The court decides; Holder to be held in contempt; RNC sues over campaign limits; and other top Thursday stories
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.”
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Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
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