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All Eyes on Supreme Court for Health Care, Immigration Rulings

Supreme Court; photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the media camp outside the Supreme Court. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

Monumental. Crucial. Consequential. Pick whatever word you want, but there is no denying that what happens this week at the Supreme Court will have far-reaching implications for the fall campaign and beyond.

That’s because over the next few days the nine justices will render judgment on two of the most polarizing issues in American politics: health care and immigration.

The New York Times and Washington Post each offered dramatic curtain raisers to the big week, with observers all expecting the health care ruling as early as Monday.

In the Times, Peter Baker looks at how backers of the health care overhaul have been slow to come to terms with its legal risks, while Jodi Kantor details how the Obama administration is bracing for a decision.

The Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer, meanwhile, examines how supporters and opponents of the health care law are preparing for a ruling.

For members of Congress, health care lobbyists, campaign officials and thousands of lawyers (and the thousands more who have just taken the LSATs) who populate the squat office buildings across the district, the wait for the fate of the health care law has become all consuming.

They constantly check Scotusblog, a Web site devoted to the doings of the court. They play Health Reform Bracketology, a Web site where they can choose among various possible outcomes. They fret, write multiple versions of news releases and fret some more, wondering when the decision will be revealed.

The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes puts the impending decisions into context, noting that the current Supreme Court term has been a tough one for the Obama administration.

In a string of cases — as obscure as the federal government’s relationships with Indian tribes and as significant as enforcement of the Clean Water Act — the court rejected the administration’s legal arguments with lopsided votes and sometimes biting commentary.

The administration’s win-loss record will sting a lot less, of course, if the court upholds the constitutionality of Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

In just a tiny signal of the flood to come from both sides, Crossroads GPS’ “Generation” gets in on the action with a web video focused on young people. Watch that here or below.

The NewsHour recently outlined the possible outcomes in a post from our regular Supreme Court correspondent, Marcia Coyle (@marciacoyle) of the National Law Journal.

Marcia will be in the courtroom Monday, and you can follow the decisions rolling in from the court on our home page starting at 10 a.m. ET.


Both President Obama and Mitt Romney will be back in action Monday after quiet weekends. The presumptive GOP nominee huddled at an elite Utah resort with top Republican donors, potential running mates and the consultants who help make the campaign tick.

More than 500 strategists and donors, who have given $50,000 or are raising at least $250,000, gathered in the mountains of Park City to get briefings from campaign officials about battleground strategy and the vision for the next four-plus months of the contest.

It was a who’s who of the Republican universe, leading to photos of Karl Rove zipping around in a golf cart and giving reporters fodder for colorful stories about the event mood.

Democratic operatives noticed a plane owned by Bain Capital arrived at the local airport. The Romney campaign did not disclose the full list of attendees, though the Sunlight Foundation pulled together some of the options.

As veep contenders arrived in Utah, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was paddling on the Ohio River, but he managed to show up as a special guest later Saturday.


Mark Shields and David Brooks had a spirited debate Friday over the contempt vote on Eric Holder and the president’s move on deportations.

Mark said the Holder dustup is indicative of the “fever of partisanship” and “smacks of election-year politics.”

“Darrell Issa, the chairman of that committee, has been dying for an issue. He think he has finally got one. And I think he has one,” Mark said.

David said while each president spars with Congress, “This escalates it a little more and it makes it seem a little stupider.” But he sees a silver lining for the GOP.

“I think it is a winner for the Republicans. It’s funny. It hasn’t really registered with the country yet, what the government has done. When — if it gets out, wait, they were sending guns to Mexico, I think it’s such a thing that will startle people,” David said.

On immigration, Mark said the announcement from Mr. Obama portrays Romney as “vacillating.” David agreed Romney is in a tough spot: “He knows where he’s been. He knows where his heart probably is. And he can’t get there. And if he’s going to try to get in a bidding war for Latino vote, he’s not to going to get it.”

David added, “On the other hand, though, to rain on Mark’s end zone dance over there … it is not clear to me that this is a useful political winner for the president.”

Watch the discussion here or below.


Christina was a panelist Friday at the annual University of Virginia Center for Politics Virginia Political History Project conference hosted by Larry Sabato.

