More Than 300 Republicans Call on Supreme Court to Recognize Gay Marriage Nationally

US-JUSTICE-GAY-MARRIAGE

TIME Magazine

Signers include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

More than 300 veteran Republican lawmakers, operatives and consultants have filed a friend of the court brief at the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage late Thursday.

Reports: Harrison Ford Injured In Plane Crash

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Harrison Ford | Alexandra Wyman

TPM LiveWire

Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration told NBC that the plane crashed shortly after taking off at the Santa Monica Airport.

This post has been updated.

Bibi’s cynical speech

America Blog

Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a long-anticipated, diplomatically unprecedentedpolitical kerfuffle of a campaign speech, the circumstances of which were arguably unconstitutional.

In case you didn’t sit through the  40+ minute address, the one sentence version is this: The Prime Minister did his best to both thwart American nuclear talks with Iran and scare Israeli voters into granting him what is shaping up to be a tight reelection. If you want the full dose of diplomatic hijinks, feel free to watch below:

Netanyahu led off his speech by insisting that his decision to accept an invitation from John Boehner, without consulting the President, to speak to a predominantly Republican crowd of legislators two weeks before Israeli Election Day, was not political. Because, of course, he wants nothing more than the safety and security of Israel and its allies.

Except that after delivering a longwinded reminder of how bad Iran, the Islamic State, Hamas and Hezbollah are — in case we were somehow confused as to how they feel about Jewish and secular democracies — he all but ruled out the least-bad solution currently on the table for ensuring the safety and security of Israel and its allies: diplomacy.

To be sure, Netanyahu said in his speech that he doesn’t want a war with Iran. But he also doesn’t believe that the deal being worked out to avoid a war is going to work. He doesn’t believe that inspectors will get to inspect, and he doesn’t believe that agreements to freeze nuclear activity will actually freeze nuclear activity. After all, despite what his own military intelligence might say, he is convinced that Iran is motivated by jihad, not foreign policy realism. In other words, we can’t trust them to play by rules they agree to.

So what’s left? In his own words, “The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.” A deal in which Iran magically gives up more than it already has in exchange for less than we have already offered.

Setting aside for the moment that this is what the proposed ten-year freeze on Iran’s nuclear activity would do— put the country’s nuclear program on hold long enough to get a better deal — banging on the table and yelling “Negotiate better!” doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

Instead, it gives Congressional Republicans political cover to reject any Obama-orchestrated nuclear deal with Iran. If an agreement can’t be reached, it gives the country more time to escalate its program, which would make any future diplomatic solution that much harder to achieve.

Benjamin Netanyahu has a history of being a cynically hawkish on foreign policy, having ruled out a fully-fledged two-state solution in the West Bank and Gaza last year. More relevant to yesterday’s speech, he has an even longer history of telling the world how close Iran is to obtaining a nuclear weapon. As Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept notes, Netanyahu started ringing the alarm bells on an Iranian nuke in 1995, and hasn’t claimed that the country was anything more than three years away from a bomb since.

Taking the sum total of Netanyahu’s arguments — Islamic regimes are incompatible with secular and Jewish states, Iran can’t be trusted to uphold their ends of bargains and this particular nuclear negotiation will all but guarantee nuclear winter in Jerusalem and beyond — the logical conclusion is this: Benjamin Netanyahu wants Iran wiped off the map. He even alluded to his willingness to do so, noting toward the end of his address that, “as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”

That’s a defensible position: If diplomacy really can’t keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, forcibly removing their nuclear capability would be our next option. But the operative word there is “next.” War is supposed to be a last resort. By making his speech, and making it in the way that he did, Netanyahu has thrown a wrench in the diplomatic works, unnecessarily and irresponsibly increasing the likelihood of another military involvement in the Middle East — one that would be financed with American dollars and lives.

Benjamin Netanyahu helped rush us into war with Iraq, and now he wants to rush us into war with Iran. As Barak Ravid noted in 2012, after Netanyahu’s infamous “red-line” speech that (surprise) outlined Iran as being inches away from a nuclear bomb, his arguments have never changed — only the countries in which he wants to see American troops.

