Supreme Court hearing: Affordable Health Care Act
In this courtroom illustration, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli (R) speaks to Justice Antonin Scalia (L), Chief Justice John Roberts (C) and Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 27, 2012. REUTERS/Art Lien
- Supreme Court weighs all-or-nothing on healthcare law
The fate of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul will be on the line on Wednesday when the Supreme Court considers whether the entire law must fall without its centerpiece insurance mandate.
Completing three days of historic arguments, the nine justices will hear arguments on whether the rest of the law, Obama's signature domestic accomplishment, can survive should the court decide Congress exceeded its powers by requiring all Americans buy insurance by 2014.
The Obama administration faced skeptical questioning on Tuesday from the court's five-member conservative majority on the insurance requirement. But it was unclear whether it would strike it down or let it stand.
Read more here
- FASCINATING minute-by-minute, behind-the-scenes account of this morning's oral arguments, by @jamiedupree t.cocomment by Ethan Klapper via twitter 3/28/2012 12:36:56 PM
- A lawyer discovered how far the U.S. Supreme Court will go to close itself off from the public when it hears a case, no matter how many people on Twitter may be interested.
Casey Mattox went to the court on Tuesday to see historic arguments over whether to strike down the Obama administration's healthcare law.
His plan was to give live updates and the idea appeared to work as descriptions from the arguments showed up on the Twitter feed of the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group where Mattox is a senior counsel.
Read more here
- Here are the transcripts from the previos two days of hearing on the Affordable Care Act -- today's transcript is expected to be released sometime after noon:
March 26th transcript
March 27th transcript
- NBC's Chuck Todd believes the White House thinks they might get 6-3 support for the Affordable Health Care act, down from 7-2.
- Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein suggests the White House may have made a stronger argument for the Affordable Care Act if they had sent Ronald Reagan's solicitor general to argue their case. Klein used this blog article in his argument.
How closely are people on Twitter watching the hearings? Here's a chart showing volume of conversations referencing Health Care Reform and the Supreme Court Oral Arguments over the past two days. (click for larger)
Health care reform conversations on Twitter since January 20, 2009 (click for larger)
- Propublica provides a handy chart to understand what happens if the Supreme Court blocks the insurance mandate.
- A Buzzfeed contributor finds Justice Scalia contradicting one of his most famous arguments during yesterday's hearing.
Details on who is involved in the hearing, notable audience members, and the layout of the court room.
- The National Journal has a great flow chart that shows the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act is not just a yes-or-no case.
- The "Conversation" module on Reuters' Social Pulse page has been updated with some of this morning's best analysis on Day 3 of the Affordable Care Act arguments.
- The scene outside Supreme Court: A gorilla, a giant banana, a blues band, & woman w/ clown make-up in a tricorn hat ringing a bell.comment by Chris Moody via twitter 3/28/2012 1:52:28 PM
- Broccoli, cellphones and the Obama healthcare law
If Congress has the power to require that Americans obtain health insurance, U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday asked hypothetical questions on what would be next - insisting that people eat broccoli, buy a cellphone or get burial insurance?
Read more here
- Lots of analysis yesterday on the line of questioning by conservative justices on the Supreme Court, signaling portions of the law -- if not the entire act -- could be struck down.
But The New Repbulic's Jonathan Cohn finds a sliver of optimism in the line of questioning. Cohn says administration officials reminded reporters that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge went on to uphold the law even after giving the government a hard time during questioning; Cohn points to Sam Stein's Huffington Post article that revealed similarities between the D.C. judge's questions and those posed by conservative justices yesterday.
Obama healthcare legislation supporter Margot Smith (L) of California tries to block out legislation opponent Janis Haddon (R) of Georgia as groups rally on the sidewalk during the third and final day of legal arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court in Washington, March 28, 2012. [REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst]
Five independent experts weigh in on the impact of severing the individual mandate but retaining the American Care Act market reforms. (click for larger)
- Analysts and observers might be critical of how Solicitor General Donald Verrilli defended the Affordable Care Act yesterday before the Supreme Court, but at least one group is coming to his defense: The White House.
- "The court’s conservatives apparently believe in the land of the free. Circa 1804." Slate analyzes the Affordable Care Act from the perspective of the conservative justices.
The Obama for America campaign released this graphic on Wednesday in an attempt to make their case for the Affordable Care Act. The graphic shows how much more women pay for health insurance by state before and after the Affordable Care Act (starting in 2014). "Another reason to like Obamacare," the group said on their Tumblr blog.
Data source: National Women's Law Center
- The Supreme Court hearing on the Affordable Care Act isn't just being followed here in the United States; the SCOTUS hearings are being followed globally for its possible tie to the November election.
The Telegraph's Peter Foster published a great piece of analysis on how the election could go "nuclear" if SCOTUS strikes down the act.
- Kevin Russell at SCOTUSblog provides this update from inside the court:
Paul Clement is finished. The Court was skeptical that the whole act should fall if the individual mandate is invalid. But there wasn’t any clear indication of how far the Court would go.
