Thursday Reads: Upcoming Supreme Court Decisions and Other NewsPosted: June 25, 2015 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Affordable Care Act, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Obamacare, same-sex marriage, US Supreme Court 84 Comments
The Supreme Court justices will convene this morning at 10AM. No one knows which rulings they plan to release. Will we learn their decision on same sex marriage? I hope so. I’m guessing they will leave the announcement of their decision on the Affordable Care Act for last. But who knows?
ABC News reports: Supreme Court Has Seven Final Cases to Decide, Including Gay Marriage and Obamacare.
The high court is saving the high drama for the end of its term.
As June dwindles, seven cases are left for the Supreme Court to decide — including one that could legalize same-sex marriage across the country and one that will significantly affect the future of Obamacare.
The court is scheduled to announce decisions Thursday, Friday and Monday, and it could add days beyond that. There’s no indication which decisions will be released on which days.
The seven cases are summarized at the link. On the two most prominent cases:
Same Sex Marriage
In a landmark decision, the court will confront two questions. The first is whether states can ban same-sex marriage. The second is whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states.
All eyes are on Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote three of the court’s most important opinions on gay rights. At an oral argument in April, Kennedy asked tough questions of both sides, and at one point he said “it’s very difficult for the court to say, oh, well, we know better” what defines marriage than centuries of tradition limiting it to the union of a man and a woman.
Affordable Care Act
The justices could deal a potentially crippling, if not fatal, blow to President Barack Obama’s signature health law.
The challenge centers on whether the federal government is violating the act by offering subsidies to lower- and middle-income people who live in states that haven’t set up their own health care insurance “exchanges.”
Sixteen states have exchanges up and running. The remaining 34 rely on the federal exchange. The law says the subsidies can be made available only to people living where exchanges have been “established by the state.”
The plaintiffs argue that the subsidies are illegal because the federal government isn’t a state. The federal government argues that it was always clear that the subsidies would be available to anyone who bought insurance on an exchange. The insurance industry argues that if the federal subsidies are struck down, Obamacare itself would enter a “death spiral,” with costs rising for a shrinking number of participants, eventually causing the system to collapse.
Read about the other cases at the link.
Possible Outcomes on Same Sex Marriage
Although no one can really know what’s going on in Anthony Kennedy’s confused mind, most pundits expect the Supremes to decide that states cannot ban same sex marriage. I hope they’re right.
Richard Wolf at USA Today: Anticipating high court’s blessing, same-sex couples plan weddings.
Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes have sent out “Save the Date” cards and plunked down thousands of dollars for their November wedding, which promises to be Texas-style big.
Brittany Rowell and Jessica Harbuck are busy laying plans for a January wedding in Mississippi, with traditional white dresses and all the trimmings.
Tim Love and Larry Ysunza have reserved their church for an October wedding in Kentucky, about the time of their 35th anniversary together.
Liz Neidlinger and Erika Doty have their sights set on an outdoor sculpture garden in Michigan next May.
Jon Coffee and Keith Swafford were engaged last October in Tennessee and decided to marry in a year, regardless of court action. If it had to be merely symbolic, that would be sufficient.
What sets the five couples apart from your average wedding planners is a small impediment: They can’t get married in their home states — not yet, anyway. But they’re so confident the Supreme Court will change that in the coming days that they already are making plans for the big day.
Chicago Tribune: Coming gay marriage ruling triggers anticipation, anxiety in gay couples.
Chantel and Marcela Gatica-Haynes, who live in Arizona, were married in a garden ceremony at an Ojai, Calif. bed-and-breakfast on Sept. 7, 2013. The wedding came less than three months after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ended Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. They returned home to Flagstaff and were married again last October after a federal judge ruled Arizona’s ban on the marriages was unconstitutional.
Though many observers predict the coming ruling will open the door wider to same-sex marriage, Chantel Gatica-Haynes worries her marriage could be impacted by a ruling against the unions. She worries more that a ruling upholding state bans could affect Marcela’s attempt to adopt Chantel’s 1-year-old daughter, Aspen.
“We’re just in this holding pattern,” she said. “The things that are hanging out there will affect our daughter’s future even when we’re gone.”
More at the link.