That doesn’t make anyone safer; it just makes him a neocon.

10 things you need to know today: March 5, 2015

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

The Week

1.U.S. ambassador to South Korea injured in knife attack
A leftist activist slashed U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert with a knife early Thursday during a breakfast seminar in Seoul. Lippert was rushed to a hospital bleeding profusely with wounds to his face and wrist. The alleged assailant, 55-year-old Kim Ki-Jong, was apprehended. Kim told reporters that he was angry over ongoing annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises. North Korea called the attack “righteous punishment” against the U.S.

Source: The Korea Herald, ABC News

2.Hillary Clinton asks the State Department to release her emails
Hillary Clinton said late Wednesday that she had asked the State Department to release her emails. “I want the public to see my email,” Clinton said via Twitter in her first public response to reports that she had used a private email address during her years as secretary of State. A State Department spokeswoman said the department “will undertake this review as quickly as possible. Given the sheer volume of the document set, this review will take some time to complete.”

Source: Fox News, Reuters

3.Senate Republicans fail to override Obama’s Keystone pipeline veto
The Republican-led Senate on Wednesday fell five votes short of the 67 needed to override President Obama’s veto of legislation to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The 1,179-mile pipeline would carry Canadian tar-sands oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Obama vetoed the bill over unanswered questions about its environmental impact. There also is a court challenge to the pipeline’s proposed route in Nebraska. Republicans say the project should go forward because the construction phase would create thousands of jobs.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

4.No civil rights charges against ex-Ferguson-cop Darren Wilson
The Justice Department reported Wednesday that it would not file federal civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the white former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown last year. Prosecutors found no evidence countering Wilson’s assertion that he fired to protect himself. The case touched off months of protests of police treatment of African Americans. The Justice Department separately found that Ferguson needed to completely overhaul its approach to policing to correct discrimination that stoked racial tensions.

Source: CNN, The New York Times

5.High court hears arguments in ObamaCare challenge
Supreme Court justices heard arguments Wednesday in a legal challenge to President Obama’s health-care law, with the court’s conservative and liberal wings sharply divided. The conservative plaintiffs argued that the law says insurance subsidies are available to those buying coverage on exchanges “established by the state,” so people buying insurance on the federal exchange should lose their subsidies. Potential swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy said there was a “serious constitutional problem” with that logic.

Source: Reuters, The Washington Post

6.Liberia releases its last Ebola patient
Liberia released its final Ebola patient from a Chinese-built hospital in the capital, Monrovia, on Thursday, according to Tolbert Nyenswah, the head of the country’s Incidence Management System. The recovered patient is the last known case of Ebola in Liberia, and if no new cases emerge in the next 42 days, the country will be declared Ebola-free. Almost 10,000 people have died since the world’s worst Ebola outbreak started a year ago, and Liberia shouldered the highest number of deaths.

Source: The Associated Press

7.Sweet Briar supporters rally to keep the college from shutting down
Students and alumnae of Sweet Briar College in Virginia united on social mediaWednesday, vowing to keep the 114-year-old private women’s college open. The surge of support came after the school’s board of directors voted to close the 3,250-acre campus on Aug. 25, citing financial reasons. A website was launched aiming to raise $250 million to keep Sweet Briar alive. The remote school’s annual tuition is $47,000, but it has had to offer deep discounts to slow declining enrollment.

Source: The Associated Press

8.Alabama judges stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after state high court order
Judges across Alabama stopped issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after the state’s Supreme Court ordered them to respect a state same-sex marriage ban. The Alabama high court’s ruling directly defied a federal court ruling overturning the ban. Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed, the first in the state to announce he would issue licenses to gay couples, said he was obliged to obey the state high court “whether I agree with it or not.” The U.S. Supreme Court could be called on to resolve the stand-off.

Source: Montgomery Advertiser

9. Possible GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson apologizes for comments on homosexuality
Potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson ignited controversyWednesday when he claimed that homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice, contrary to what the American Psychological Association and most of the medical community says. “A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay,” the neurosurgeon told CNN. He said that “thwarts” the argument that being gay was not a choice. Carson later apologized for his “hurtful and divisive” words, saying he only meant that the science was not definitive.

