Obamacare’s judgment day

The court decides; Holder to be held in contempt; RNC sues over campaign limits; and other top Thursday stories

Topics: 2012 Elections, Healthcare Reform, Supreme Court,

Judgment day: The day has finally come when the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Here are our predictions on what the court may do.

But here’s another possibility that no one is talking about: punting. Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who vetted Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation process, said he thinks the court may wait to rule on the individual mandate until after it goes into effect. Gonzales told CNN he expects a narrow decision, and “that may mean that he’s going to be pushing the court to perhaps not make a decision on this case, wait until 2015, when the penalties on individual mandate come into play.”

President Obama, meanwhile, has prepared three separate speeches for different outcomes. Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that the White House will find out by watching the news like everyone else.

Contempt vote: There are other big things happening today, including a House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the “Fast & Furious” scandal. The vote is expected to pass, but Congressional Black Caucus members plans to walk off the House floor in protest of campaign against the AG, which some view as racially-tinged (Holder is black). “We adamantly oppose this partisan attack and refuse to participate in any vote that would tarnish the image of Congress or of an attorney general who has done nothing but work tirelessly to protect the rights of the American people. We must reflect upon why we are elected to this body and choose now to stand up for justice,” CBC wrote in a letter urging colleagues to join them.



RNC sues to kill campaign finance limits: The Washington Post reports: “The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit last week challenging campaign contribution limits set by the federal government, continuing the party’s efforts to dismantle the laws restricting money in political campaigns. … Current law dictates that one person may give no more than $2,500 to a political candidate in one election, and $30,800 each year to one political party committee, such as the RNC. The new court case doesn’t challenge those limits, but targets another one: the overall cap of $117,000 in each election cycle, along with separate caps for the total amount one person can give to candidates and to parties. Contributions to super PACs are not included in the caps.”

IRS investigating Rove-linked political group: The Wall Street Journal reports the IRS “is taking initial steps to examine whether Crossroads GPS, a pro-Republican group affiliated with Karl Rove, and similar political entities are violating their tax-exempt status by spending too much on partisan activities. The review, which could last for years and is unlikely to be concluded before the November election, could ultimately force many of the political groups to disclose the names of their donors for the first time.”The probe will begin with a voluntary questionnaire sent to groups asking them about their compliance.

JPMorgan trading losses could quadruple: The New York Times reports: “Losses on JPMorgan Chase’s bungled trade could total as much as $9 billion, far exceeding earlier public estimates, according to people who have been briefed on the situation.When Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief executive, announced in May that the bank had lost $2 billion in a bet on credit derivatives, he estimated that losses could double within the next few quarters. But the red ink has been mounting in recent weeks, as the bank has been unwinding its positions, according to interviews with current and former traders and executives at the bank who asked not to be named because of investigations into the bank.”

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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