KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Supreme Court Justices’ Recusal Questions Continue To Grab Headlines

While the Wall Street Journal takes a look at how the individual mandate could be viewed by specific justices, news services report on the chief justice's view of the health care recusal issue.

The Wall Street Journal: A Brief Look Ahead – Health Care On Trial; How The Individual Mandate Might Play At The High Court
Three of four federal appeals courts have rejected challenges, but the high-court outcome is uncertain. Based on prior writings, the four liberal justices seem likely to uphold the act, while only Justice Clarence Thomas appears sure to vote against it. Attention will center on Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose votes may be the toughest to predict (Bravin, 1/3).

Reuters: Roberts Defends Justices On Healthcare Recusal Issue
Chief Justice John Roberts expressed confidence on Saturday in the decisions by his Supreme Court colleagues on when to recuse themselves, an issue that has emerged in the legal battle over President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul law. ... Roberts in his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary did not mention by name the healthcare cases, but said he has complete confidence in the ability of his colleagues to decide when recusal was warranted (Vicini, 12/31).

The Associated Press: Chief Justice Defends Court's Impartiality
Chief Justice John Roberts said Saturday that he has "complete confidence" in his colleagues' ability to step away from cases where their personal interests are at stake, and noted that judges should not be swayed by "partisan demands." The comment, included in Roberts' year-end report, comes after lawmakers demanded that two Justices recuse themselves from the high court's review of President Barack Obama's health care law aimed at extending coverage to more than 30 million people (Flaherty, 12/31).

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