TOP NEWS: Democracy: June 29, 2012
- Supreme Court Lets Health Law Largely Stand
- House Finds Holder in Contempt Over Inquiry on Guns
- Student loan deal passed by Congress
- Roberts Shows Deft Hand as Swing Vote on Health Care
- A Vindication for Obama, With a Legacy Still Unwritten
Excerpts and More Top Stories
Adam Liptak, NY Times – The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld President Obama’s health care overhaul law, saying its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty was authorized by Congress’s power to levy taxes. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four more liberal members.
Jonathan Weisman and Charlie Savage, NY Times – The Republican-led House of Representatives on Thursday voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. It was the first time in American history that Congress has imposed the sanction on a sitting member of a president’s cabinet. (Emphasis ours).
STUDENT LOANS: Student loan deal passed by Congress
Rosalind S. Helderman, AP via Washington Post – The U.S. Congress on Friday approved a measure on a 373 to 52 vote, freezing federally subsidized student loan rates for a year, and averting a doubling of rates scheduled to occur Sunday. Lawmakers agreed to the item as part of a larger measure that also includes funding for road and bridge construction. The bill was approved in the Senate on a 74 to 19 vote, and now heads to Obama for his signature.
SUPREME COURT: Roberts Shows Deft Hand as Swing Vote on Health Care
Adam Liptak, NY Times – Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has a favorite quotation from one of the giants who preceded him on the Supreme Court. Assessing the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once wrote, “is the gravest and most delicate duty that this court is called on to perform.”
Mark Landler, NY Times – For Barack Obama, who staked his presidency on a once-in-a-generation reshaping of the social welfare system, the Supreme Court’s health care ruling is not just political vindication. It is a personal reprieve, leaving intact his hopes of joining the ranks of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan as presidents who fundamentally altered the course of the country.
More on Elections 2012
Jeff Zeleny, NY Times - Taken aback by the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that upheld the constitutionality of the law, Mr. Romney and Congressional Republicans pledged to intensify their efforts to repeal it, an argument that will be a crucial element of the party’s quest to galvanize conservative activists and win control of the White House and the Senate.
Manu Raju, Jake Sherman, Politico – A GOP sweep and a simple Senate majority could kill the individual mandate in 2013.
NY Times Editorial - After claiming that the health care law is terrible for the country, Mitt Romney didn’t give much of an explanation of what he’d do differently other than repeal it.
HEALTHCARE: Mitt Romney looks for edge on health care
Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, Politico – The former Massachusetts governor, who has repeatedly and stridently accused Obama of enacting an unconstitutional health care law, declared in Washington, D.C., that his view of the Affordable Care Act was unchanged. Obama’s law is still a violation of personal freedom, Romney said, and it’s still bad for the economy.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Adelson Pledges $10 Million to Koch Brother Network
Kenneth P. Vogel, Poitico – “Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson this week pledged $10 million to the Koch brothers’ 2012 efforts, cementing a potent alliance of two of the biggest spending forces in conservative politics,” Ken Vogel scoops this morning. Together the groups in the Koch network intend to spend nearly $400 million ahead of the 2012 election.
SUPREME COURT: GOP sees down-ballot gold in Supreme Court decision
Charles Mahtesian, Politico – While the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the law provided the president with a major victory, the trickle-down political effect isn’t quite so obvious. Put another way, for down-ballot Democrats in red or purple states, the politics of health care still aren’t so good. With Thursday’s defeat, Republicans were handed a powerful tool for motivating their base and a fresh ammo clip for use in House and Senate races across the map.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: After Ruling, a Dash for Cash
Colleen McCain Nelson, Wall Street Journal – When the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on the health-care overhaul, Republicans and Democrats got to work. Within minutes, the call for donations had gone out to the party faithful. For those who are happy and those who are angry, the campaigns have a suggestion for how to express those emotions: Donate now.
More on the Supreme Court Health Care Ruling
Eric Keller, Paul Hastings Stay Current – Notable items resulting from the Supremem Court ruling that will effect employers that sponsor group health plans.
HEALTHCARE: Medicaid Decision Looms for States
Thomas M. Burton, Louise Radnofsky and Jennfer Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal – The Supreme Court’s decision to let states opt out of the health overhaul’s Medicaid expansion without losing current funding for the program lifts a budget mandate from states but could mean fewer Americans gain insurance coverage under the law.
HEALTHCARE/SUPREME COURT: Uncertainty Over States and Medicaid Expansion
Robert Pear, NY Times – The Supreme Court said on Thursday that a huge expansion of Medicaid envisioned in the 2010 health care law was an option, not a mandate, for states. Experts disagreed on whether states would take the option, one of the most important questions created by the court’s decision.
HEALTHCARE/SUPREME COURT: For Health Sector: Forward, March
Anna Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal – The Supreme Court’s decision largely upholding the health-care law lifts the cloud of uncertainty over the health-care industry and employers and puts companies back on a course to prepare for the law’s implementation over the next two years.
