Judge White, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003, insisted that his ruling would not gut or destroy anything. ‘On the contrary,’ he said, ‘the court is upholding the act as written. Congress is free to amend the Affordable Care Act to provide for tax credits in both state and federal exchanges, if that is the legislative will.’

Vague notions of a statute’s ‘basic purpose’ cannot overcome the words of the law itself, he said.