I spent most of the day opining in front of the Supreme Court and in studies on the 6-3 ruling in favor of the Obama Administration in King v. Burwell. I will not subject you to more of that analysis. I have previously indicated that I found the opposing view of the Halbig decision against the Administration to be compelling, though I have always viewed this to be a difficult question upon which people of good-faith could disagree. Yet, in both my prior congressional testimony and my columns, I have never accused the Administration of “jiggery-pokery” — largely because I was not sure what jiggery-pokery is. However, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has written a stinging dissent to King that contains the memorable accusation that the majority was engaging in “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”
Quite fittingly given his prior decision harkening back to the original intent of the Framers, the term originates in the eighteenth century and means a dishonest manipulation or twisting like what we would call a flim-flam today. It can be traced to the Scottish word jouk, meaning to skillfully twist one’s body to avoid a blow like a boxer or fencer. Joukery became a term for underhanded dealing or trickery which led to the association with the word Pawky (from the word pawk or trick) Thus, by the seventeenth century, the first combination of joukery-pawkery were heard and it came into vogue in the 18th Century . . . and now again in the 21st Century.