Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is known to be blunt at times, and he told it straight Tuesday after the justices upheld a lower court’s ruling and overturned another.
“Two out of three ain’t bad,” he said, after the court affirmed a ruling from the Sixth Circuit regarding a dispute between printer cartridge companies, but reversed a decision from the same court in a case regarding taxable wages.
The opinions were read shortly before the justices heard arguments in high-profile challenges to an Obamacare rule that requires corporate health plans to insure birth control.
At one point, Justice Sonia Sotomayor clarified the correct nomenclature for penalties tied to the health care law.
“It’s not called a penalty. It’s called a tax,” she said.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who stunned conservatives by upholding Obamacare’s “individual mandate” in 2012 as a permissible tax, chimed in: “She’s right about that.”
The typically staid courtroom broke into laughter.