Citing ‘Legitimacy of the Court,’ MSNBC's Melber Hopes John Roberts Rides to ObamaCare Rescue Yet Again

In the aftermath of a DC circuit court ruling today that would effectively end ObamaCare as we know it in the 36 states with federal exchanges, MSNBC's The Reid Report feared the worst, and attempted to rally the troops, so to speak. Host Joy Reid played the part, bringing on two guests who rejected the notion that this ruling would be accepted by the full appeals court panel or the Supreme Court.

One guest, co-host of The Cycle Ari Melber, played the “legitimacy of the court” card, hardly an uncommon practice when liberals feel they are on the short end of the judicial stick. He argued that Chief Justice John Roberts – the swing vote in upholding the ObamaCare individual mandate as a “tax” – would never let this happen: [MP3 audio here; video below]     

I think we have to remember though that Chief Justice John Roberts is serious. He cares about the legitimacy of the Court...I don't see Justice John Roberts ultimately wanting to endanger the court's legitimacy with that kind of overreach.

Liberals yet again are left to hope that their favorite conservative justice – with the possible exception of Anthony Kennedy – will save ObamaCare from the jaws of defeat. The text of the law is fairly straightforward. It states that subsidies should be directed from state exchange programs, not federal ones, thereby disqualifying the subsidies from the 36 states with federal exchanges.

Not to be disappointed, the segment also featured a doctor, Corey Hebert, who feared the absolute worst if this part of ObamaCare is struck down. He suggested that there may be riots in the street:

But that sense of doom and gloom around the country, if something were to change where millions of people that now have health care that have been to the doctor for the first time in ten years could not get health care, I think that people will start to light some torches. And I don't mean just light their houses, you know what I mean, for electricity. I mean that it would be a big overthrow because people need health care, and that's bottom line. There's no way around it.

The fear from the Left about the latest court defeat for ObamaCare cannot be understated. As the Obama administration’s rewrites of the law have been routinely defeated, the liberal media continue to grow scared in a reactionary defense of their favorite President’s signature legislative achievement.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below.

MSNBC
The Reid Report
July 22, 2014
2:05 p.m. Eastern

JOY REID: Let's talk a little bit about the practical impact. Right now, I think as we were cautioning people, and as Ari just said, as Pete Williams said, nothing changes for the people who have these subsidies right now today. But let's project forward and say that in theory these subsidies were to go away for the people who have them in these 36 states. How much of an impact would that have on health care delivery because this is a matter of being able to afford a private health plan and not.

COREY HEBERT, doctor and professor at LSU: Right. And I'm glad you said the word practical because let's be very clear here. You heard it here first. This will not be reversed. Because first of all, both courts are in the basically the DC area. They both are skewed liberal, so this won’t get to the Supreme Court. The DC court will probably be reversed because they're all skewed liberal. So let’s just – we can take it down a little bit. This will not happen. But let’s just say, if we looked a little further and it did happen, then this would devastate the Affordable Care Act for all people in America. Exchange, state exchange, not exchange. It doesn't matter. Because the whole basis of this is the subsidy, okay. There are a couple things here. I looked at this thing and read it very closely. It said the – the fourth circuit said it is clear the alternative forms of relief suggested by the defendants would not the afford the plaintiffs the complete relief they seek. It's not simply a tax refund action in which the individual tax payer complains of the manner in which a tax was assessed for reimbursement for wrongly paid sums. What does that mean? That means that everybody knows what the spirit of this thing is. Everybody does. You have more people just trying to undermine the health care for people of America. We're not going to let it happen. You heard it here first. DC will not finish that thing, and it will not allow this subsidy to take place. It won’t.

REID: Well, what is the relief the plaintiffs are seeking, Ari? What relief are they seeking? The fact that – is the plaintiff in this case, the DC circuit case, the one that actually struck down these federal exchanges, is the relief they seek no more subsidies?

ARI MELBER, host of The Cycle: How much time do you have and how bored do you want to get?

REID: Not a lot and not at all.

HEBERT: It's a lot of stuff to read here.

[...]

MELBER: Right, these are two Republican appointees there. I would say, on this one, given what a technicality this entire thing is based on, yeah. It looks pretty political to me. I would agree with the doctor that we would expect likely a different outcome from the full panel. What the Supreme Court ultimately does is an open question. I think we have to remember though that Chief Justice John Roberts is serious. He cares about the legitimacy of the Court. It's one thing to say, hey, the Medicaid thing, we want to change, we wanna give states more power. That's a long-running debate. I happen to think the ACA decision on that went the wrong way. But that’s a long running – what I would call a very legitimate, open debate, right. The idea you're going to get up there and pretend that the Democratic congress put its own poison pill in its own bill and that's what's going to crumble Obamacare, I don't see Justice John Roberts ultimately wanting to endanger the court's legitimacy with that kind of overreach.

REID: I want to ask one political – somewhat political question. And Doctor Hebert, you're there in Louisiana. I mean, the Affordable Care Act is, if nothing, a political football in a lot of ways. And you now do have, I think for people who may not be as read-in as you guys on the DC circuit, the full circuit, the sense of jeopardy, the sense that any court, any panel could in and of itself wipe away the benefit for 36 states, for millions and millions of people does put this back on the front-burner I would have to argue. In Louisiana, talk a little bit about how this is playing out on the ground, just in terms of the way that the Affordable Care Act exists in law right now.

HEBERT: Well the good part of our country is that if something goes to the Supreme Court, it can be wiped away just as easy as it was enacted. That’s a great thing. In Louisiana, our governor, Governor Bobby Jindal, didn't even accept the Medicaid expansion. I'm obviously already furious because the people that need the most health care actually don't have it in my state. So I'm on the front lines fighting this every day. But that sense of doom and gloom around the country, if something were to change where millions of people that now have health care that have been to the doctor for the first time in ten years could not get health care, I think that people will start to light some torches. And I don't mean just light their houses, you know what I mean, for electricity. I mean that it would be a big overthrow because people need health care, and that's bottom line. There's no way around it.

REID: Here come the torches and the pitchforks! Thank you very much Doctor Corey Hebert and Ari Melber.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.