is “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…”

    and now, back to my beer, already in progress.

    our self proclaimed betters haven’t got the sense g*d gave a hole in the ground, and haven’t had that for years.

    what crack smoking moron thought they had suddenly developed a clue?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  7. It would indeed be ironic if the most recent couple of Congresses have returned, without intending to do so, to the philosophy of HR1 of 1995 … (HR1 of 1995 made Congress subject to a whole bunch of federal legislation for the first time) …

    Alasdair (205079)

  8. I remember the agonized howling that resulted. The cries that they could not operate or get anything done under those conditions.

    Machinist (9780ec)

  9. I will grant the intentionalists the point that if a grave criminal injustice is being done, and there is an inartful statute driving such, I can see giving a judge some leeway. For sure, as a juror, I retain my right of nullification.

    But when it comes to a benefit? You get precisely that which is set out in the enacting legislation. No more, no less. You don’t like it? Go get a refund from the poor lobbyists you employed and/or the politician you paid off, er, supported with a donation.

    This particular screw-up is particularly delicious as the majority staffers who wrote this all kowtow to Nancy and they were all so very happy for the cover she gave them…”We’ll see what the bill says after it’s passed.” They can now choke on this self-inflicted mess.

    Ed from SFV (7f3244)

  10. I don’t think “we” look at all. They’ll do what they want.

    It’s what they do.

    happyfeet (c8caab)

  11. What *should* happen, happy? It’s an interpretive question. Surely you have an opinion on that?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  12. I would argue that the intent of the law was to extend a benefit, not to limit it or to punish people, and therefore it should be interpreted that all people, including Congress critters, should get to have the same and better than what they have, and not worse.

    nk (db4a41)

  13. Or do we to look to the unexpressed intent of the ratifiers of the law, the way the “intentionalists” would insist we do?

    This opens up a whole different can of worms. There are congresscritters voting on both sides of every issue. They opportunistically put statements into the congressional record. So that, if a judge wants to cherrypick, the judge can find a statement from a lawmaker to support whatever interpretation the judge feels like going with.

    The lawmaker may have been on the losing side of the issue. But by inserting a comment into the record, the lawmaker can provide a court with a basis to undo what those who actually prevailed in the vote put in place.

    What should happen? Legislative malfeasance ought to be a crime. It’s probably too much to hope it’d be a capital crime. But at the very least we should be putting most of Congress behind bars for a lengthy stretch.

    Corporate officers get convicted for a lot less than this. Can someone tell me why Berie Ebbers is in prison, and Barney Frank isn’t?

    At some point, I envision myself being hauled into court for violating some federal unwritten rule. One of the ones Congress meant to pass.

    Then I’d like the prosecutor and the judge to explain to me why ignorance of the law is no excuse. Because ignorance of the law is the only possibility.

    I think I’ll waive my right to a jury trial. The judge can just

    Steve (7d8b00)

  14. My computer has developed gremlins. I didn’t intentionally submit the previous post.

    I wanted to finish by saying the judge might just as well shake his magic eightball and deliver a ruling, considering just how irresponsibly Congress is acting. Whatever opinion the magic eightball has to offer is just as valid as what any congresscritter has to say on the subject.

    Again, why is Conrad Black in prison and John Conyers is somehow not joining his wife at club fed?

    Steve (7d8b00)

  15. The wording of the law control, if they are clear and unambiguous. If there is any confusion about the exact meaning, the expressed intent of the authoring legislators should control. If the wording of the law contradicts the expressed intent of the authors, due to incompetence, the law should be held in abeyance till it is fixed, if possible, and the legislators responsible should retire ASAP.

    Rich Rostrom (7a3582)

  16. Paranoia Alert: What if the bugs in the health care bill are actually features–or at least turn out to be features from a statist perspective. Obama has an opportunity now to “correct the mistakes” by executive reinterpretation, fiat or bullying. No one will complain too much about fixing such obvious oversights–after all, it’s just doing the right thing. What kind of precedents would such corrections set for the rule and application of law?

    Chuck (598940)

  17. Is it really an issue? I thought the priority is: if the language of the law (or contract) is clear, then that rules. Only if there is ambiguity in the language do you go to the intent of the legislators.

    Ken in Camarillo (645bed)

  18. I think that intentionalism, as applied to commentary and editorialism, is a much different beast than when applied to law. Either we have the rule of law, or we don’t. If Congress “inadvertently” passed a law that lays down statutes different than they intended, then they reveal themselves to be incompetent buffoons. If the law can be applied based on interpretive intent and emotive oughtas and shouldas, then why actually write anything down in the first place? Just make it up as you go along.

    If Congress passed, and the President signed a law, then it’s the LAW! If it isn’t what you meant to say, then you either repeal it, or amend it to say what you mean. But until then, it is directive and proscriptive, and you do what it says or you’ve broken the law.

    Don’t squishify it and leave it up to the vagaries of appellate courts to (re)interpret on case by case basis.

    Steve B (5eacf6)

  19. . . . the law should be held in abeyance till it is fixed, if possible, and the legislators responsible should retire ASAP.

    I agree with everything you wrote. The problem is the last part. What should be happening, isn’t.

    Not only aren’t the incompetents retiring, they’re going on to create ever larger catastrophes.

    To a certain extent, this transends the liberal/conservative divide. I mentioned John Conyers. Not without reason. He’s the guy who thinks there’s a “good and proper” clause in the Constitution that justifies whatever it is he feels like doing. And if memory serves, he’s the guy who said it was ridiculous to expect him to actually read the bills that he was voting on, as he couldn’t possibly understand them.

    Just as a practical matter, at this stage aren’t we passed the point where the term “intentionalism” can possibly have any relevance? Except, of course, if we are using the term “intentional” to refer to the arbitrary and capricious nature of Congress’ lawmaking. That is definitely intentional.

    But how can any court in the land say with a straight face it has divined the “intent” of this Congress?

