Your Feb. 15 editorial “ The ACA at risk” is a puzzler. You wrote: “The justices presumably weigh the law rather than practical effects when they make a ruling.” This strongly suggests that they indeed ought to weigh only the law, rather than practical effects, in making a ruling. I would agree.
You then assert that a GOP alternative plan “sends the court a message” about consequences of ruling against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell. But if the court should weigh only the law rather than practical effects, why would the court even consider that message?
Moreover, you assert that the GOP’s message provides “dubious reassurance,” because President Obama probably wouldn’t sign the alternative plan.
Is the court now supposed to consider not only the Republican alternative, but also that the alternative is “unlikely” to become law? What happened to the rule that the court should weigh the law rather than practical effects?
Your conclusion that it would be “reckless” for the court to ban subsidies on federal exchanges is obviously based entirely on practical effects and has nothing to do with statutory construction, which is the key legal issue in King v. Burwell.
David E. Weisberg