Source: CNN

10.Scientists unearth jawbone of earliest known human
Scientists have found a fossilized jawbone they say belonged to one of the first humans, according to a pair of papers published Wednesday in the journalScience. The broken left mandible, with five intact teeth, was found in volcanic ash and sediment in an East African hillside. It is 2.8 million years old, about 400,000 years older than any previously known fossil from the human genus, Homo, closing the gap between the first humans and the more ape-like Australopithecus genus that included the 3 million year-old “Lucy.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

For some, a Supreme Court case is a matter of life or death

"Obamacare"  supporter Margot Smith (L) of California pleads her case with legislation opponents Judy Burel (2nd R) and Janis Haddon, both of Georgia, at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 28, 2012.

“Obamacare” supporter Margot Smith (L) of California pleads her case with legislation opponents Judy Burel (2nd R) and Janis Haddon, both of Georgia, at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 28, 2012. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Rachel Maddow Show – Steve Benen

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell this morning, and by most accounts, it’s not at all clear how the justices intend to rule. The four center-left justices seemed unmoved by the plaintiffs’ ridiculous argument; Scalia and Alito seemed eager to destroy “Obamacare”; Roberts said almost nothing; and Kennedy hinted he might back the ACA on federalism grounds.
We probably won’t know for sure until June, when the ruling is issued. But in the interim, it’s worth taking some time to think about families that will experience some sleepless nights between now and then.
Robert Schlesinger noted yesterday that a far-right ruling would produce “real human misery,” and it’s an important point. We’re not just talking about numbers on a page; this is about whether real-world families have access to medical care.
Sarah Kliff recently highlighted the story of a woman named Marilyn Schramm, who’s wondering whether King v. Burwell should cause her to move to a blue state.
She is a 63-year-old retiree who lives in Texas, and since November 2013 she’s purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov. She has a policy that costs about $800 per month. Schramm, who earns $28,000 from her pension, pays about half the cost, and the federal government covers the rest with a subsidy.
Schramm has colon cancer. Doctors diagnosed it this fall, after she started feeling stomach pains during an RV trip through Tennessee. Doctors there removed the tumor, and she’s now in Austin receiving chemotherapy, which should continue through this summer.
There’s nothing academic about this case for Schramm and her loved ones. Under the Affordable Care Act, she can receive chemotherapy. If Republicans gut the Affordable Care Act, she’ll likely lose her coverage and the treatment she needs.
This is obviously one person, but the point is that she’s emblematic of millions more. The Huffington Post ran a powerful piece the other day shining a spotlight on real people who’ll face dire straits if GOP justices rule the wrong way in this ludicrous case. Yahoo News ran a similar article, as did the Christian Science Monitor.
There was a point in late 2013 when Republicans ran a series of attack ads featuring “Obamacare victims,” who were allegedly harmed by the ACA. Upon further inspection, nearly all of these anecdotes were completely discredited – and most of the alleged victims were actually far better off under the Affordable Care Act than they were before.
What we’re dealing with now is the exact opposite: real people for whom the Supreme Court may become a death panel.
The anxiety for them and their families between now and June will probably be pretty brutal.

It’s never a good thing when the DOJ finds racist Obama jokes in your email

Attorney General Eric Holder | Reuters

Daily Kos

A leaked summary report of the Depart of Justice investigation into the Ferguson Police Department and Municipal Court System is already revealing some very disturbing facts, including a racist joke about President Obama doubting whether or not he’d be in office long, because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

Generally speaking, racist jokes about the first African-American president in our nation’s history aren’t going to over so well when you are being investigated by Attorney General Eric Holder and the DOJ. More than anything, it gives us insight into how government employees in Ferguson truly think and feel—which, in turn, would obviously impact how they administer justice.

The full DOJ report is expected later today.