    Steve (7d8b00)

  20. 16.Paranoia Alert: What if the bugs in the health care bill are actually features–or at least turn out to be features from a statist perspective. Obama has an opportunity now to “correct the mistakes” by executive reinterpretation, fiat or bullying. No one will complain too much about fixing such obvious oversights–after all, it’s just doing the right thing. What kind of precedents would such corrections set for the rule and application of law?

    There’s nothing paranoid about this at all. Congress has been very clear; they just passed enabling legislation. The executive branch has to make the rules. No one has a clue, for instance, what “qualifying” health care will consist of. The HHS Secretary has yet to determine that.

    There’s nothing paranoid about stating the obvious.

    By the same token, “slippery slope” arguments are officially non-paranoid.

    At a certain point in the past, it might have been paranoid to speculate that health care legislation would lead to radical agenda items being passed. But we passed that point when Nancy Pelosi said that if Congress passed health care legislation then the Democrats would ram through other radical agenda items.

    Steve (e09d61)

  21. They intended to read the law before they voted on it; but, as Speaker Pelosi intoned in clear language: “We have to pass the [health care ] bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

    And so they did.

    Icy Texan (692edc)

  22. Passing vague and contradictory laws (contradictory from what was declared to be the reason for the law and what was written and passed) makes it much easier to make criminals out of everyone. And making criminals out of everyone gives the government huge discretionatry arrest and trial powers. Are you one of the in-crowd, or one of those Tea Baggers? This HellthCareLaw was never about health care, or insurance, or costs, or anything like that. It was all about increasing the power of the State over the individual.

    You seem to think this intentionalism is a bug, not a feature, of this current crop of Congressb*stards as well as the squatters in the White House. They know what they are doing, and doing it deliberately with full malice.

    RickZ (41d0ce)

  23. Let’s face it, none of us are going to read it, either. So, it seems to me that the only way we will “find out what’s in it”, as per Nancy, is to let its plain meaning take effect and observe its consequences.

    They should be stripped of their coverage immediately.

    mcg (5cf983)

  24. I’ll take “They’ll just ignore it and continue with their current coverage in the pool.”

    Actually, the cynical among us know that Congress would before 2014 on some dark and stormy morning amend a bill naming an outhouse at a National Park after Harry Ried to opt themselves out of the exchanges.

    Charlie B (d207cf)

  25. Are they allowed to apply for COBRA benefits, or are they now going to run into the “you were uninsured” woes? I’m sorry, but I’ve been laughing since yesterday; this couldn’t have happened to a more deserving crew. “We have to pass the bill, and then read it.”

    htom (412a17)


  26. I would argue that the intent of the law was to extend a benefit, not to limit it or to punish people, and therefore it should be interpreted that all people, including Congress critters, should get to have the same and better than what they have, and not worse.

    Comment by nk — 4/12/2010 @ 11:58 pm

    I respectfully disagree — I don’t think that was the intent of the law at all. It was always about more tax power over Americans and not health care, the proof of which is exemplified by both the addition of 16500 new IRS agents to enforce required revenues, and even more by the “forgetting” to include the requirement for coverage of children’s preexisting conditions. I mean, that was “THE” cornerstone of the selling points – and they forgot to include it?

    Many millions of people, for that (IMO) difference in intent, are going to get not “the same and better” but “different and worse” and I don’t see why members of Congress should be excepted. mcg above makes lots of sense: strip them of coverage and let them fix it after all the pressworthy wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    This is the only way, by the way, Nancy Pelosi’s prediction will come true: if not for these embarrassing and highly visible big mistakes, many people would never know what a mess and pile of garbage the American people were delivered.

    no one you know (4186cd)

  27. Sure, but all laws have a presumption of validity, and the courts bend over backwards to uphold them. So what you want when Congress hands you a lemon is to make lemonade* because that’s a better way to go in the courts. Argue the good not the bad.

    Or, if a piece of rope start a cigar factory.

    nk (db4a41)

  28. The intentionalists never seemed to give much weight or credence to President Bush’s signing statements, which were his attempts to enter a record of his intentions into the law.

    Of course, if we are to give weight to the intent of the legislature when it comes to the health care bill, their intent was simply to do good, right? So, under an intentionalist interpretation, anything that can be judged as good is covered by the law.

    In my opinion, we ought to just fire all of the Democrats. And if you believe that was a personal attack, I assure you, such wasn’t my intention when I wrote it.

    The snarky Dana (3e4784)

  29. It it high time the statists of Congress pay for their health care. Maybe they’ll resign Congress to get in on Obamacare for the uninsured.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  30. Intent? How are you supposed to be anything other than ignorant of the law unless you can rely on the plain language of the bill? I can’t “intend” to break the law (mens rea) unless I know what the law is before I violate it.

    That said, I think that intent as a legal term and intent as a debate term are not the same. Would you care to define the word explicitly in both senses?

    SDN (fd45bd)

  31. I say it is time to start with the false claims act suits. Remember that any person can sue on behalf of the federal government even if they are not personally harmed. they call that a qui tam action.

    How kick a– is that?

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  32. Btw, as for the question in the post, i will say this.

    Where i have seen intent used, it is only to the extent that it is consonant with what was actually passed. So intentional or not, i would say they are screwed.

    Heh.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  33. I cant remember in modern litigious times a bill this large and complex affecting a sixth or so of the economy. Its bound to generate endless paper and legal fees for months and years to come

    Its a gold rush :)

    EricPWJohnson (6ea8f8)

  34. The plain language of the bill should rule, of course. Since Congress didn’t pay enough attention to what the bill actually said, that’s it’s own fault for putting politics first.

    One law that can’t be repealed is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  35. Most seem to agree that this particular context does not call for the application of pure “intentionalism.” (Although I wish some actual intentionalists would weigh in.)

    And I think most of us would agree that in day to day conversation, interpreting by trying to ascertain the speaker’s intent is critical.

    So why the division? It’s clear that most want to instinctively separate analysis of statutory language from analysis of day to day speech — but what is the principled basis for doing so? And does the principle underlying this differential treatment have a wider application outside the statutory interpretation context?