- Another update from SCOTUSblog, from Amy Howe:
We are roughly two-thirds of the way through the severability argument. The government’s lawyer was finishing up when I left the building. So far it is hard to see where this one is going. Almost all of the Justices asked Clement questions, and many were skeptical of his argument that if the mandate and the provisions link to it go, all that would be left is a hollow shell.
Here's a look at some of the other cases on the Supreme Court's 2011-2012 docket, including other health care issues the court will take up.
Media outnumber real people this morning. t.cocomment by ArmstrongDrew via Instagr.am 3/28/2012 3:44:31 PM
Religious community prays at the court. t.cocomment by ArmstrongDrew via Instagr.am 3/28/2012 3:44:37 PM
- MoJo's Kevin Drum says he still believes the Supreme Court will uphold the individual mandate after yesterday's arguments, but he's not convinced the decision will come down to 7-2 any longer. NBC's Chuck Todd offered similar analysis earlier this morning on Twitter, saying the White House believes 6-3 is more realistic.
- SCOTUS scene has passed crucial media circus threshold -- more media than protesters.comment by ArmstrongDrew via twitter 3/28/2012 3:47:50 PM
...and the camera guys join them on their knees. t.cocomment by ArmstrongDrew via Instagr.am 3/28/2012 4:11:46 PM
- Clement was in top form again. Argued that the mandate is linked to guaranteed issue/community rating, which is linked to exchanges etc. 1/2comment by brianbeutler via twitter 3/28/2012 4:12:02 PM
- Amicus Curiae Bartow Farr did a solid job arguing that the mandate and only the mandate should fall. Roberts at times seemed receptive.comment by brianbeutler via twitter 3/28/2012 4:12:03 PM
- From Reuters:
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts questions how to discern intent of Congress, protecting patients versus affordable care.
Key U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy expresses concerned about cost risks to insurance companies if mandate alone invalidated.
- CNN 'train wreck' comment on healthcare case leaves a mark
Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin appeared on CNN minutes after court arguments concluded for the day to declare the case "a train wreck for the Obama administration." The administration's lawyer gave an "awful" performance, he said.
Read more here
- From Reuters:
The U.S. Supreme Court struggled on Wednesday over what to do about President Barack Obama's entire healthcare overhaul should the nine justices decide to strike down as unconstitutional the insurance requirement underpinning the law.
At the end of a 90-minute session, no clear consensus emerged for the fate of the entire law should the justices decide to void its key provision - the mandate that most Americans obtain medical insurance by 2014 or face a penalty.
The court - in the third and final day of historic arguments in the case - is expected issue a ruling by late June.
- The Los Angeles Times reports on comments made Wednesday by Supreme Court conservative justices that seems to indicate they're willing to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act law entirely, rather than just the individual mandate portion.
- Paul Clement, representing the 26 states that are challenging the law, argued on Wednesday that if the individual mandate portion of the healthcare law is struck down, the rest of the law must go down as well.
According to the Los Angeles Times, conservative justices seemed to agree.
- Reuters journalist Mark Miller looks at what's in stake for you if the Affordable Care Act is upheld or struck down:
Ordinary Americans have a lot at stake this week as the Supreme Court holds hearings on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
It is not clear what the outcome will be, and it is not clear where Americans stand on it. While two-thirds of Americans oppose the individual insurance mandate that is at the heart of the Obama Administration's healthcare reform law, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, the polls also reveal more nuanced attitudes.
See what's at stake here
- Inbox: OBAMACARE IN CRITICAL CONDITION, SAYS BETTING FIRMcomment by Ethan Klapper via twitter 3/28/2012 4:54:22 PM
- Tom Goldstein, SCOTUS blogger and teacher of Supreme Court litigation at Stanford and Harvard:
"I think the court is really struggling and divided about what to do with severability if it strikes the individual mandate down. The more conservative a justice is the more likely they are to hold that the entire act should be struck down and let Congress fix the pieces that it wants to re-enact. I don't think that the full court will go that far."
- Someone in the Reuters newsroom asked about the origins of the term "Obamacare," the seemingly-pejorative term used for describing the Affordable Care Act.
According to the Atlantic Wire, the term appears to have first been used by Jeanne Schulte Scott in the journal Healthcare FInancial Management, published in March 2007 but likely distributed one month earlier.
- Ian Mikhiser, senior constitutional policy analyst at the Center For American Progress Action Fund (in the Reuters building), said he was encourage by Alito asking Clement if he had a fallback theory, indicating skepticism among even conservative justices about the arguments to overturn the act.
"That seems to indicate to me that there's four votes I know we've got and we'll probably be able to peel off a lot more."
- Transcript from this morning's hearing by SCOTUS on the Affordable Care Act here - Scribd.com
How popular is the term "ObamaCare?" This graphic released by Google on Wednesday puts it into perspective. Source: Google Politics blog
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