The Boston Globe: Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision still in question.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, the justices have considered two principal questions:
1) Does the Constitution require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2) If same-sex couples marry in one state, where it’s legal, must other states recognize their marriages?
If the justices say yes on the first question, then same-sex couples in all states will be able to marry. If the justices say no to the first question, but yes to the second, then same-sex marriages will be recognized in every state, but states will not have the duty to marry same-sex couples.
If the justices say no to both questions, then states without same-sex marriage will be neither required to perform same-sex unions, nor to recognize unions performed out of state.
At oral arguments earlier this year, Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely viewed as the swing vote on the case, asked the petitioners early on about the role of the court in changing a definition of marriage that has been used for “millennia,” instead of allowing citizens to engage with the issue through the states.
But Kennedy, who spoke only 17 times during the hearing — the least of any justice barring famously silent Clarence Thomas — also spoke of the ability of same-sex couples to recognize the “nobility and sacredness” of marriage.
Read the rest at the Globe.
NPR: Maps: What The Supreme Court’s Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Could Mean.
It’s always tough to predict how the court will rule but, broadly speaking, there are three main possibilities: the simplest is that the court declares state marriage bans unconstitutional, meaning states will all perform and recognize same-sex marriage. That’s a pretty simple outcome, but things get much trickier in the other two cases.
One other possibility is that the court decides to uphold bans. That means states that currently have bans could continue having theirs. But it also leaves 20 states up in the air legally. That group includes states where federal action struck down state bans. If the Supreme Court says bans are constitutional, those states could go back to having bans in place.
And there’s also the possibility of the court saying bans are constitutional, but that all states must all recognize marriages performed in other states. This option retains the messiness of the above possibility, but it does mean that couples would be recognized equally nationwide.
While you can break the decisions down into three neatly color-coded maps, there is a complicated web of state laws at work, and it means outcomes could vary widely by state if the court decides bansare constitutional. Adam Romero, senior counsel at UCLA’s Williams Institute, says the states where federal action struck down state bans are where things could get really complicated.
Read more and check out the maps at the NPR link.
The Affordable Care Act Ruling
From New York Magazine: Chief Justice Roberts’s Big Health-Care Moment, by Cristian Farias.
Chief Justice John Roberts has big plans after the end of the current Supreme Court term. He will be hopping on a plane to Japan, half a world away from any fallout that may result in the aftermath of King v. Burwell, the closely watched challenge to the Affordable Care Act. According to SCOTUSblog, that decision could come as early as this Friday.
Three years ago, when Roberts first saved President Obama’s signature law, he headed for the other side of the globe, to Malta — a CBS Newsscoop about a vote switch and internal “arm-twisting” by Roberts aroused such conservative wrath, the Mediterranean island seemed like a good place for him to teach some law and weather the controversy. “After ruling, Roberts makes a getaway from the scorn,” said the Times.
No one knows where the chief justice stands in King, but there are real-world, pragmatic reasons for him to side with the government again — even more so than with NFIB v. Sebelius, which threatened a law still in its infancy and not yet fully implemented. Now the prospects of unraveling insurance markets and millions losing health-care subsidies with an adverse ruling are real, and Roberts more than any of the justices cares about these things because the court bears his name and anything the court does, whether he had something to do with it or not, falls under his legacy. He’s the most accountable member of the least accountable branch.
But consider also that by the time a decision is announced, Roberts will have finished his tenth year on the Supreme Court — a milestone legal scholars and commentators will seize on to discuss that legacy, his jurisprudence, and whether he has delivered on his promise to be the kind of chief justice who merely “calls balls and strikes,” as he famously said during his confirmation hearings. Just yesterday, the Upshot suggested the court is leaning leftward more than any other time in recent history. And other retrospectives have begun to roll out: the Constitutional Accountability Center, a legal advocacy group, has published a series of reports on Roberts’s first decade and his record — on civil rights, campaign finance, access to justice, the environment, equality. The kinds of cases the public cares about. And yes, that includes health care.
Much more interesting analysis at the link.
Washington Post: Supreme Court ruling could push health industry agenda to back burner — again, by Catherine Ho.
The health care industry was hoping this would be the year it could move beyond the Obamacare fight in Washington and on to new priorities, such as improving drug development and patient care.
But the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in King v. Burwell threatens to derail those ambitions.