10 things you need to know today: March 4, 2015

Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Week

1.Netanyahu warns of “bad deal” with Iran
Israeli Prime Minister told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday that President Obama was negotiating a “bad deal” with Iran to curb its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is peaceful but Netanyahu and other critics say is close to developing a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu said that Obama’s efforts would “all but guarantee” that Iran would obtain nuclear weapons, and could “threaten the survival of my country.” Obama said Netanyahu had said “nothing new” and offered no credible alternative strategy.

Source: The New York Times

2.House passes Homeland Security funding bill
The House approved a measure Tuesday funding the Department of Homeland Security for the rest of the fiscal year, ending a three-month battle that had threatened to shut down the agency after funds ran out at the beginning of March. Conservatives opposed the funding bill because it had been stripped of provisions dismantling President Obama’s executive actions delaying the deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants. Obama has said he would sign the bill into law.

Source: Reuters

3.High court hears ObamaCare challenge
The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a challenge to ObamaCare that could strip subsidies from millions of Americans who purchased health coverage in the 37 states that declined to set up their own insurance exchanges. The plaintiffs argue that the text of the law, which allows for subsidies on exchanges “established by the state,” does not cover the federal exchange. ObamaCare supporters say if the challengers win millions could lose insurance and premiums could rise for others.

Source: The Hill

4.Justice Department says Ferguson police discriminated against African Americans
The Justice Department released a report Tuesday accusing the Ferguson, Missouri, police department of using tactics that discriminated against African Americans. The conclusion renewed the anger of the department’s critics, who have demanded reforms since the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white officer last year. The federal investigation found that blacks accounted for 93 percent of the city’s arrests from 2012 to 2014, although they make up 67 percent of the population.

Source: The Washington Post

5.Ex-CIA chief Petraeus to plead guilty to leaking secrets
David Petraeus will reportedly plead guilty as part of a deal with the Justice Department, The New York Times reports. The plea deal will allow Petraeus, a retired four-star general, to avoid an “embarrassing” trial over whether he gave classified information to his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, while he was director of the CIA. Petraeus, who has denied criminal wrongdoing, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified information.

Source: The New York Times, ABC News

6.Alabama high court halts same-sex marriages in the state
The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a halt to gay marriages in the state. The move directly violated rulings by a federal judge in Mobile who told the local probate to start issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses last month. The state Supreme Court order said the U.S. Constitution could not override Alabama law, which “allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman.” The state high court gave probate judges five days to submit responses arguing they should be allowed to continue granting same-sex couples licenses.

Source: AL.com

7.Indonesia moves condemned foreign inmates to execution site
A group of death-row inmates known as the Bali nine were transferred under heavy military guard Tuesday to the island in Java where they are to be executed by firing squad. The condemned inmates include Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran of Australia. The Indonesian government has rejected pleas from international human rights activists and the Australian government to spare the prisoners, who were convicted of drug trafficking in 2005.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

8.Jury seated in Boston Marathon bombing case
After an arduous two-month selection process that included a request to move the case out of Boston, a 12-member jury was seated Tuesday in the trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The 21-year-old Tsarnaev faces 30 charges and a potential death sentence for allegedly detonating two bombs during the 2013 marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for Wednesday.

Source: The Associated Press, The Boston Globe

9. Snowden’s lawyer says he is considering returning to face charges for leaks
Edward Snowden’s lawyer says the former National Security Agency contractor is prepared to return to the United States from Russia to face trial for allegedly leaking secret documents. Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian lawyer, said Snowden “is thinking about it,” but will only go home if he believes he will get a fair trial. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Snowden “absolutely can and should return” to face the charges, and that he would be treated fairly.

Source: CNN

10.Thousands evacuate as volcano erupts in Chile
The Villarrica volcano in southern Chile erupted on Tuesday, spewing lava and ash hundreds of yards into the air and sending rivers of lava down the 9,000-foot volcano’s sides. Authorities evacuated thousands of people. The heat melted snow, raising the danger of mudslides. “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” Australian tourist Travis Armstrong, 29, said in a telephone interview from Pucon. “Lightning was striking down at the volcano from the ash cloud that formed from the eruption.”