    How do we analyze commands in everyday situations, especially where consequences attach to the failure to obey? Orders given in the military? At work? At home from parents to kids?

    Are there times (as with statutory interpretation) where we might concede that the intent of the utterer was one thing, but that we will nevertheless give primacy to a different interpretation — such as when we are determining punishment for failure to obey, when the language of the command was facially unclear?

    Patterico (607405)

  36. It is common for a politician to say he intends one thing and yet do another. If legislators are not held accountable for the words they write they are not lawmakers. Do we expect 535 people to vote for or against a text, or for or against what a majority of justices deem their intent to be?

    I do not believe in mindreading, even for judges. The clear meaning of the text should govern. If it is not clear, throw it out.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  37. what should happen is… people get to notice that Congress is keen not to live under the laws they pass for everyone else…

    that would be what passes for a Win these days

    happyfeet (c8caab)

  38. Patterico,

    “Facially unclear?”

    As in needing verbal Clearasil?

    Kidding aside, one of the difficult things about language is that there’s so much under the surface that’s not made explicit. That’s apparent when trying to adapt language to computers, such as with speech recognition, or artificial intelligence.

    Context means a lot. And that means many of these situations you described will have to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  39. OT, that post about the soccer game than Obama didn’t let the press into, turns out there was a reason:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/04/obama_attends_nonexistent_socc.html

    ian cormac (3e0a07)

  40. THere are special rules for handling “miscommunication” in law, or rather, how judges interpret ambiguity.
    Canons of law determine how judges interpret their discretion in any given case.
    Will the “golden rule” come into play here? Someone will argue the absurdity of the result (congress forced to use exchanges that don’t exist).

    I don’t think this applies to an intentionlist argument at all.

    SarahW (af7312)

  41. How do we analyze commands in everyday situations, especially where consequences attach to the failure to obey? Orders given in the military? At work? At home from parents to kids?
    Comment by Patterico — 4/13/2010 @ 7:06 am

    My first reaction was to immediately differentiate between work/home and military/government, and I am thinking about why I think the principles are different for the different situations. I think in large part it’s a simple trust factor, by which I mean cooperation rather than us-them is the ovveriding principle. (I realize this isn’t the legal analysis you’re looking for, but you did ask about principles.)

    By and large children know their parents love them and want the best for them, so the failure of the parent to clearly articulate what exactly the command is isn’t a reason to ignore what the child clearly knows is the parent’s intent. (If the child doesn’t understand that’s a different story.)

    Example: parent says, “I don’t want you going out and messing up your good clothes” and the child deliberately brings the mud inside the house and messes up the clothes”. Child is within the strict legal interpretation of the parent’s words, but he has disobeyed.

    Similarly at work since, absent an abusive or completely unreasonable boss, people share similar goals at work – the success of the project or store or whatever. IF a worker clearly understands an intent, you can’t wiggle out of following what you know the boss wants by getting technical, and everyone knows it.

    But there are two big differences in a military or government-law situation. In addition to there being many different competing instances in both of those situations, there are also much more severe consequences for disobedience. IANAL and don’t understand much about legal things, but it seems to me that the only way to protect everyone involved in those situations is absolute clarity about what the command is, so everyone involved can see whether or not it’s been followed.

    no one you know (4186cd)

  42. It brings up the wider point, what did the Congress
    ‘intend’ when they wrote this thing, clearly health
    care wasn’t the goal, control was.

    ian cormac (3e0a07)

  43. I think it’s a different animal too.

    Intentionalism is more about the interpreter disregarding? intent and substituting their own. Like how the little president man tries to attribute racist intent to Tea Party peoples.

    In the context of law, which is exacting, this is a problem of intention not being expressed clearly.

    happyfeet (c8caab)

  44. I have no idea, actually, how this situation will play out.

    The key issue is congress was so willing to rush important legislation while assuring the public that there would be no terrible surprises, only to perhaps receive an unpleasant and unanticipated result devolving onto themselves.

    SarahW (af7312)

  45. competing instances = competing interests

    no one you know (4186cd)

  46. I don’t know why there’s a question mark after disregarding.

    It’s not supposed to be there.

    happyfeet (c8caab)

  47. The only problem with intentionalism, from the “presume no malice” point of view, is when the principle is applied in a partisan-specific fashion. It should be “all in” or “not at all.”. And that’s not the case, currently.

    As for the more personal examples—say, between friends—reciprocity is key. And the speaker should strive to be as clear as possible, rather than relying on interpretrationalist fog.

    This is why I prefer literalism. YMMV.

    Eric Blair (b9ca6b)

  48. I don’t think this applies to an intentionlist argument at all.

    Sarah, aren’t we talking about interpretation of language?

    I’ll grant you that it’s a specialized area, but what about statutory interpretation sets it apart?

    Is it because the law is a command? If so, there are everyday commands as well. Do we discard intentionalism there too? If so, to what extent and why?

    Patterico (c218bd)


  49. I think it’s a different animal too.

    Intentionalism is more about the interpreter disregarding? intent and substituting their own. Like how the little president man tries to attribute racist intent to Tea Party peoples.

    In the context of law, which is exacting, this is a problem of intention not being expressed clearly.

    It is indeed such a problem, happy. But the question is: when we have that situation, where the speaker is unclear, what interpretation do we give to their words?

    The intentionalist says we must always give that interpretation which appeals to the speaker’s intent.

    I say that, at least in the context of statutory interpretation, intentionalism is not always the proper interpretative method.

    If you agree, the question is: why apply it in one context but not others? So far you have offered the reason that law is “exacting.” I’m not sure precisely what you mean, but are there other aspects of communication that are “exacting” — and should we discard intentionalism in those contexts as well?

