The unyielding growth of rules, then, has persisted through Republican and Democratic administrations (see chart). Several factors explain it. First, Congress has neither the staff nor the expertise to write complex, technical laws. So lawmakers happily let experts in government agencies fill in the blanks. What Congress does write itself, it writes sloppily. In 2015 the Supreme Court found “more than a few examples of inartful drafting” in the Affordable Care Act. One such error nearly saw the court strike down crucial parts of law; only semantic gymnastics saved it. The “Chevron deference”, a doctrine from a 1984 court ruling, gives agencies wide latitude to interpret laws when they are vaguely written. (Neil Gorsuch, Mr Trump’s nominee to the court, is not a fan.)

What's the meaning of that above sentence in bold? Thanks!

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    In contexts like this, gymnastics (or the equivalent acrobatics and other similar terms) is a straightforward metaphoric usage meaning that the court had to jump through hoops (make a lot of effort) in matters of semantics/ meaning / precise interpretation of legal texts to avoid having to "strike down" (repeal, annul) crucial parts of the relevant law. – FumbleFingers Mar 9 '17 at 15:46

"semantic gymnastics" denotes a stretch of the common interpretation that would be quite usual for the court just like gymnasts habitually stretch their body beyond common limits.

Whether that's sarcastic or humorous is subjective.

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