Live Coverage Of Supreme Court, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday morning to uphold President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement so far – healthcare reform. The decision comes in middle of a heated presidential campaign, and America’s political class and millions of ordinary people were looking to the Supreme Court to see which way it rules on the law.
The legal challenge was centred around the constitutionality of the so-called individual mandate, which compels Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty. The Democrats’ aim was to extend health coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans and control costs. Opponents have cast the mandate as an overreach of governmental authority.
JThe Globe’s Affan Chowdhry and Chris Hannay will be joined by Melissa Haussman, a Carleton University political scientist who studies U.S. politics and health care. (Globe and Mail)
TSA Screeners Sleeping, Officials have fired eight screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey after they were captured by surveillance cameras sleeping or violating other standards.
The Transportation Security Administration had suspended the employees after they were videotaped in a baggage room in December.
The TSA would not say how many of the firings were for sleeping on duty.
Their union tells The Star-Ledger of Newark all eight would appeal their dismissals.
Meanwhile, the newspaper reports the TSA also is looking into photographs of screening supervisors who appear to be sleeping in front of monitors used for detecting explosives and other threats. (AP)
Supreme Court Healthcare Ruling, In a landmark ruling with wide-ranging implications, the Supreme Court today upheld the so-called individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, the key part of President Obama’s signature health care law.
The court ruled that the mandate is unconstitutional under the Constitution’s commerce clause, but it can stay as part of Congress’s power under a taxing clause. The court said that the government will be allowed to tax people for not having health insurance.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
In a speech today, Obama said from the White House that he wanted to move on, even as House Republicans vowed to vote symbolically to repeal it, and as his main opponent argued that the best way to ditch the law is to kick Obama out of office.
“The highest court in the land has now spoken,” Obama said. “We will continue to implement this law. And we will continue to improve on it where we can.”
Obama insisted that the debate over the political benefits from the court’s ruling “completely misses the point.”
“It should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics,” he said. “I did it because I believed it was good for the country.”
The ruling is a clear victory for the Obama administration and a defeat for Republicans, who had anticipated that at least some of the law would be struck down. But it also means the debate will continue.
“It actually settles nothing. By shifting the debate to the tax arena, and with a four-justice dissent, the decision guarantees only that the broader fight over a suitable national health policy will continue,” said Richard Saltman, a professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. “In effect, the court decided this was too hot to handle. The focus will (has already) shift back to the political arena, where a deeply divided electorate will have to decide which policy path they want the country to pursue.” (ABC News)
Obamacare Healthcare Bill, In a decision that marks the end of months-long legal debate, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including its controversial individual mandate.
The healthcare bill, more widely known as “Obamacare,” has faced scrutiny since its initial passage in 2009. The individual mandate, which required citizens to either purchase healthcare or face fines, was among the most controversial of the law’s provisions.
Ferdinand Schlapper, director of Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota, said that in keeping the law the federal government now parallels Boynton’s belief in the importance of the healthcare safety net.
The University’s own mandate, which Boynton COO Carl Anderson says has been in effect for 25 years, was not subject to change regardless of the court’s ruling.
He said he feels now that the Supreme Court has come out in favor of Affordable Care, “our rationale feels like it’s being recognized on a much bigger level.” (AP)
Chief Justice John Roberts, Chief Justice John Roberts turned out today to be not quite the person then-Senator Barack Obama voted against for the Supreme Court in 2005.The conservative who President George W. Bush tapped not just to serve on but lead the nation’s highest court delivered the crucial vote – and wrote the opinion for – the decision upholding the constitutionality of the key provision of now-President Obama’s health care law.
In upholding the law’s individual mandate, Roberts handed the incumbent Democrat a political victory as Obama tries to fend off a reelection challenge from Republican Mitt Romney.
It’s a long way from their rocky start, when Roberts botched Obama’s 35-word presidential oath of office, forcing the nation’s newly minted leader to ask the chief justice to come to the White House for a do-over after some conservatives claimed he technically was not president.
It also was not the result some liberals and Democrats expected before the decision was unveiled this morning.
Little more than 12 hours earlier, the Senate candidate for whom Obama campaigned in Boston on Monday – fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren – was on MSNBC saying the ruling would be a telling gauge for assessing the politicization of the Supreme Court.
“We need to use this moment to reflect on the importance of the Supreme Court and who sits on the Supreme Court,” Warren told liberal talk show host Rachel Maddow.
Noting the justices ruled earlier this week to uphold their 2010 Citizens United decision that has unleashed unprecedented spending on this year’s presidential election, the Harvard Law School professor issued a warning and made a pitch for her election to the upper chamber of Congress. (Boston Globe)
Stockton Bankruptcy In 2012, Stockton could become the largest U.S. city to declare bankruptcy after a deadline to make a deal with its creditors passed and the city’s mayor said Tuesday she did not believe a settlement had been reached.
Mayor Ann Johnston told KCRA-TV that a formal bankruptcy filing now appears “very likely.”
In the past three years, officials in the city that was slammed by the collapse of the housing market dealt with $90 million in deficits through a series of drastic cuts.
They eliminated one-fourth of the city’s police officers, one-third of the fire staff, and 40 percent of all other employees. They also cut wages and medical benefits.
To plug next year’s anticipated $26 million budget shortfall, a proposed budget to be considered Tuesday night would suspend payments for debts and legal claims; reduce payments for retiree medical benefits; further cut some pay and benefits; and increase revenue through code enforcement and parking citations.
The proposed budget includes no major service reductions, City Manager Bob Deis said.
“The whole purpose of filing Chapter 9 is to avoid an uncontrolled chaotic situation,” Deis said previously. “Bankruptcy provides the equivalent of a pause button. It retains services and provides structure so you don’t have a bunch of lawsuits.”
A formal bankruptcy filing could come as soon as Wednesday.
City officials did not immediately return a request Tuesday by The Associated Press for comment about the mayor’s remarks. City spokeswoman Connie Cochran has said the negotiations with creditors, which carried a deadline of midnight Monday, were confidential, and nothing would be announced until the City Council meeting Tuesday.
City officials say the river port city of 290,000 in the Central Valley has run out of options. In recent years, thousands of new homes mushroomed in Stockton, part of a suburban housing boom that attracted buyers from the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. (AP)