By Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health NewsOriginally published on Tuesday, December 10 No clear split between conservative and liberal Supreme Court justices emerged Tuesday as justices heard arguments over whether the federal government could renege on Congress' promise to pay health insurance companies billions to motivate them to participate in the Obamacare marketplaces. Health insurers hope to recoup $12 billion they believe is owed to them from that Affordable Care Act incentive program. During the hour of oral arguments, six justices appeared to favor the insurers' argument — Chief Justice John Roberts, plus justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh. Samuel Alito seemed to side with the Trump administration. Neither Clarence Thomas nor Neil Gorsuch spoke during the session. The Trump administration argues it doesn't have to pay the money because a Republican-controlled Congress stripped away most of the funding in 2014 and … [Read more...] about Supreme Court Seems Sympathetic To Insurers In Obamacare Case
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New Hampshire’s highest court upheld Friday the conviction of three women who were arrested for going topless on a beach, finding their constitutional rights were not violated. In a 3-2 ruling, the court decided that Laconia’s ordinance does not discriminate on the basis of gender or violate the women’s right to free speech. Citing rulings by several other courts, Associate Justice Anna Barbara Hantz Marconi wrote that courts “generally upheld laws that prohibit women but not men from exposing their breasts against equal protection challenges.” “We have found that the ordinance does not violate the defendants’ constitutional rights to equal protection or freedom of speech under the State and Federal Constitutions,” Marconi wrote. “As such, it does not unduly restrict the defendants’ fundamental rights. Accordingly, we agree with the trial court that the City had the authority to enact the ordinance.”In a dissenting … [Read more...] about New Hampshire court upholds Free the Nipple activists’ conviction
SCOTUS will hear and apparently decide this case in the middle of a red-hot election year. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images Dealing with a welter of disputes involving efforts by three congressional committees and a Manhattan prosecutor to gain access to the president’s tax and financial records, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday, without dissent, to take up three lower-court decisions that will test Trump’s particularly expansive ideas of executive immunity from legal proceedings and legislative oversight. SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe explains: The justices agreed to review three separate lower-court decisions that ruled against the president: Two of those decisions upheld subpoenas that would force the president’s accounting firm and lenders to turn over financial records that they have in their possession, while a third ordered the president’s accounting firm to provide prosecutors in New York City with his financial records, including his tax … [Read more...] about SCOTUS To Take Up Trump Tax and Financial Records Cases
Thomas Paine, the most radical of the nation’s Founders, wrote in 1795: “The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.” Eighty years later, feminist Susan B. Anthony quoted Paine’s exact words to defend herself—and make the case for women’s suffrage—when she was being prosecuted for having persuaded her local poll-keepers in upstate New York to allow her to cast a ballot. And on signing the Voting Rights Act in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson observed that “the vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” If only the words spoken by Paine, Anthony, and LBJ were not just moving, but also true. The right to vote has been fundamental to the struggle for freedom, equality, and democracy—and surely, the most defining experience of citizenship is … [Read more...] about Think Your Voting Rights Are Guaranteed? Think Again.
Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose on Friday after a federal court unsealed an opinion that allowed some of the legal claims brought by investors to proceed.Judge Margaret Sweeney of the Court of Federal Claims dismissed many of the claims brought by shareholders in the two companies who claim that the government’s sweep of their profits violates the law and amounts to an unconstitutional taking without compensation, holding the law barred the court from adjudicating any alleged injuries to the shareholders. Like so many other federal courts who have considered the question, Sweeney held that the Claims Court lacked jurisdiction to rule on allegations that shareholders were harmed by 2012 changes to the terms of the government’s support for Fannie and Freddie. Sweeney, however, did not toss out the claims based on the idea that the companies themselves were harmed by government action. These so-called derivative claims will be allowed to proceed to trial. … [Read more...] about Carney: Fannie and Freddie Investors Should Be Wary About Latest Legal WIn