Industry advocates are concerned that no matter how the court rules on the legality of certain insurance subsidies provided under the law, the health care debate in Congress will once again become dominated by the political divisions over the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“It has the potential for serious chaos and disruption,” said health care lobbyist Ilisa Halpern Paul, who represents hospital systems and health advocacy groups.
The court is expected to rule as early as Thursday on whether to strike down a critical part of the law by invalidating subsidies to 6.4 million Americans in the 34 states that have federally run health insurance exchanges.
If the court rules against the subsidies, Republicans will be scrambling to figure out whether they should find a way to keep them in place until after the 2016 election when they hope a Republican president and GOP-controlled Congress can repeal the law in its entirety. The concern for Republicans is that if they don’t find a way to keep the subsidies in place until a new plan is ready, they will face backlash from constituents who currently use them to offset the cost of their health insurance. The legislative focus on the subsidies would mean all other health-related legislative initiatives that have gained traction recently are likely to come to a halt, at least temporarily.
More at the WaPo.
And some maps of the possible results of the decision at Slate: These Maps Show How Radically the Supreme Court Could Upend the Health Care System.
Once again the fate of the Affordable Care Act rests in the hands of the Supreme Court. In King v. Burwell, the court is weighing whether the federal government can legally provide insurance subsidies to people who have purchased their health care through one of the federally run exchanges in 34 states. Whatever the court decides could also theoretically extend to three other exchanges—in Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon—that are state-based but federally supported. Altogether, roughly $1.7 billion in tax credits and the health insurance of more than six million people is at stake. It’s arguably the biggest existential challenge to Obama’s signature health care reform since the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in 2012.
The crux of the case is a perilous clause buried in the ACA’s hundreds of pages. According to the law’s exact wording, people become eligible for federal insurance subsidies if they’ve purchased care through “an Exchange established by the State.” Because of those last four words, the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell argue that federal subsidies can only be available on state-based exchanges, and not on the federally facilitated ones in most of the country. The Obama administration has countered that the purpose of the law is to make health care accessible, and that “established by the State” should be read with that in mind. Several of the people who helped pen the legislation have dismissed the clause as a drafting error.
Other News, Links Only
#NotOneMore: Undocumented Transgender Woman Who Interrupted President At White House Pride Event Calls to End Deportation.
CNN: Obama shuts down White House heckler: ‘You’re in my house!’
Buzzfeed News: Bobby Jindal’s Plan To Stop Being A Punchline And Actually Win. [Good luck with that.]
Christian Science Monitor: Bobby Jindal was supposed to be the ‘next Reagan.’ What happened? (+video).
Slate: Bernie Sanders, Gun Nut. He supported the most reprehensible pro-gun legislation in recent memory.
NYT: Ex-Advisers Warn Obama that Iran Nuclear Deal “May Fall Short of Standards.”
AP via ABC News: Funeral Plans for South Carolina Church Shooting Victims.
Daily Mail: Harvard professor who covered up Ben Affleck’s slave roots could be dropped from PBS after he is slammed by broadcaster for ‘breaching standards.’
CNN: 2nd prison worker charged in connection with inmates’ escape.
TPM: Lindsey Graham: Charleston Shooter Showed ‘Mideast Hate’ (VIDEO). [WTF?!!]
PIX11.com: Chilling letters from ‘The Watcher’ force NJ family to flee $1.3M dream home.
ABC News: Small Ohio Town Is Focus of FBI Probe After Strange Deaths and Disappearances.
10WAVY.com: NYC: Whole Foods mislabels prepackaged items, overcharges.
WaPo: Whole Foods under investigation for overcharging in NYC.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and enjoy your Thursday.
Court rules in Favor of ACA Subsidies. HOORAY!!!!!!
Here to stay! It truly reflects the influence and fight that our President put forth, and indicates a commitment for all people to have access and to survive. We aren’t going backwards, we are opening doors.
Yes! We are moving forward. Time for everyone to get on board.
Yes, indeed. Sharing.
Woohoo! Celebration dance!
That’s laughable, especially after the Supreme’s interfered with the presidential election in 2000 and selected our president. Scalia is a child.
World to Scalia:
Just a small example of the state keeping Austin from doing something for people. We are in constant battle with them over something.
