KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Who Was Who During The Supreme Court Arguments?

News outlets take a look at key personalities on the bench, in front of the justices, in the gallery and in the creation of the health law itself -- including examinations of the closing arguments by both the plantiffs' attorney and the federal government's lawyer.   

The Wall Street Journal: Big Case Stirs Up This 'Hot Bench'
Lawyers call a lively group of judges a "hot bench." This one was scorching. Over three days and 6½ hours of arguments, the Supreme Court justices were unusually animated -- jumping in with questions, delivering passionate lectures about liberty and quoting everyone from James Madison to Jack Benny. The tension rose by the day and the hour (Kendall and Bravin, 3/28).

NPR: Supreme Court Cheat Sheet Day 3: Scalia Unplugged
Wednesday's morning arguments were as spirited -- and divided along ideological lines -- as they were during Tuesday's session on the individual mandate (Halloran, 3/28).

Politico: And On The Seventh Hour Paul Clement Rests
Paul Clement expressed confidence Wednesday that the Supreme Court could overturn the entire health law. The justices are "considering all these issues very seriously," the lawyer who represented the 26 states challenging the law said on the steps of the court after the arguments were over. "No justice of this court thinks lightly about striking down an entire act of Congress, but the question is really what's going to make more sense for Congress: Do you want to take out this statute and try to fix the statute or do you want to start with a clean slate and fix the underlying problem?" he said (Nocera, 3/28).

Reuters: Obama Lawyer Asks Supreme Court To Save Health Care Law
The Obama administration's top courtroom lawyer made an impassioned plea on Wednesday for the Supreme Court to save President Barack Obama's health care law, capping three days of historic arguments that left it unclear how the nine justices would rule. … After what critics called a poor performance on Tuesday, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing for the administration, closed his case with an emotional request that the justices uphold the law. Verrilli cited millions of people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer who would get health insurance under the law (Vicini and Biskupic, 3/28).

McClatchy: Who's The Woman Out Front Against Health Care Law? Florida AG Pam Bondi
Blessed with sound-bite sensibilities in an all-male scrum of long-winded gray suits, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi stood out in Washington this week as the unofficial spokeswoman for the 26 states that challenged the health care law to the Supreme Court. Elected in 2010, the telegenic former state prosecutor and former Fox News legal commenter inherited the lawsuit from former Republican state Attorney General Bill McCollum. But Bondi campaigned on the issue herself, and she has seized it as her own since taking office at the beginning of last year (Bolstad, 3/28).

The New York Times: Mr. Health Care Mandate
After Massachusetts, California came calling. So did Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin and Wyoming. They all wanted Jonathan Gruber, a numbers wizard at M.I.T., to help them figure out how to fix their health care systems, just as he had helped Mitt Romney overhaul health insurance when he was the Massachusetts governor (Rampell, 3/28).

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