tv CNN Newsroom CNN June 28, 2012 6:00am-8:00am PDT
begins right now with wolf blitzer in washington, d.c. this morning. hey, good morning. >> good morning, soledad. thanks very much. i'm wonderful blitzer in washington. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. our special coverage of the biggest u.s. supreme court decision in decades. next hour, right near the top of the hour, the nine justices will announce the decision on the bitterly divisive health care reform law. their rulings on the law not only shape the legacy of the court, but also, the obama presidency. it will carve new battle lines in the fall's presidential election. and most importantly, it will impact your health and your
choices. almost impossible to overstate how important next hour's announcement is. we have complete coverage to break it down for all of you. our crews are covering every angle from coast to coast. let's go to the white house, though, first. there's breaking news coming out. jessica yellin is standing by. what are you learning about the president's intention today? >> reporter: hi, wolf. well, president obama will be in the oval office receiving his daily briefing when the supreme court ruling comes down. he'll be there with the vice president, his chief of staff, and the men who usually brief him, the heads of his national security team, and others. and i understand that the president will give remarks. i expect it in the nature of a speech and the white house is prepared for a number of different contingencies. they're prepared for the possibility it's fully upheld, obviously, fully struck down and then something in between. possibly a version of the mandate getting struck down in
which case we would expect to hear the president focus on the other benefits of the law that would they insist still stand if that's the only piece struck down. the president i can tell you, wolf, has reviewed parts of -- he heard parts of the oral arguments. he also reviewed the transcripts as they have said publicly of the oral arguments and the white house aides maintain while the president believes it's constitutional, firmly believes it, believes it should be upheld and would not be surprised if it is not, wolf. >> a formal constitutional law professor at the university of chicago law school and up to speed on a lot of legal issues. do we have a tentative time, jessica, when we might be hearing from the president? >> reporter: we don't, wolf. i think that's understandable given the fact they have to like all of us review the decision. it is unlikely to be very simple, right? and so, no doubt it will go to
the legal team and parse through it and if it's very straightforward, i imagine we'll hear from him quickly but if it is not, it takes some time before we hear from him. he's leaving the white house this afternoon and visiting wounded military service members wounded in action, so no doubt hearing from him before he does that later this afternoon. but no exact time yet, wolf. i'll keep you posted. >> thanks very much, jessica. staying in close touch with you. certainly, this is the signature issue, the signature legislative issue that the president enacted in the first term so the stakes for him, indeed, for the country, are enormous. let's go to john king at the u.s. supreme court watching this historic morning unfold. john, the stakes for everyone, i think, politically and much more importantly for the country as a whole, are enormous. >> reporter: every american out there, wolf, every american watching the coverage today,
maybe not, maybe at work or maybe a young american at school, somebody just out of college and can't find a job on the parent's health insurance, 22, 23, 24 years old, every american has a huge policy stake in today and from the presidential election this is defining political issue, as well. the justices in about an hour will let us know. they have several choices, wolf. they can rule the obama health care law is constitutional and let it stand. then nothing changes in the sense that the law is still effect and other provisions kick in between now and 2014. if they do that, then no insurance company can deny you coverage far preexisting condition. young americans can stay on the parent's health care until they're 26. no longer could an insurance company say you get a lifetime dollar limits on the benefits and cut you off. if they keep the law. if they uphold it. if they throw it out, they have choices. they could throw it all out and send the debate back do congress
and the political sphere or say just the individual mandate, for example, is unconstitutional. that takes up the money. financing in the bill. how could it survive? the white house already this morning distributing, talking points in paper saying if they throw out parts of it many of the provisions i talked about and some of them quite popular. much of the law is unpopular with the public. some of them could stand. we have options and choices. as you noted, this is the signature policy initiative of the president's first term and has a lot, an amount of a political standpoint at point. jess just said we'll hear from president obama and then mitt romney. the united states capitol is in front of me. trust me. this building is full of anticipation for what happens to the court and seeing democrats and republicans reacting. i want to bring in congressional correspondent who's become our deputy supreme court correspondent we might say, kate baldwin outside the court. kate, if you listen to the oral
okayments in this case, immediately after the conventional wisdom is the justices were skeptical. they'll throw out all or parts of this. the thinking, i guess the guessing has shifted a built. right? >> i think the speculation has gone, kicked up to a notch we haven't seen in a while. jeff and i were here together, jeffrey and toobin i were here after oral arguments saying the same thing. from oral arguments it appeared as if the individual mandate was in trouble. the solicitor general had a very hard time. he got some very tough questions and difficult time crafting a clear answer to some of the questions that were being asked. but as we always say, oral arguments is not the end all, be all with the supreme court case. no one knows but the justices and the clerks the debate going on for months crafting their arguments. a lot can happen between oral
arguments and decision day. what the of the-quoted statement, anyone that knows is not talking. anyone that's talking does not know. a lot of speculation and smart and good guesses but we will have to wait and see 10:00. >> jeffrey toobin in the court when this plays out. i'm jealous of you. do ate ber job than i did to explain the court has many options. it could uphold the law, throw out parts or the entire thing. go through the different scenarios as the court as we prepare to find out what the justices decided. >> well, certainly, it is worth remembering today most of the time when people challenge the constitutionality of an act of congress the court rejects that challenge. upholds the law. it's a very big deal, it's a very unusual deal when the supreme court of the united states strikes down a law that was passed by the democratically