    Again, food for thought and discussion. It’s fine to set one type of speech in a different category, but you have to ask yourself why you are doing so — and whether your rationale applies to other forms of speech as well. Declaring it a different animal does not end the discussion — it merely begins it.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  50. Ian,
    What you linked to is a feature, not a bug. The intent is to force health insurers to raise rates for all, by making them take those with pre-existing conditions. Then politicos like DiFi will indignantly call for legislation to impose price controls on health insurer premiums. Then when the whole system collapses, Obama and the Dems can say, we tried, but the greedy insurers leave us no choice but to move to single-payer.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  51. I think the difference is that one category of speech, in the legal/law-making arena, carries the weight of the law behind it, while conversation and debate does not. That is a fairly substantial difference.

    JD (d55760)

  52. I think it is impossible for a divided body of 535 people to have an “intention” or even an identifiable list of coherent intentions. There is no definable intention of congress – the idea itself is a chimera. The intention of the leadership will be different than that of the rank and file. The intentions of those bribed with earmarks is different than those with integrity. The intention of those with secure seats will be different from those with serious challengers.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  53. As a little observation, the direct statement of a law can be changed by
    further legislation while intent is so subjective that even attempts to
    change it may lead to no change at all.

    In electronics we have digital “gates” that have two output states, 1 and
    0, or yes and no, or any other binary choice regulated by its inputs via
    a precise equation. On April Fool’s day a chronic piece of silliness that
    gets periodically explored is the maybe gate. It’s output might be either
    0 or 1 with no regard to its input. It’s silly because it is so obviously
    useless. Interpreting laws according to intentions gives an output decision
    that is as useless as the maybe gate.

    Or worse, it gives an output that can be used to oppress, the King’s whim.

    {^_^}

    JD (9ac83d)

  54. That was JD, Part Deux. Not the lack of douchenozzle in his comment. 😉

    JD (d55760)

  55. Actually, the only intention that matters is the intention of the courts but they claim to be expressing the intention of the congress. And does the intention of the executive mean anything?

    quasimodo (4af144)

  56. When I am interacting with people, I don’t want to be misunderstood. And if I am misunderstood, I want the benefit of the doubt that I was joking, or ironic or just plain drunk.

    When I write my poems, I don’t especially care if I am understood. My goal is not to communicate but to evoke.

    The law is an imperfect creature, created by imperfect creatures, using an imperfect medium (language). So we make rules for its interpretation. For certain rights, such as First Amendment we allow no room for ambiguity. If the law is not perfectly clear, it fails. In other areas, if the law punishes people it is construed strictly to punish the least. If it helps people, it is construed broadly to help the most.

    ?

    nk (db4a41)

  57. If the text of a law bans something, but after the fact the Executive gets to come in and say that was not our intention, and we will not follow said ban as it was a mistake, what is the point of passing a law in the first place. If so, then Congress can pass a law stating that the Cardinals are the greatest National League team ever, and the President can simply use that as a jumping off point to enact whatever they see fit. If the plain text of legislative/legal writing is to be interpreted in a manner that not-A = A, then it is useless, screwed up, and an affront to the process.

    JD (d55760)

  58. In a perfect world, the written word would be understood by the writer and the reader to convey the same meaning. The English language, being comprised of many other languages leaves much to be desired when read by people other than the original writer. Our laws are generally written as afterthoughts on previous laws; further compounding the problems of intent and meaning.

    I believe we must hold directly to the written word. If it is written wrong, rewrite it. If nothing else, Congress should feel the pain of the poorly written HCR law(s). Perhaps this will encourage them to write simpler, shorter, more explicit laws instead of allowing others (lobbyists) to do it for them.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  59. Exactly, Corwin. There is a fix should the congresscritters have done this wrong. They can pass another bill fixing it. What they cannot do is simply ignore what they passed, or have the Exec reinterpret the language to say something that it specifically does not say.

    JD (d55760)

  60. Find a Judge that can determine collective intent of 535 lawmakers and you have found God, or at least someone who thinks they are God.

    Sanmon (319c0c)

  61. noyk: I am not looking for a purely legal analysis. We are talking interpretation generally — and my point is that it is intuitively clear that there are many situations (not just statutory interpretation) where other factors come into play besides a pure appeal to authorial intent.

    My model instead calls for reasonableness and good faith on the part of both speaker and listener. It recognizes that there are many different contexts in which interpretive questions arise, and no one method (even intentionalism) is ALWAYS the only proper method.

    Patterico (607405)

  62. “I think the difference is that one category of speech, in the legal/law-making arena, carries the weight of the law behind it, while conversation and debate does not. That is a fairly substantial difference.”

    I’ll grant you that it’s a substantial difference.

    How does that affect what is a proper interpretive method?

    Can proponents of a “Living Constitution” defend their rudderless interpretive method simply by saying “the Constitution is different”?

    Patterico (607405)

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  65. Pat,

    Who can honestly drive the intent of 500 plus lawmakers, the administration on a document in the thousand of pages?

    Where do you set a standard? A massive undertaking to say the least

    EricPWJohnson (6ea8f8)

  66. I think this is a real problem for the Democrats. Usually you interpret law according to its plain language and only look at intent if something isn’t plain or obvious. Now, are the Democrats going to say that Sebelious can give them back their cadillac health care through some rule? If the GOP were smart, they would suck it up and say we’re going to buy health insurance as if we’re the people we represent since the Democrats will never do that.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  67. Patterico:

    Your ideas are sound, but…

    “…My model instead calls for reasonableness and good faith on the part of both speaker and listener….”

    I don’t think that such an ethos can apply to government. I suspect that the Founders knew that. “Good faith” is seldom applied in a nonpartisan fashion.

    This is why I am a literalist with regard to law. The other way of putting it, less elegantly: imagine the law you pass in the hands of your bitterest enemy.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  68. Wasn’t there a case a couple of years ago when a state redrafted its drug laws and misspelled one of the banned subtances (methamphetamines IIRC) and the state said they would be unable to prosecute offenders until the law was corrected?