Kevin Sack and Reed Abelson, NY Times – The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act shifts the focus from whether sweeping changes to the health insurance market should take place to a scramble to meet the law’s rapidly approaching deadlines.
HEALTHCARE: It’s Up to the Voters Now
Wall Street Journal, EDITORIAL – If there is a modicum of hope in Chief Justice John Roberts’s inglorious one-man opinion Thursday, it is that Americans were reminded again that they cannot count on others to protect their liberty. Certainly judges aren’t reliable. They can be turned by the pressure of the media and the whims of vanity. If Americans want to repeal ObamaCare, their only recourse is to demand it at the ballot box in November.
HEALTHCARE/SUPREME COURT: Roberts’s health-care decision stuns many but is in line with his outlook
Dan Eggen, Washington Post – When he was up for confirmation to the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr. famously compared his job to an umpire in baseball, making sure that everybody plays by the rules. “But it is a limited role,” Roberts added. “Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.”
Bryce Covert, Forbes – SCOTUS has spoken: The U.S. Supreme Court just upheld the Affordable Care Act, saying that the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax. Women in particular should pop the champagne and celebrate. Of those millions of uninsured, 19 million are women.
SUPREME COURT: John Roberts recasts his legacy with health care decision
Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn, Politico – This was Roberts’s moment to leave his imprint on the court, and he seized that moment. His action did not simply cross ideological lines: Roberts appointed himself the architect of the majority opinion holding that the landmark health care law could be justified as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax.
Kelly Phillips Erb, Forbes- To understand the decision, it’s important to understand the role of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court doesn’t weigh in on whether they liked the law or whether the law was good or fair for the country. It’s a pure legal analysis based only on the issues raised in the initial arguments. To understand what the Court is saying, it’s a good idea to have the Constitution handy (try this edition as published by the Legal Information Institute).
HEALTH CARE: The real path to affordable health care for all
Vivek Wadhwa, Washington Post – There is a path to correcting the fundamental problem of health-care costs, and it is carved by technologies that are advancing so rapidly it may now be possible to make health-care abundant and available to all. But we need to focus our energies on harnessing these rapidly emerging technologies and removing bureaucratic and overly burdensome regulatory hurdles.
SUPREME COURT/ HEALTH CARE: Supreme Court health care ruling shakes up 2012 race
Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman – Politico – The Supreme Court’s stunning vindication of President Barack Obama’s health care law represents a huge victory for the president and a morale boost for his battered campaign in the short term — but it’s one with unpredictable consequences on the 2012 presidential election.
HEALTHCARE: Conservatives’ consolation prize
George Will, Washington Post – Conservatives won a substantial victory Thursday. The physics of American politics — actions provoking reactions — continues to move the crucial debate, about the nature of the American regime, toward conservatism. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has served this cause.
SUPREME COURT: Reading Roberts’ Mind
Charles Krauthammer, National Review Online – “It’s the judiciary’s Nixon-to-China … Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court’s legitimacy, reputation and stature. … By denying that it could justify the imposition of an individual mandate, Roberts draws the line against the inexorable decades-old expansion of congressional power under the Commerce Clause fig leaf. … I think the ‘mandate is merely a tax’ argument is a dodge, and a flimsy one at that. (The ‘tax’ is obviously punitive, regulatory and intended to compel.) … There’s only one way [Obamacare] can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress. That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is saying: Your job, not mine. I won’t make it easy for you.”
HEALTHCARE: Why Romney Won’t Repeal Obamacare
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker - ”If Romney were to win in November, the first matter he’d have to deal with would be the fallout from the so-called fiscal cliff of December 31st … Because the fiscal-cliff negotiations will be an enormous fight over the size and scope of the federal government, every government policy will theoretically be open to debate-including, Romney might insist, repeal of the A.C.A. But it’s a fantasy. The negotiations would be dead before they started if Republicans demanded repeal as a price for a Grand Bargain on taxes, spending, and entitlements. The fiscal-cliff negotiations will undoubtedly include a great deal of horse-trading that will infuriate and cheer partisans on both sides. But there is literally nothing Republicans could offer Democrats in return for repealing the Party’s greatest achievement since the Johnson Administration.”
More Top Stories
CONTEMPT: House Vote Finds Holder in Contempt
Evan Perez, Wall Street Journal – The House voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress and prepared to open a legal battle that could test presidential and lawmakers’ constitutional powers.
Darryl Fears, Washington Post – A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and are a threat to public health, a major victory for the Obama administration and a setback to states and trade groups that oppose government regulations on carbon emissions.
James Dao, NY Times - The justices said that a federal law making it a crime to lie about having earned a military decoration was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.
S. CAROLINA: South Carolina Governor Criticizes Accuser
Staff, NY Times - Gov. Nikki Haley lashed out Thursday night against a fellow Republican who has accused her of ethics violations.
Brian Stelter, NY Times – The national news media mostly got it right on Thursday in reporting the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s health care overhaul. But the cable news networks CNN and Fox News Channel initially got it wrong, causing consternation behind the scenes.