", a documentary
by director Freida Mock
, which opened in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, looks back on the journey of Anita Hill,
who famously testified that her former boss and then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Trailer [more inside]
This morning, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius
, two cases where private corporations have challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate.
, and previously [more inside]
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions
. [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
How John Roberts Orchestrated the Citizens United decision. [more inside]
This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings
in what's likely the most momentous
Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore
: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law
. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate
, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate
that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision
before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice
could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible
. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning
by swing justice Anthony Kennedy
and his fellow conservatives [transcript
], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble
, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck"
for the administration. But it's far from a done deal
, with a third day
of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue.
Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.
But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address. [more inside]
Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror.
"In a case
pitting free speech against national security, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a federal law
(PDF) that makes it a crime to provide 'material support'
to foreign terrorist organizations, even if the help takes the form of training for peacefully resolving conflicts
It's time to find out who owns your democracy, and how they bought it.
Do you feel like US campaign finance is hopelessly shrouded in mystery? Fear not citizen, there's a website for that: The Center for Responsive Politics
has made available a well-organized, highly detailed database of their analysis of US campaign finance to shine a bright nonpartisan light on the green underbelly of US democracy. [more inside]
Today began Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings, with opening remarks from the Senators on the Judiciary Committee, introductions from NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and an opening statement
from Judge Sotomayor herself. Among the shouted protests from pro-life advocates in the gallery, highlights included Sen. Lindsay Graham's statement
about what he thinks the advise-and-consent function of the senate should entail, and Sen. Al Franken's first real moment
in the U.S. Congress.
Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast
) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.