    (And as for not calling names, can I still call the Judean People’s Front a bunch of dirty, rotten splitters?
    -Question by the People’s Front of Judea)

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  69. When one considers how many wars and deaths, divorces, lost friendships, failed policies, ad infinitum have resulted from interpretation of words and intent, it would seem wise to adhere as closely as humanly possible to the written word.

    If I am offered a written contract, I read and try to understand it before signing. Most contain legal language I have trouble with. But if the actual words aren’t binding, why bother?

    Sure, we have to interpret, at times, but if rule of law is to have any reality, the interpretation must be as limited as possible.

    Else the document that protects me doesn’t protect me, or anybody else. It is only a tool for the strongest involved party.

    I find this administration’s cavalier attitude toward contracts deeply troubling.

    jodetoad (7720fb)

  70. Can proponents of a “Living Constitution” defend their rudderless interpretive method simply by saying “the Constitution is different”?

    The need to put up a defense is an inconvenience to such people in the first place.

    Anyone who’s ever played a game with a spoiled child is familiar with the idea of a “living Constitution.” That is, the idea that somebody can change the rules whenever it suits them. And a lot of societies have been organized along such lines.

    But there is a continuum that extends further.

    If you keep going along that continuum, no reason for the rule change even needs to be offered. Or even a rule. Toward that end of the continuum, the only thing that matters is who has the authority to exercise power.

    I’m not trying to be inflammatory, Pat. It’s just that, as a student of history, when I read the above statement a couple of things occurred to me.

    Among these was the observation that the more interesting question is not can proponents of a “Living Constitution” defend their rudderless interpretive method; it is do they still have to?

    Steve (a51efc)

  71. “Can proponents of a “Living Constitution” defend their rudderless interpretive method simply by saying “the Constitution is different”?”

    In MCullugh v. Maryland John marshall did have a famous line: “we must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding.” I think it is uncontroversial that constitutional interpretation would work a little different than statutory.

    imdw (cd4b7a)

  72. Personally i think we hit on a genius idea. the left loves the idea of a living constitution? how about a living U.S. Code?

    imagine the news “Today the supreme court said that sure, it seems like congress passed a health care law, but in interpreting the living U.S. Code, it turns out they were wrong and did nothing.”

    See? Problem solved!

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  73. Two big differences between everyday speech and statutory writing: 1) in everyday speech, it is not required that a vote be taken by hundreds of others to ratify, or not, the language of the speaker. 2) the everyday speech does not involve the state seizure of either property nor personal liberty.

    From a purely linguistic/communication point of view, there is no difference. The sender/receiver model is the same. It matters not what the sender of a message sends, it matters only what the receiver perceives. The receiver gets to use whatever method of interpretation she sees fit.

    The primacy of a commonly accepted code, or language, comes into play where the receiver can be compelled by the State to pay a consequence. This includes contracts as, in the end, the State is the enforcer of all contracts.

    Ed from SFV (7f3244)

  74. Text of the law controls. Plain and simple.

    jpe (742b63)

  75. 53.I think it is impossible for a divided body of 535 people to have an “intention” or even an identifiable list of coherent intentions.

    Yup. Ergo my second yup:

    They can pass another bill fixing it. What they cannot do is simply ignore what they passed

    jpe (e31238)

  76. Who would have standing to bring this issue in front of a court? Assuming that the FEHBP is probably taxpayer funded, either fully or partially, could any taxpayer bring suit here?

    Sarastro (f5d53b)

  77. In a way I don’t get what the fuss is about. Figuring out what someone intended, and then giving it effect, is a large part of what the law does. Probate courts are constantly trying to figure out what a deceased intended to do with their property, and civil courts are constantly asked to determine what the parties to a contract intended or what the legislature intended in passing a statute.

    The first principle, though, is the law presumes that if you write something, be it a contract or a statute, you intended for it to say whatever it says. So if the language of the contract or statute is not ambiguous, the courts will enforce it as written, regardless of whatever you may later claim you actually meant.

    Other evidence, besides the writing, of what you meant to say only becomes relevant if the writing is ambiguous. So in a contract case, for example, if the contract is ambiguous, the courts might admit evidence of what a particular term means in that trade or industry, or whether the conduct of the parties shows they interpreted the contract in any particular way. As long as a statute is not unconstitutional, or a contract is not illegal, the courts will try to enforce whatever they believe is its intended meaning. There’s a huge body of case law, probably in every jurisdiction, regarding when and to what extent evidence beyond the actual statute or contract is admissible to help determine intent.

    A lot of legal energy gets expended, or wasted, in trying to find ambiguity where none exists, or in trying to deny its existence when a writing is not clear. People wouldn’t go to the trouble of doing that, though, if not for the fact that determining the intent of whoever drafted a contract or a statute was so important.

    I haven’t read the health care bill either, but if the language that nukes the coverage for Congress is clear, it shouldn’t matter if they didn’t “really” mean it. And they can always pass another bill, anyway.

    Bob Lipscomb (3b8f34)

  78. The primacy of a commonly accepted code, or language, comes into play where the receiver can be compelled by the State to pay a consequence.

    See, this is where we part ways. Who says there has to be a commonly accepted code before the state can inflict consequences upon you? That circumstance hasn’t always been the normal human condition.

    By commonly accepted, I mean openly acknowledged.

    John Conyers isn’t a stupid man. At least, I can’t presume he is as it would be a mistake to understimate an adversary. So when I think about what he intended to tell people when he said it was ridiculous to expect him to read a 2,000 page bill, as he wouldn’t understand it, one possibility I keep returning to is that he intended to figuratively give us the finger.

    Maybe I’m getting this whole “intentionalism” game wrong, but I see it like peeling an onion. The congresscritters have admitted, in certain crucial respects, that the law doesn’t say what they meant it to say. And I can’t accept the idea that what they say about what they meant to say is necessarily the truth, as they don’t take their statements at all seriously.

    So maybe that’s the intent. They want us to know they don’t have to be serious.

    When John Conyers is asked about his Constitutional authority to impose mandates, he can flippantly answer the “good and proper” clause gives him the authority.