Good article on this! Roberts even wrote the majority opinion.
Roberts not only slammed the door of the court to most further legal challenges but he also set it up so that an incoming Republican president can’t change the law through new IRS regulations on the subsidies. He really strengthened the hell out of Obamacare. I suspect Roberts was sick and tired of dealing with it.
That could very well be true. He wasn’t about to undermine what he said on the first decision about the mandate penalty being a tax. If he sees the entire thing as tax related, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t agree with the tax subsidies. Plus, the entire lawsuit was just so much going after an overlooked word or so. Dealing with that kind of picayune nonsense would piss me off too.
Marriage Equality ruling will likely come tomorrow. All of us in the LGBT community have waited entire lifetimes for a SCOTUS ruling on this issue, so a day or so more matters little, except for the fact we’re all on pins & needles. 🙂
It”s high time for these long awaited changes! Tomorrow, three things to celebrate, wait, four:
The flag is coming down, the ACA is working for all us, Gay rights are equal rights, and Soccer, Go USA.
Five, my granddaughter was selected for National Soccer Player for the month of July. She makes Idaho Proud. What a wonderful experience. She’s currently assisting teachers in the middle school, grading papers, and working with kids, and doing this with her free time, and always on the soccer field. She going to Canada to watch the women’s cup.
Good things, great things, right here in USA.
Congrats to your granddaughter, Fannie, and to you!
Congratulations to your granddaughter! How wonderful, USA, USA, USA!!!
Congratulations Fannie and Granddaughter. That’s quite an accomplishment.
It sure is. Wow!
Thanks everybody, she’s just 13, and quite the teenager.
You’re lucky to have her, Fannie, and she’s lucky to have you.
It could be tomorrow or Monday. After the wins today on fair housing and ACA, I’m hopeful. How will you celebrate a win? We’ll do something involving flowers and champagne and whatever street party happens. If it comes tomorrow I said I’d get up extra early on Sunday for a front row curb spot at the Pride parade. I’m not sure my knees want me to help put up the Pink Triangle this year, it’s a steep hillside, but the sight of it ALWAYS gives me a thrill, whether up close or from across the Bay:
To pass the time while waiting here are 2 video interviews with Jim Obergefell, ‘the face of our case’. He seems to embody much of what I admire about the midwestern temperament:
If there is cause for rejoicing tomorrow, for me it will be tempered with mourning for Clementa Pinckney and all the Nine. I was not surprised to see this:
I am hurting so over Charleston. I am white, my grandchildren are Black. Black Lives Matter cuts to the heart of me. I realize many here are not Religious and I myself am not Christian and do not follow any bible, but I was moved by listening to this newly written hymn by a woman named Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. It was sung by Laura Ash at a Mass in Seattle on 6/21, the melody and tone in her voice spoke to my sorrow and brought me comfort for which I’m grateful. I hope its ok to share:
Thank you for sharing the videos. I’d seen the Obergefell video earlier today. His sense of calmness is comforting to me and I’m sure it’s had the same effect on many others.
Hoping for Tomorrow.
Got another win, Texas housing discrimination was done unfairly! Will not be allowed.
On a roll!
Guess notorious RBG and her smile were a leading indicator!!!
She’s just magnificent. We’ll never see another quite like RBG.
Best legal mind on the court.
That’s a bigger win that commonly portrayed. Really strengthens the Fair Housing Act nationwide. We are indeed on a roll!
The new pope must’ve gotten to Kennedy. Scalia must be in a total tizzy about it.
Scalia has went a little batshit this morning. 🙂
Just posted a link to that from The Atlantic above.
President Obama’s remarks on the SCOTUS decisions were on point and really good.
For the first time I heard POTUS articulate every single selling point and accomplishment of the ACA precisely and with total conviction. Sometimes his speeches are halting and not clear, but this one was exceptional.
I need to review how this articulates with Medicare…If this ruling applies to All ages.
Does this set up a conflict?
It wouldn’t seem to conflict with Medicare but, if you find that it may, please let us know. Thanks.
Lord, Scalia is an effete snob:
Just saw a Sons of Confederate Veterans guy on TV that looked like an escapee from a Col Sanders Chicken ad.
LOL!!!! Well bless his little pea picking heart. 🙂
O’Malley superpac has started attacking Sanders.
