As always, the big cases come down to one justice, Anthony Kennedy, who seems to be the deciding vote in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood case, in which it will be decided whether corporations are not only people, but also religious people. The “contraceptive mandate” case will have a huge impact on Obamcare. Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog writes that the hearing had two acts and different heroes in each. The big question, he says, may be whether Kennedy thinks the argument is about birth control or, as it seemed at the end, about the specter of abortion.
Jeffrey Toobin writes in the New Yorker that there are two lessons from the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court hearing. That the three women justices rocked. That it takes five votes to win.
Ruth Marcus worries about the oft-cited slippery slope if the court rules that corporations can have religious beliefs. Via the Washington Post.
Obamacare gets one more extension — past the March 31 deadline if people have started their application process but couldn’t get it finished by Monday. Via the Washington Post.
On the slow-turning politics of Obamacare: Lawmakers and candidates who oppose the law and who are running campaigns on a “repeal” platform have no answer for what to do with the millions of Americans already signed up and enjoying the benefits of the law (Parents plans! No preexisting conditions!). Brian Beutler at Salon writes that it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse for those candidates, because a reported rush is on around the country to sign up for insurance before the deadline hits next week, and the figures are already staggering if you’re seriously hoping to repeal the law and replace it with nothing.
Beutler: “Charles Gaba — an ACA supporter and data Hoover — has been documenting the March surge, state by state on his Twitter account and his site, ACAsignups.net. Gaba has the best numbers out there, and has been accurately forecasting official enrollment statistics for weeks. He currently projects total exchange enrollment will hit 6.2 million by the end of the month, not counting enrollment in off-exchange plans, and puts the grand beneficiary total (including Medicaid beneficiaries and “young invincibles” on their parents’ plans) at 11.9 million to 15.6 million as of Saturday. Conservatives are thus, to no one’s surprise, furiously attempting to ‘un-skew’ his figures.”
A New York Times editorial asks why Obama has to go to Congress to end his program of bulk collecting of phone records — when he could just end it by himself.
Nate Silver strikes back at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for complaining about fivethirtyeight’s prediction that Republicans hold a slight edge in fight for control of the Senate. He cites — shock – hypocrisy from a political party. Via fivethirtyeight.
[ Image: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. ]