U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia smiles during a college address in Chicago on July 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Justice Antonin Scalia clearly gets a kick out of writing his pointed, colorful dissents for the Supreme Court, and his minority opinion in Thursday’s King v. Burwell decision is no exception.

With characteristic vigor, the panel’s most conservative justice lashed out at his colleagues for concluding that the Affordable Care Act allows people on state insurance exchanges established by the federal government to receive subsidies. The opinion offers several new candidates for a master list of Scalia’s best turns-of-phrase, which should be published as a book as far as we are concerned. One example: the majority’s reasoning? “Pure applesauce,” he wrote.

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Here are some of Scalia’s greatest hits from his dissent in King v. Burwell:

— Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third … It rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare…

— The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges…

— The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence…

— Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.”…

— The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so…

–Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved…

–The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the “most natural sense” of the phrase “Exchange established by the State” is an Exchange established by a State. Ante, at 11. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that “it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.” Ante, at 13. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)…

Our colleague, Hunter Schwarz, has more highlights over at The Fix.

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