CNN’s Don Lemon took on the unenviable — and apparently impossible — task of trying to wrench a truthful comment out of Debbie Wasserman Schultz last night. Lemon played DWS audio of her comments about Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, which contradicted her claim that the Washington Examiner’s Phil Klein misquoted her. Even faced with her own recorded words, DWS continued to insist that Klein misquoted her:
CNN’s Don Lemon: You accused the reporter of misquoting you, you said you didn’t say it. But then in the clip, you said it. And then you said ‘I categorically deny saying it’ — but there it is. How do you respond to that?
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: So Don, if you look at what the Examiner — which is a conservative blog site, so it’s not surprising that they would deliberately misquote me — and I’ll reiterate that they did deliberately misquote me. First, they took only the first line of what i said, and then they cut it off. And so you haven’t played the rest of what I said. And what they did was, they reported that I said that Republican policies were dangerous for Israel, and actually that’s what Ambassador Oren commented on. I never said that Republican policies are bad for Israel.
In fact, Klein never reported that DWS claimed Oren said Republican policies were dangerous for Israel.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett provided a concise summary of the “saving construction” Chief Justice Roberts used to uphold the Obamacare statute. By changing the requirement to buy insurance into an option to pay a penalty, and by making the Medicaid mandate on the states optional as well, the Chief Justice created a revised law he could then deem constitutional. As Prof. Barnett wrote:
By converting the now infamous “individual mandate” into an “option” to buy insurance or pay the remaining “penalty,” he could then uphold the “penalty” as a tax. Then, by similarly rewriting the Medicare requirement being imposed on the states, he was able to “defer” to Congress and uphold the rest of Obamacare. In short, Justice Roberts rewrote the statute so that he could save it in the name of “judicial restraint.”
So what was saved — in the cause of judicial restraint — was a statute judicially re-written, materially different from the one Congress wrote. No one knows if Congress would have passed the rewritten statute in the first place, had it been presented in the form that emerged from the Chief Justice’s opinion: the number of uninsured people covered, the financial cost of the law, and the likely impact on health care are all different from the law Congress enacted. Moreover, in the process, the Chief Justice endorsed a new shared responsibility payment power for Congress that we may see again in the future.