Chad’s Morning Brief: Supreme Court Justices Seem Split Over Obamacare, Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Worries Democrats, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for March 5, 2015.
The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday that poses a serious challenge to Obamacare. The question that Justices will have to answer is over tax subsidies and whether or not those subsidies are legal. According to the Washington Post, the court is divided.
If there was a reason for optimism for the Obama administration, it came from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Kennedy, a potential swing vote, questioned whether the challengers’ reading of the law — that federal tax subsidies should only be available in the 16 states and District of Columbia that have set up their own insurance marketplaces — would cause “serious constitutional problems” of coercion.
Kennedy told Washington lawyer Michael A. Carvin, representing the challengers, that there was “something very powerful” about the government’s argument that denying subsidies to those in states where federal authorities have set up the exchanges would lead to a host of problems at odds with the goals of the law.
At issue in the case — the most serious challenge to the law since the justices upheld it as constitutional in 2012 — is whether millions of Americans who receive tax subsidies to buy health insurance are doing so illegally. If the justices rule that the payments are not allowed, the entire health-care law could be in jeopardy.
The latest showdown between the Obama administration and the conservative legal strategists who have targeted the law since its passage in 2010 focuses on a once obscure phrase in the legislation: “established by the State.”
The challengers say the language clearly means that the subsidies are available only for qualified individuals who purchase insurance through a marketplace — called an “exchange” — that was “established by the State.” But only about a third of the states, plus the District of Columbia, have done so.
No one really knows how the Supreme Court will rule and after what happened last time, I know I wouldn't put any money on a bet. I think the subsidies argument is a good one but it would surprise me if the court had the courage to undo the law. Hopefully, I am wrong.
Democrats Might Not Be Ready for Hillary
Since news broke that Hillary Clinton used a private email account to conduct government business while Secretary of State Democrats have supported Clinton, at least publicly. According to the New York Times though, Democrats privately are worried.
An array of leading Democrats echoed Ms. Feinstein’s view, defending Mrs. Clinton broadly while sidestepping questions about transparency and ethics. Some even went to great lengths to dismiss the report.
“People have different ways of communicating,” said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland. “I have a granddaughter who does nothing but text. You’ll never find a letter written with her. So everybody’s different.”
The chorus of confident, if less-than-fully briefed, supporters was perhaps the most vivid illustration yet that, unlike when Mrs. Clinton ran eight years ago, Democratic officials are overwhelmingly supportive of her, invested in her success and unwilling to offer even mild public criticism.
Indeed, even from the safety of anonymity, Democrats quickly shifted on Tuesday from the basic facts about Mrs. Clinton’s email practices to grousing over the initial lack of an aggressive response by her advisers and her allies.
That seemingly flat-footed reaction, several Democratic strategists said, illustrated how Mrs. Clinton’s decision to delay a formal start to her campaign had left her vulnerable. She has waited until recent weeks to begin hiring staff and creating the sort of sprawling infrastructure a presidential bid demands. She also only recently hired researchers to start reviewing her paper trail from the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and the past two years as a private citizen, to identify potential trouble spots that might need to be addressed later in the campaign.
Hillary Clinton's campaign hasn't even started yet and she is showing signs of weakness. Hillary Clinton is beatable. However, Republicans have shown in the past that they can't capitalize on a sure bet.
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