TBogg hits another one out of the park.. 🙂
Raw Story: The GOP isn’t in trouble because of their racist base, they’re in trouble because they’re assholes
Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole. Just in case you were wondering.
Sorry. Inappropriate. My mind works in strange ways.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Hey, one mea culpa is more than enough! Sometimes things happen and our minds make metaphorical jumps that look good from one direction but not in another.
Here’s a better song:
Thanks go to SophieCT on Uppity’s blog for finding the “Chelsea’s Mom” video!
The SCOTUS rules same-sex marriage legal nationwide! Mazel tov!
Even though I thought they would rule this way, I find myself crying with joy. It’s a great day.
Freedom and equality rings throughout America, from east to west, from south to north. Each and every one of us can say, can share and feel love, and spread love.
I am so glad I lived to see this day.
Just saw this news…oh I am so happy for Mouse and all my friends who have waited for this….
Thank you Darlin!!! My partner and I are both ecstatic.Even though we both have a stomach bug, we’re already planning our Wedding!! I can’t believe I just typed that. Planning our wedding, planning OUR wedding, Planning OUR WEDDING!!!!
Thank you all for the support. I LOVE YOU ALL
Whoops. Trying to say…..My partner and I are both ECSTATIC, even though we’re both sick with a stomach bug.
Anyway. Thanks again for the support Skydancers.
SO Happy for you and your spouse-to-be! Love triumphs!
I’m thrilled for you both.
That’s fantastic news, Mouse. Wonderful!
You were the very first person I thought of when I heard the news early this morning – I am so very happy for you!! Let us know the date so we can help celebrate!! xo ❤
Thank you darling! I appreciate the love and support. I’ll keep y’all posted.
xo to your too.
This is for you and your soon to be wife, Mouse.
I don’t know why the image did not show up. The SPLC excerpted the words of Justice Kennedy and posted it to their FB account.
I’m getting ready to read the decision, I hope I understand all of it. Here’s one of the quotes I read this morning from Kennedy that I liked.
“In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right”
Yes, that was the final paragraph that the SPLC posted – with, of course, their “Y’all means All” hashtag. 🙂
I am so excited for you and your partner, Mouse! You have waited such a long time for this. I’m sure it will be a beautiful wedding.
My face is going to be there, so it won’t be too beautiful, but it will be WONDERFUL.
Thank you Beata.
Congrats to you and your partner. Always and Forever.
Where are my fellow Sky Dancers? Have I died and gone to heaven?
Perfect!!! Thanks my friend. Celebrate!!!!!
Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.
Thank you Janicen for the links. This is a wonderful day. I know the memory of your brother shines even more brightly and beautifully today.
Thank you. He’s been on my mind all morning. I wish I could hug him.
I know how badly you miss him. I lost a very dear cousin and countless friends to that illness. I have felt more sadness today over those we’ve lost on the way to this victory than I was expecting to feel. A sort of melancholy for all of the friends who just didn’t live long enough to see this. It’s amazing how, at the very zenith of joy, you still profoundly feel the loss of those you loved. I suppose it’s just more proof that our loved one’s live forever in our hearts!
The White House changed its profile pic on FB.
Oh snap! I was hoping the image would come up. Oh well, the link works.
Pres Obama is about to speak on the SCOTUS decision. The AP is reporting that a gay couple just got married in Atlanta, GA. 🙂
Pres Obama: Today we made our union “a little more perfect”.
At last! Marriage equality is now the law of the land!
Now if we could just get rid of Citizens United…..
I’ve been so busy getting ready for my mom’s party that this is the first time I’ve been able to get on. Congratulations to Mouse and her partner, Ralph, his daughter and her partner, and to all the other sky dancers who have been hoping and praying for this day to come.
I’m so happy that the justices did the right thing and that the news came out today. This is a wonderful day for America!!!
Thank you BB. Words can’t express the joy in our hearts. It is a wonderful day in America.
I’m incredibly excited about it. And I’m so proud that my state led the way. We have had same sex marriage here since before Kerry ran for president against Bush in 2004
Together 54 years. George Harris 82 and Jack Evans 85 are the first gay couple to Marry in Dallas County
Really good to see all the joy and feel the love shine out in all these comments!