Source: The Associated Press

Obama: Netanyahu Offered No Viable Alternative To Iran Nuclear Talks

Obama: Netanyahu Offered No ‘Viable Alternative’ To Iran Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House March 3, 2015, in Washington, DC (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered no “viable alternatives” to nuclear talks with Iran in his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Obama said he didn’t watch the speech, but had skimmed over Netanyahu’s remarks and found “there was nothing new.”

The AP reports:

Obama says Netanyahu made almost the same speech when he warned against the interim deal reached with Iran. Obama says that deal has resulted in a freeze and rolling back of Iran’s nuclear program.

Obama says Netanyahu’s alternative to the talks amounts to no deal at all. He says that would lead Iran to redouble efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu warned Congress against “a very bad” nuclear deal with Iran, saying “it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.”

“This deal won’t be a farewell to arms, it will be a farewell to arms control,” he said.

For more on Netanyahu’s speech, go here.

10 things you need to know today: March 3, 2015

Getty Images

The Week

1.Netanyahu says he means no disrespect to Obama with speech
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his Tuesday speech to Congress was not intended to be a show of disrespect to President Obama, but that he felt a “moral obligation” to speak out against Obama’s efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu was invited by Republican leaders who control Congress, not by Obama, in what the White House has called a breach of diplomatic protocol. The president has said he will not meet with Netanyahu during the trip, because that could be seen as interference in Israel’s looming elections.

Source: Reuters

2.Hillary Clinton used only her personal email account at State Department
During her four years as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton used only her personal email account, rather than a government one, The New York Timesreports. This may have violated the Federal Records Act, which requires preserving officials’ emails on department servers so Congress, journalists, and historians can find them, with some exceptions for sensitive material. Clinton’s advisers gave 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department two months ago, and a spokesman said she is adhering to the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

Source: The New York Times

3.Sen. Barbara Mikulski announces her retirement
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) announced Monday that she would not seek reelection in 2016, ending a congressional career that has spanned 10 years in the House and 30 years in the Senate. Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress, rose to the powerful position of Senate Appropriations Committee chair before losing the position when Republicans took over control of the Senate this year.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

4.Judge rules Nebraska’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional
A federal judge on Monday struck down Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional. The state’s voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment to the state’s constitution to outlaw gay marriage in 2000. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled in favor of several plaintiffs who challenged the ban, but he put his decision on hold pending the hearing of an appeal Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (R) filed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which already has similar cases in Missouri, Arkansas, and South Dakota before it.

Source: The Washington Post

5.Georgia delays woman’s execution
Georgia halted the execution of the state’s only female death-row inmate on Monday, due to problems with the lethal combination of drugs with which she was to be injected. Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, was condemned to die for plotting with her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, to murder her husband in 1997. She was scheduled to become the first woman to be executed in Georgia since 1945. The Georgia Supreme Court turned down her request for a stay, but prison officials delayed the execution because the drugs appeared cloudy.

Source: Reuters

6.Thieves steal $4 million in gold from truck in N.C.
Three men stole three barrels of gold valued at $4 million from a truck in North Carolina, authorities said Monday. The truck’s two security guards, who worked for the Miami firm Transvalue, said they pulled over on Interstate 95 due to mechanical trouble on the way from Miami to Massachusetts. The three armed men pulled up in a white van and made the guards lie down, then bound their hands behind their backs and left them in the woods. The robbers then took the gold and fled.

Source: NBC News

7.ISIS threatens Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey
Islamic State militants on Monday threatened to kill Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey because the microblogging service has blocked ISIS-linked accounts. A message posted online also threatened Twitter with “real war.” The threat was posted on Pastebin and attributed to ISIS, although its authenticity could not be immediately confirmed. Twitter said it had contacted authorities and that its security team was investigating the threats.

Source: PC Magazine

8.Mommy blogger Lacey Spears convicted in her son’s death
Parenting blogger Lacey Spears was convicted Monday of second degree murder in the death of her 5-year-old son, Garnett. The child died in January 2014 after high levels of sodium in his system led to swelling of his brain. Prosecutors said Garnett poisoned her son by injecting salt through a feeding tube, calling it “torture” she did for attention as she blogged about his health problems. Defense attorneys said there was no evidence against Spears, 27. She faces 15 years to life in prison when she is sentenced in April.