    Not that he’s so stupid he doesn’t know there’s no such thing. It’s that it’s not important that he needs to know, and he wants the world to know it’s unimportant. He doesn’t owe anyone a serious explanation, and he wants everyone who thinks he does to get stuffed. And if you didn’t get the message the first time, he’s going to drive it home by making things up.

    I first noticed the phenomenon during the Clinton years. During the gun control debates, Clinton would consistently get details wrong, such as talk about hunters using “high powered rifles” to shoot ducks. And the NRA would put out statements saying Clinton couldn’t even tell the difference between a rifle and a shotgun.

    After it happened a couple of times, I realized that if it was important to get the details right, he would have. It wasn’t. And it seemed mostly a source of amusement to him that the NRA was parsing his words so carefully, as if they meant anything.

    In the case of HCR, what could possibly be the intent of not only drafting a bill that doesn’t perform as advertised, but going out of the way to get the details wrong? It’s beyond bizarre. There must be some method to this madness.

    I think it was an Smother’s brothers skit that included the motto, “We’re the phone company. We don’t care. We don’t have to.”

    That’s HCR in a nutshell. And Congress wants you to know it.

    Steve (5c87ee)

  79. It is your blog and I respect that. The new policy doesn’t sit well, however, and so this blog will be banned from my Favorites going forward.

    Mazzuchelli (0be5b4)

  80. While you have asked for an opinion on how the law works, or should work, this is better as a question of how to play a hand of cards, depending on which game you are playing.

    Option #1 – We start with an apparent straight forward remark:

    Comment by nk – 12.I would argue that the intent of the law was to extend a benefit, not to limit it or to punish people, and therefore it should be interpreted that all people, including Congress critters, should get to have the same and better than what they have, and not worse.

    On face value we have an affirmation that the Congress of the US is full of good will and honesty and makes laws for the good of its citizens. This being the case, it would be obvious that any benefit granted to the average citizen should not be withheld from a public servant, so of course the law should apply to Congress, otherwise it would just be unfair.

    Option #2 –

    Comment by no one you know – I respectfully disagree — I don’t think that was the intent of the law at all. It was always about more tax power over Americans and not health care,

    noyk begins with a direct disagreement on the foundation of nk’s treatment of the case, however, he uses similar reasoning to get to his conclusion: – I don’t see why members of Congress should be excepted.

    So, nk and noyk reach the same apparent conclusion, it is only fitting that Congress share in (or play by?) the same rules they have made for everyone else.

    In Conclusion:

    I believe this is one situation where a great event and an even greater irony has taken place for our amazement. It is often said that we do not have a justice system, but a legal system. Well, we have now seen an exception to that principle, for truly, no matter what one claims as their reasoning, it is truly just for Congress to abide by the same rules they have made for everyone else.

    In fact, this could be the beginning of a stunning political turn-around for the oft criticised members of Congress who voted for this bill; Stupak and others should rethink their plans. For, is not the bottom line in judging integrity, sincerity and good will to see those who write the laws eagerly and willfully apply those same laws to themselves?

    What could go wrong with this brilliant political tactic, snatching a landslide for the Dems from the jaws of … (something very big and very mean)?

    Well, was nk mistaken, or writing with a glint in his eye and a tongue in the cheek when he described the act of legislative brilliance in such a rspectful manner? Was noyk truly at odds with nk, or did he/she simply miss the subtle up-turning of the eyebrow which was the signal to prepare for the trump card to be played? Is the game being played won by taking the tricks, or by surrendering them all?

    Whatever we do, let us not focus on fine details of the law when issues of societal justice are at stake!! Will Congress smile and own this brilliant decision, showing that Gov. Palin may be able to skin a moose, but not play poker with the boys from Chicago? Or will they mutter and huff and puff and bluff and say it does not apply to them, for they wanted the best for the American people, and they are not worthy of such treatment? And if they make that claim, verily, I say, what treatment will they be worthy of?

    Addendum A:
    Comment by Mike Myer – “If a President can simply create a law by fiat because he said “X”, and the legislature did not actually vote “X” well then we have a Sun King rather than a President. It’s not supposed to work that way. In certain circumstances and with certain Sun Kings, the peasants have been known to become unruly.”
    When asked about this statement, Mr. Gibbs replied, “Is that some kind of racist remark, making reference to the President’s skin color as if it came from too much time on the beaches of Hawaii, Indonesia, and Kenya, I mean Kansas? His excellency has never said anything about the “Sun”. The idea is preposterous, the one does not intend to ever have trouble from “unruly peasants”. (Scoffs and shakes head)

    Addendum B:
    Comment by EricPWJohnson, “Its bound to generate endless paper and legal fees for months and years to come… Its a gold rush”
    When asked to comment on this, Mr Gibbs stated that VP Biden would be keeping track of med school and law school applications and keep them posted on the web, sponsored by the American Trial Lawyers Assoc. Furthermore, lawyers will be given until 2050 to comply with new Global Warming Guidelines demanding paperless office systems for all who write more than one paragraph a day, beginning with third graders.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  81. Going by legislative intent alone doesn’t make sense. In general you should go by the least restrictive of the intent and the public meaning of the text. For example, if Congress passes a law making it a crime to possess a pen, even if a procecutor can definitively convince a judge that they intended to make it illegal to possess hens, he shouldn’t be able to put people who possess hens in jail.

    Here, however, both the plain meaning of the provision of the bill and the intent of whoever authored the language is pretty clear. It appears Congress unintentionally turned off its health care.

    ShelbyC (72b728)

  82. What will probably happen is what usually happens in any other communicative context: the speaker (Congress, in this case) will realize that they’ve spoken such that the larger public has developed an interpretation at odds with their intent (which is the larger public’s right), and will modify their statements so that their intent (now) shines through to a reasonable interpreter.

    This is the correct idea, right? Since Congress does indeed “own” their intent, they are given the simultaneous right and responsibility of revision for clarity when their statements are interpreted in a way which they did not intend. If they are able to revise their statements such that reasonable interpretations align with their intent, then all is well.

