Holder Rebuffs GOP Efforts To Probe Kagan’s Role
The Washington Post: Holder Faces House Republicans Over Health-Care Law, 'Fast and Furious'
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. clashed with congressional Republicans on Thursday, defending the Justice Department in the face of criticism of its "Fast and Furious" gun-trafficking sting and its refusal to turn over documents on the health-care law adopted last year. Under exhaustive questioning from the House Judiciary Committee, Holder reiterated that his department would not provide Congress with more information about Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's health-care-related role when she was President Obama's solicitor general. Republicans are seeking internal e-mails and other documents, arguing that Kagan might have to recuse herself from the court's decision on the health-care law if she was involved in the legislation (Markon, 12/8).
Politico: Holder Has Concern With Kagan Document Request
Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Thursday that he has constitutional separation of powers concerns about providing Republicans documents detailing Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s role in defending the health law when she was in the administration. He said requests for information about any potential conflict would be "best brought" by the parties to the upcoming Supreme Court case on the health law. ... House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith has asked the Justice Department to provide meeting schedules, documents and access to employees for interviews to determine if Kagan played a role in shaping the defense of the law before she was nominated to the Supreme Court (Haberkorn, 12/8).
Reuters: Attorney General Holder Grilled Over Gun Sting
Holder was also asked about Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's role in the 2009 health care reform. Smith, who is pressing for more data about Kagan's role in the discussions, asked Holder for data on who attended meetings on legal challenges on health care reform. "I can't imagine a good reason for you to withhold them unless you assert a legal privilege," Smith told Holder (Bartz, 12/8).
At the Supreme Court, preparations are beginning for the case.
Reuters: Top Court Schedules Obama Healthcare Law Briefs
The Supreme Court on Thursday set the schedule for briefs to be filed ahead of hearing arguments in late March over President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul law. ... In a brief order, the court for the most part required that the first set of briefs will be due starting in early January, the other side will file their briefs in February and final reply briefs will be submitted in early March (Vicini, 12/8).
Politico Pro: SCOTUS Allows Lengthy Briefs On Health Law
The Supreme Court is giving lawyers on both sides of the health care reform lawsuit a lot of space and time to lay out their legal arguments. The court on Thursday released an elaborate schedule of filing deadlines for paperwork in support and opposition to the four areas of the law under debate, spread between Jan. 6 and March 12 (Haberkorn, 12/8).
CQ HealthBeat: Advocacy Groups Ask Supreme Court To Include Them In Health Care Suit
Three advocacy groups that oppose the health care law are trying to become directly involved in the health care challenge, expected to be heard by the Supreme Court sometime in March. Their motions are among the first of what's expected to be a flood of legal documents filed in connection with the suit, which challenges the constitutionality of the 2010 law (Norman, 12/8).