Scalia: You Expect Us to Read 2,700 Pages?

Justice Scalia, during oral arguments today… I guess he said to the government lawyer, Mr. Verrilli… And the discussion today was the severability of the mandate from the rest of the health care law. And they’re discussing what aspects of it to keep. They’re all speaking hypothetically. If the mandate gets thrown out, does the whole thing go? Do we keep parts of it? Scalia, during oral arguments, said (chuckling), “You want us to go through 2,700 pages?” A justice of the US Supreme Court said to the government lawyer, “You want us to go through 2,700 pages?” Do you realize that?

What do you think the number is of members of the House of Representatives that have read that bill? How many of them do you think have read all 2,700 pages and know what’s in it? We know that it was rammed through so fast that nobody… Well, not nobody. Very few people who voted for that bill had seen it, had read it. It wasn’t around long enough. It wasn’t posted long enough. John Conyers said (paraphrased) “Hey, we can’t be expected to read this stuff. That’s why we got lawyers. Lawyers read it and they tell us what it says. It’s all legalese. We don’t understand this stuff.” And he said it with a completely straight face and he said it with utter sincerity.

He’s a member of Congress from Detroit, and he’s utterly serious. “Oh, yeah, well, well… You can’t expect us to read this. We wouldn’t understand it. We hire people to read it for us and tell us what’s in it.” It sounds like Scalia hasn’t read it, either. “You want us to read 2,700 pages?” That’s hilarious! What it really signals is they’re not gonna get into the minutia of this. Ask yourself: How are they gonna decide? If they throw the mandate out but then they decide to keep parts of the rest of it, how are they gonna do it? The court is gonna read the 2,700 pages, and then the court is gonna vote on it all? Come on. Give me a break. That isn’t going to happen.



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