    Is that right, Patterico? I’m still trying to fully grasp the premises and processes of intentionalism, and the arguments for and against it. I’m getting better, but my understanding is still a little tenuous.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  83. […] you give a quick visit to the site to read the entire post and the readers’ comments — Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… I think it raises a different and more important question: when a bunch of yahoos vote to ratify a […]

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  85. […] you give a quick visit to the site to read the entire post and the readers’ comments — Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… I think it raises a different and more important question: when a bunch of yahoos vote to ratify a […]

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  86. It is your blog and I respect that. The new policy doesn’t sit well, however, and so this blog will be banned from my Favorites going forward.

    Your call. I will note that I didn’t say this was a new policy, but rather a policy for this post.

    However, my problems with commenters in the past have always, to my recollection, involved people who insisted on making personal attacks.

    Let’s sum up your comment. 1) I never saw your name before; 2) you say that you are being driven off by my policy of no personal attacks for a single thread; and 3) you misread the scope of my instructions.

    So I am losing, at best, a non-regular reader who misread this post and wishes to engage in personal attacks.

    I think I can live with that, as the rule works out pretty well every time I institute it.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  87. What will probably happen is what usually happens in any other communicative context: the speaker (Congress, in this case) will realize that they’ve spoken such that the larger public has developed an interpretation at odds with their intent (which is the larger public’s right), and will modify their statements so that their intent (now) shines through to a reasonable interpreter.

    This is the correct idea, right? Since Congress does indeed “own” their intent, they are given the simultaneous right and responsibility of revision for clarity when their statements are interpreted in a way which they did not intend. If they are able to revise their statements such that reasonable interpretations align with their intent, then all is well.

    Is that right, Patterico? I’m still trying to fully grasp the premises and processes of intentionalism, and the arguments for and against it. I’m getting better, but my understanding is still a little tenuous.

    All I can do is guess at the intentionalists’ view, Leviticus.

    I think they would take issue with your claim that the public has any right to develop an interpretation at odds with the intent of the speaker (here, the ratifiers). To them, interpretation must always appeal to intent. I think this is another example that disproves that (to my mind) simplistic view.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  88. Leviticus,

    If Congress/the speaker must continually refine a statement to make the original intent clear, doesn’t that suggest communication is never complete as long as one person fails to understand that intent?

    It seems to me that there is, or at least there ought to be, a common sense limit on how one goes about communicating intent. Instead of subjective intent, I think that’s why the law recognized long ago the standard should be a reasonable man or prudent man standard.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  89. i’ve been wondering how this occurred much more than how it will be dealt with.

    is this the result of sheer sloppiness and the bill being a gargantuan pile of guavno that no one bothered to read, or did some nameless gremlin deliberately slip this in as an “easter egg”?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  90. Since the majority of Congress didn’t even know what was in the bill when they voted for it, both intent and language are severed. I would strike the law down as invalid because Congress could not vote on it with understanding.

    IANAL, so I don’t know legal theories, but in a government that is supposed to be representative, voting on a bill without knowing, let alone understanding, its contents, negates the legitamacy of the process. As well as being a gross dereliction of duty on the legislature’s part.

    LarryD (a9edcd)

  91. “All I can do is guess at the intentionalists’ view, Leviticus.”

    – Patterico

    Let me rephrase: in your view, is the process I detail in #82 the legitimate one for mediating a disparity between a speaker’s intent and an audience’s interpretation?

    “If Congress/the speaker must continually refine a statement to make the original intent clear, doesn’t that suggest communication is never complete as long as one person fails to understand that intent?

    It seems to me that there is, or at least there ought to be, a common sense limit on how one goes about communicating intent. Instead of subjective intent, I think that’s why the law recognized long ago the standard should be a reasonable man or prudent man standard.”

    – DRJ

    I agree, regarding the reasonable man standard – it allows for a closure, essentially. And I certainly think there’s a danger in allowing Congress to revise the laws they pass by fiat through an appeal to public misinterpretation of their “intent” – I agree with Patterico (and you, I think) that a speaker is responsible for communicating his intended message in a way the audience will understand. But if Congress refines their statement (the language of the bill) legislatively, in order to better communicate their intent, then I think that’s within their purview.

    Are there amendment procedures for statutory legislation? I feel like I should know that.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  92. They can pass another bill, Leviticus. They have the votes.

    JD (18e145)

  93. If Congress, through its’ own incompetence, has removed themselves from their privileged position and been thrown into the stew with the hoi poloi…
    Well, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch!

    AD - RtR/OS! (f3d22b)

  94. “It is unclear whether members of Congress and Congressional staff who are currently participating in F.E.H.B.P. may be able to retain this coverage,” the research service said in an 8,100-word memorandum.

    And even if current members of Congress can stay in the popular program for federal employees, that option will probably not be available to newly elected lawmakers, the report says.”

    They’re all new members every time they are sworn into office.

    Banzel (b4a91b)

  95. “They can pass another bill, Leviticus. They have the votes.”

    – JD

    See, I kinda doubt they do anymore – there’s no real impetus for anyone on the fence to fall in line again.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  96. That is their problem then. There is a way to correct things. What is not acceptable is for them to deem something that is not there, or for HHS to simply interpret the legislation to include something that is demonstrably not. It makes a mockery of the system.

    JD (18e145)

  97. Leviticus:

    Are there amendment procedures for statutory legislation? I feel like I should know that.

    Honestly, it’s hard to know what the rules are anymore. But I think the only choices they have are new legislation to make substantive changes, or technical corrections to fix typos and procedural problems.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  98. DRJ – How could this be a typo or a procedural problem? It appears to be quite substantive. I do agree that the rules appear to be whatever they are able to get the votes for.