Source: The Journal News

9. Clinton’s portrait included reference to Monica Lewinsky scandal, artist says
The artist who painted President Clinton’s portrait hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., told Philly.com that the work includes a reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The painter, Nelson Shanks, said he included a shadow in the image meant to have been cast by Lewinsky’s infamous blue dress. Shanks said it was “a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him,” cast by Clinton’s affair with his then-intern.

Source: Philly.com, U

10.Google confirms plan to start small wireless service
Google plans to offer a small-scale wireless service, but it is designed to show off technological innovations rather than compete with the nation’s leading carriers, Google Android executive Sundar Pichai said at an industry conference in Barcelona. The move could complicate Google’s relationship with the big carriers, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Google counts on them to promote Android phones, but its efforts to improve connections by tapping WiFi networks could reduce data traffic — and income — for carriers.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Morning Plum: Republicans won’t have any contingency plan if Court guts subsidies for millions

The Washington Post – Plum Line

With the Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments this week in the lawsuit that could do severe damage to the Affordable Care Act, some Republican lawmakers are working hard to convey the impression that they have a contingency plan for the millions who will likely lose subsidies — and coverage — if the Court rules with the challengers. Senators Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, and John Barrasso have published a Washington Post op ed with an oh-so-reassuring title: “We have a plan for fixing health care.”

The good Senators, amusingly, cast their “plan” as something that will protect people from “the administration’s” actions and from Obamacare itself, not from the consequences of the legal challenge or a Court decision siding with it. The plan vows to “provide financial assistance” for a “transitional period” to those who lose subsidies, while Republicans create a “bridge away from Obamacare.” Of course, anyone who watched last week’s chaos in the House knows Congressional Republicans are unlikely to coalesce around any “transitional” relief for those who lose subsidies (that would require spending federal money to cover people) or any permanent long-term alternative. This chatter appears transparently designed to make it easier for conservative Justices to side with the challengers.

Yet even if this game works on the Justices in the short term, any eventual failure to come through with any  contingency plan could saddle Republicans with a political problem, perhaps even among GOP voters.

A poll taken by Independent Women’s Voice — a group that favors repealing Obamacare in the name of individual liberty — found that in the nearly three dozen states on the federal exchange, 75 percent of respondents think it’s very (54) or somewhat (21) important to restore subsidies to those who lose them. In the dozen main presidential swing states, 75 percent of respondents say the same.

And guess what: Large majorities of Republican voters agree. A spokesperson for the group tells me that in both those groups of states taken together, 62 percent of Republican respondents say its very (31) or somewhat (31) important to restore the subsidies. Only 31 percent of Republicans in those states think doing this is unimportant.

This raises the possibility that a lot of Republican voters would be harmed by an anti-ACA decision, too. As Politico puts it today: “The people who would be affected by a Supreme Court decision against the Obama administration live disproportionately in GOP-governed states, and an Urban Institute study found that many people fall into a demographic crucial to the GOP base — white, Southern and employed.”

Now, none of this means Republicans will be more likely to step forward with a solution. As Avik Roy (who hopes the Court rules against the ACA) acknowledges, Republicans are so divided that uniting on any response is unlikely:

Republicans are being pulled in two directions. On the one hand, you have dozens of House members from highly ideological districts, for whom a primary challenge is a far bigger political risk than a general election. Many members of this group think that continuing Obamacare’s subsidies, in any form, is problematic.

On the other hand, there is a large group of Republican senators in blue and purple states up for reelection in 2016. These include Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), Pat Toomey (Penn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), and Rob Portman (Ohio). These senators are much more aligned with Hatch, Alexander, and Barrasso.

Meanwhile, Republican state lawmakers, who could keep the subsidies flowing to their constituents by setting up state exchanges, are all over the place on what might come next, with some already ruling out such a fix. Indeed, in the end, it probably won’t matter that large majorities of Americans — or even large majorities of Republicans — support restoring the subsidies. On this, as on so many other things, GOP lawmakers will probably take their cues from the more conservative minority of Republicans, whatever the political or policy consequences.