Former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., stole the show, keeping the Richmond audience in stitches. One of his one-liners went something like this: Romney holds a fireside chat and the fire goes out. But it also provided a detailed look at the battle for the White House, with Davis insisting Pennsylvania will be a true battleground this fall for the GOP. He also said the Democrats would be wise to run on a Social Security-Medicare-anti-Paul Ryan budget message. “There’s some vulnerability on that,” Davis said.

Politico’s Jonathan Martin said Michigan could ultimately be on the swing state list, in part because Romney is performing strongly in the suburbs of Detroit. That’s one reason Team Obama is so fiercely reminding voters that Romney opposed the auto bailouts, Martin said.

Christina’s sleeper state: North Carolina.

Roll Call’s Politics Editor Lauren Whittington predicted the Democrats pick up a net gain of 10 seats, far short of what they need to win back House control, and said control of the Senate is a jump ball.

Sabato talked about the down-ticket effect on Senate races, especially in Virginia. He noted that he often meats Romney/Tim Kaine voters but he’s never once met someone planning to vote for both the president and George Allen. (And the Associated Press’ Bob Lewis wrote this weekend that the president is the central figure in the Senate contest.)


  • With a new Pew study showing a pronounced enthusiasm gap in the presidential race, the NewsHour wants to hear from you. Online politics production assistant Meena Ganesan explains here.
  • A new Associated Press poll found that a majority of voters believe the winner of the presidential election won’t have much impact on the economy.
  • A new USA TODAY/Gallup survey showed the president leading Romney, 66 percent to 25 percent, among Hispanic voters. Another poll by the organizations taken last week found that 82 percent of Latinos support the president’s decision to shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation.
  • Reporter-producer Tiffany Mullon was in Orlando for the president’s speech to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials on Friday. Read her report on what he said, as well as what Sen. Marco Rubio told the crowd, here.
  • Jeremy W. Peters saw Pride Weekend as a big recruitment boost for the Obama campaign.
  • The Nation’s Ari Melber does some digging into the BuzzFeed post comparing Obama and Romney traffic that we linked to last week. He finds that an Obama slideshow “drew the majority of its viral views from Obama’s most strident opponents — the websites of two conservative talk radio stars,” including Glenn Beck and Michael Savage. Melber writes, “This data was not in the Buzzfeed article about Obama’s traffic edge, but the site’s transparent data dashboard makes them easy to access.”
  • The Union Leader reports about Durham, N.H., officials fretting about the $16,000-$20,000 cost of preparing for the president’s visit.
  • The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA released a television ad Saturday that takes aim at Romney’s record at Bain Capital. The minute-long spot features a former worker at American Pad and Paper who says he was tasked with building a 30-foot stage on which it was announced the plant was shutting down. The employee, Mike Earnest, says “it was like building my own coffin.”
  • The Los Angeles Times’ Seema Mehta writes about the general election battleground of Iowa, “This year, the place where the race for president began may decide how it ends.”







  • The Washington Post published two major pieces in its series exploring how members of Congress are profiting on stocks they might influence. Sunday’s four-byline investigation found 130 members of Congress or their families “have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees,” the buying and selling of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them. Monday’s front-page piece offers an eyebrow-raising account of lawmakers quickly making changes to investment portfolios after learning the nation was rocketing toward a financial meltdown in September 2008.
  • Richard Prince writes in The Root that Romney and the Republican National Committee “have ceded the National Association of Black Journalists convention to the Democrats, rejecting invitations to send speakers or panelists that the Democrats eagerly accepted.”
  • Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz scoops that pollster Alan Secrest is closing up shop. He’s done a lot of work for conservative Democrats during his decades-long career.
  • Chris Cillizza reminds his readers that Americans know next to nothing about the Supreme Court.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event in Durham, N.H., at 2:05 p.m., and attends three campaign events in Boston at 5:10 p.m., 7:35 p.m. and 9:25 p.m.
  • Vice President Joe Biden attends a campaign event in Chicago and spends the night in Waterloo, Iowa.
  • Mitt Romney attends a campaign fundraiser in Scottsdale, Ariz.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.

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