    JD (18e145)

  99. I didn’t communicate that very well — but I intended to!

    As I understand the legislative process, they can make substantive changes by filing new legislation OR they can fix procedural problems through technical corrections. Since the pre-existing conditions and Congressional coverage issues are substantive, in a normal world they could only be fixed by new legislation. But we aren’t in a normal world.

    DRJ (daa62a)

  100. No doubt about that, DRJ.

    JD (18e145)

  101. As Congress didn’t read the bill, they vacated whatever intention they had.

    JHE (9284aa)

  102. I think its safe to say that no new legislation will be filed.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  103. Anything that does not come from the legislature is an abuse of power so egregious that it renders the plain text of any legislation meaningless, as it would allow someone else to insert substantive language where it did not exist previously.

    They would make A = not A seem logical.

    JD (18e145)

  104. “That is their problem then. There is a way to correct things. What is not acceptable is for them to deem something that is not there, or for HHS to simply interpret the legislation to include something that is demonstrably not. It makes a mockery of the system.”

    – JD

    I agree.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  105. See, Leviticus, I am not always unreasonable. 😉

    JD (18e145)

  106. Aw, shucks. I know that.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  107. On a related note – PA Dem Reps Dahlkemper, Carney, and Kanjorski got their payoff – the rejection of I-80 tolling by the Feds in exchange for their vote for Obamacare.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  108. What the legislators do about this, or try to do about this, is only a piece of what will be interesting.

    While the call for them to treat themselves like “every body else” doesn’t get much traction when a law is originally composed, this might be different. If they have to make extra effort to explicitly remove themselves from being treated like every one else, I think that focuses attention to the question of “If this reform is so good for the American people, why are you folk trying to get out of it yourselves?”

    If that question comes to the forefront, whether by the press or in campaigning, it should look real bad (worse than it already does) for those who voted for it. I doubt the Dems will follow my “suggestion” at #80 and pretend they wanted this result all along and say goodby to their current insurance.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  109. btw, someone asked who can bring suit. anyone can bring a qui tam action based on false claims.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  110. I recall that a mistake was made in the legislation regarding transport of firearms on Amtrak trains (requiring the owner of the firearm as well as the gun itself to be transported in a locked box). This was not the intent of the legislation, but that’s how it was signed. How was this fixed? Would this be relevant to the Health Care bill?

    Oh Hell (44a680)

  111. @35 The difference is in the impersonal yet binding and lasting nature of the law. The person who enforces the law and the person upon whom it is enforced do not, at the point of enforcement, have the ability to accurately determine the intent of the lawmaker in every given scenario.

    For example, the law says “you cannot sell eggs that have not passed a USDA inspection.” It would be folly to assume that meant that it is ok to sell for “non-commercial purposes” (small volume to a neighbor, occasionally, etc.) unless that provision actually exists in the words of the law. Likewise, it would make no sense to interpret it to mean that I couldn’t give eggs to my neighbor.
    While both might have been in the mind of the lawmaker(s), allowing that determination to be made at the point of enforcement means that the laws are subject to random interpretation — and if you think the courts are bad now…

    vince (07d0b9)

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  115. […] ObamaCare Makes It More Attractive For Businesses To Stop Growing Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and Killing the American Economy Legal Insurrection: He Who Controls The Health System, Controls […]

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  116. […] ObamaCare Makes It More Attractive For Businesses To Stop Growing Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and Killing the American Economy Legal Insurrection: He Who Controls The Health System, Controls […]

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  117. […] ObamaCare Makes It More Attractive For Businesses To Stop Growing Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and Killing the American Economy Legal Insurrection: He Who Controls The Health System, Controls […]

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  118. […] ObamaCare Makes It More Attractive For Businesses To Stop Growing Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and Killing the American Economy Legal Insurrection: He Who Controls The Health System, Controls […]

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  119. […] Cost of Government Health Care Suppressed in Two Administrations Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and What’s in the Bill, Senator? and Killing the American Economy Mcnorman’s Weblog: […]

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  120. […] Cost of Government Health Care Suppressed in Two Administrations Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and What’s in the Bill, Senator? and Killing the American Economy Mcnorman’s Weblog: […]

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  121. […] Cost of Government Health Care Suppressed in Two Administrations Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… and What’s in the Bill, Senator? and Killing the American Economy Mcnorman’s Weblog: […]

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  122. […] Cost of Government Health Care Suppressed in Two Administrations Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… City on a Hill Political Observer: Rob Andrews on healthcare: “We didn’t explain it […]

    Xena, the Warrior Princess & Gov. Jan Brewer: Sisters Under the Skin… Gov Announces AZ Has Joined 19 Other States in Lawsuit to Challenge Constitutionality of ObamaCare « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  123. […] Surprise Here: Obama’s Promises Missing from Health Care Bill Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… City on a Hill Political Observer: Rob Andrews on healthcare: “We didn’t explain it […]

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  124. […] Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… City on a Hill Political Observer: Rob Andrews on healthcare: “We didn’t explain it well” […]

    New ObamaCare Penalty Discovered: Employers Will Be Fined if Health Care Is Considered Unaffordable by Gov’t (6d2430)

  125. […] Surprise Here: Obama’s Promises Missing from Health Care Bill Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… GayPatriot: Obamacare means longer waits in emergency rooms On My Watch — The Writings of […]

    Republicans Ready to Repeal Horrible ObamaCare, 63% of Americans Despise Dems’ Healthcare Plan, Romney Supports Repeal Push (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  126. […] Surprise Here: Obama’s Promises Missing from Health Care Bill Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… City on a Hill Political Observer: Rob Andrews on healthcare: “We didn’t explain it […]

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  127. […] Surprise Here: Obama’s Promises Missing from Health Care Bill Patterico’s Pontifications: Congress May Have “Unintentionally” Lost Their Current Coverage by Voting for ObamaCare — What… GayPatriot: Obamacare means longer waits in emergency rooms On My Watch — The Writings of […]

    Team O Arrogance: Even Dem Sen. Baucus Speaks Out Against Obama Skirting Past Congress with Non-Vetted “Health Care Czar” Appointee, Radical Donald Berwick (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)


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