*****************************************************************************************

* WHY JUSTICES SHOULD WEIGH CONSEQUENCES OF ANTI-ACA RULING: Law professor Nicholas Bagley has a terrific piece explaining why the Supreme Court Justices should factor in the fact that siding with the challengers would take health care from millions: This eventuality shows the challengers are misreading the law.

It’s not irrelevant that a ruling in their favor would inflict such damage. To the contrary, that fact helps us correctly interpret the statute’s text. Indeed, it shows that the plaintiffs’ understanding of that text is wrong. As the Supreme Court has said time and again, no provision of a statute should be read in isolation. Laws must be read as a whole, with an eye to harmonizing their interdependent parts. That means the court is reluctant to read a stray passage here or there in a way that would destabilize an entire statutory scheme.

It’s also possible that the real-world implications of an anti-ACA ruling might have legal relevance because they bolster the states’ argument that siding with the challengers would impose unfair retroactive consequences on them without clear warning. Read the whole thing.

* LEGAL CHALLENGE TO THE ACA IS ‘PROVABLE FICTION’:Steven Brill has a must-read in which he documents his close reporting on the creation of the Affordable Care Act, and why that led him to the conclusion that the idea that Congress intended to deny subsidies to those on the federal exchange is nothing but “fiction” and a “fairytale”:

Congressional intent is a fact-based inquiry, not a matter of opinion. Given the unambiguous mountain of facts arrayed for the defense (and well-presented in the briefs submitted by the defense side), it is hard enough to see how the lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side could actually believe in their case…if a majority of supposedly objective justices decide to ignore the facts and buy their argument, they will have engaged in a breathtaking act of political activism.

The Justices, however, could simply conclude that the disputed phrase is not ambiguous enough to warrant Chevron deference to the IRS’ interpretation of the law, despite all the evidence of Congressional intent, not to mention the law’s overall structure and purpose.

* DEMOCRATS ANGRY ABOUT NETANYAHU SPEECH: Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address Congress tomorrow, and the New York Times reports that anger and unease are widespread among Congressional Democrats. The latest tally on who will skip the speech:

So far, 30 Democrats — four senators and 26 representatives — have said they will not attend the speech. Nearly half are African-Americans, who say they feel deeply that Mr. Netanyahu is disrespecting the president by challenging his foreign policy. But a half-dozen of those Democrats planning to stay away are Jewish, and represent 21 percent of Congress’s Jewish members.

Given the historic skittishness among Democrats about appearing even slightly out of sync with what Israel wants, that actually represents something new.

* PARTISAN DIVIDE ON VIEWS OF NETANYAHU: A new NBC News poll finds that  66 percent of Democrats say GOP leaders shouldn’t have invited Netanyahu to speak without notifying the president first, while only 28 percent of Republicans say the same. And only 12 percent of Democrats view Netanyahu favorably, versus 49 percent of Republicans. It bears repeating that when it comes to Israel and diplomacy with Iran, Congressional Democrats are well to the right of their base.

* SCOTT WALKER FLIP-FLOPS ON IMMIGRATION: After previously supporting legalization for the 11 million, Scott Walker tried to get right with conservatives on Fox News Sunday:

“I don’t believe in amnesty…my view has changed. I’m flat out saying it…we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works. A legal immigration system that works.”

However, Walker also said that “there’s a way” to legalize the 11 million if border security is accomplished first. This puts Walker pretty much where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have come down on the issue.

* TOP CONSERVATIVE: BOEHNER’S JOB IS SAFE: GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, flatly tells CNN that there won’t be any conservative coup to oust Speaker John Boehner: “That’s not gonna happen.”

Duly noted. So what is stopping Boehner from passing long term funding of the Department of Homeland Security with the help of a lot of Democrats? We were repeatedly told during past showdowns that Boehner couldn’t avert crises with Dem help, because he’d lose his Speakership, and each of those ended in the same way.