Letter: Congress at fault for poorly written legislation

To the editor:

The recent Supreme Court ruling regarding subsidy provisions of the Affordable Care Act is an almost perfect example of an ongoing dilemma posed by conflicting perspectives of governance within the several branches of the federal government.

More specifically I remain somewhat conflicted by the court’s ruling which essentially leaves the ACA intact at this point. I should first state that I regard ACA as bad legislation and clearly unaffordable to the country in the long run. However, I must concede that in this case, the court probably read the intent of the Congress correctly — poorly expressed as it was.

The larger problem here was the fact that a nine-member body of honorable, but unelected, men and women were tasked with determining the future of a critically important federal law based on the ambiguous wording of one sentence in a 1,000-plus page document.

The difficulty of the court’s task in this case is clearly reflected in the narrow five-to-four ruling on the matter, and in the strongly worded opposing arguments by the court’s justices. While much blistering criticism of the court regarding its ruling is not surprising, I feel much more criticism should be directed at the elected branch of government most answerable to the people of the nation.

Congress has been consistently derelict in its duty to clearly frame binding statutory law that does not require a nine-member court — or tens of thousands of unelected federal agency functionaries — to decide what Congress really meant.

David A. Nealy