elected members of congress and signed by the president. the unelected supreme court quite rightly considers it an unusual and major step to declare a law unconstitutional. most of the time they simply affirm the law. the extreme on the other end is for the court to say, the parts of this law that are unconstitutional are so bound up with the rest of it that all 27 pages, 2,700 pages of the law have to go and congress if it wants to deal with the issue has to start from scratch. those are the two sort of clearest options. >> right. >> the more complicated is the striking down part of it. because then the administration and all of the rest of us will have to figure out how the rest of the law can work if it can work. >> high stakes for the court. high stakes for the president. high stakes for the congress, as well. wol
wolf, we're waiting now. it's an a final day to issue the most consequential ruling and a stamp not on the presidential campaign, a big policy issue for all americans and a test for the roberts court today, wolf. >> i just want to be precise and getting questions from the viewers. maybe if you don't know the answer maybe jeffrey toobin knows the answer. i think i know the answer but there is no heads up as a courtesy that the supreme court gives the president of the united states on their decision, the president will learn of this decision when the rest of us of learn of the decision, is that right, john? >> reporter: that is my -- >> yes. >> reporter: jeff toobin will know before the president of the united states. >> well, and there's actually a sort of an odd fact of three cases that are going to be decided today. two of them are actually fairly minor. one involves standing, who has a right to sue in other cases and the other is an unusual law
called the stolen valor act about whether you can be criminally prosecuted if you claim to have military awards you don't, whether that law is constitutional and if john roberts issues the opinion as most of us expect he will, the health care case will be third because they always announce the opinions in reverse seniority order and the chief justice is always considered the most senior member of the court. so some -- two of the associate justices read the other cases and probably get the health care case if the chief justice writes it at 10:15 or 10:20. >> we don't know if it's one, two, three, four -- >> they argued it over six hours. very unusual for the court and we don't know if the court issues one big opinion or several smaller opinions. president doesn't get a heads up and we don't get a heads up. >> all right. we'll be watching as you say and i think you're right. the other two relatively minor decisions will be announced
first and then the major one on health care announced probably 10:15 or so. we'll have extensive live coverage leading up to that. eight of the justices likely to be split on whether the law is constitutional. if that's the case, this man is likely to be the swing vote. who is justice anthony kennedy? he was appointed by president reagan and sat on the court since 1988. considered right leaning and swings to the left on hot button examples. the death penalty, abortion and immigration. this case by case approach earned him nicknames like the flimer ander rant voyager. in the oral arguments in march, by the way, he asked tough questions of both sides. we'll all be watching yus tis anthony kennedy and watching the chief justice roberts to see what he does. he could be very decisive, obviously, in this, as well. maybe not necessarily
predictable. if you're away from your tv, you can still keep up with cnn's extensive coverage of this historic day and it is historic. log on to the live blog. cnn.com/thisjustin. we're continually updating with reaction, tweets of army of reporters and we want you to share your thoughts, as well. this morning, the other big stories also up on capitol hill anunprecedented house vote is scheduled for later today. at issue, whether to hold the attorney general of the united states eric holder in contempt of congress. holder mingled with lawmakers last night at the white house annual congressional picnic. daryl issa, the chairman of the house oversight and government reform committee already has more than 7,000 documents on the government's botched fast and furious ice sting commprogram. president obama preventing some documents in dispute of being
turned over. we're watching that story unfold. we expect, by the way, the vote on the house floor if it happens to be during the 4:00 p.m. eastern hour. we'll have live coverage in the situation room during the 4:00 p.m. eastern hour. in about one hour, though, we'll know the u.s. supreme court's history-making decision on health care. we're following every angle of the story and how to impact you, how it could impact the presidential election. our coverage will continue in a moment.
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we are waiting for the u.s. supreme court's ruling on president obama's health care law. what are the american people thinking about it? last month poll, the majority of americans, 51%, said they oppose the law. 43% said they favor it. if the supreme court rules part or all of the health care law is unconstitutional it could be seen as a major win for mitt romney. jim acosta is at a romney event in d.c. the ruling is significantly politically, jim, as you know. there's a lot at stake for romney and certainly for president obama. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. i should say we expect mitt romney to make some kind of statement about the health care ruling and not a guarantee.
we don't have a confirmed event from the romney campaign that something is actually going to take place but we expect him to say something as he did the other day after the immigration ruling over at the supreme court. but, wolf, i will tell you that he was sort of warming up some attack lines yesterday in virginia at a campaign event out in northern virginia and not really talking about the constitutionality of the health care law but basically accusing the president of what he called a moral failure instead of fixing the economy coming in to office and been the romney argument for several days. you will recall earlier this week he said if the health care law is struck down that the first couple of years of president obama's administration is a waste. and so, what mitt romney i think will do coming out today is say, you know, no matter what the ruling is from the supreme court, because the president went after health care reform instead of fixing the economy, he sort of wasted a big opportunity to get the economy
going again and expecting to hear from mitt romney. the white house and the obama campaign, they're obviously not letting that go unresponded to or not responded to. they have been putting out pretpress releases. saying mitt romney takes the country back to a day of preexisting conditions a problem for some people out there and the romney campaign said, no, that's not the case. he'll pass health care reform of his own kind, of the kind that he would like to see and that would include some of those protections for consumers so this could be a new stage of the campaign for both campaigns, wolf, no matter what's decided at the supreme court today. >> some point, i assume they haven't told us yet but we'll hear as you say directly from mitt romney? >> reporter: i think that's still up in the air. we have not been told definit e definitively he'll make an on-camera statement in response to the supreme court ruling. but i will -- i think we are
expecting some kind of statement from mitt romney after the supreme court ruling. the campaign is being very close to the vest, very hush-hush as to what exactly he's planning to do after this ruling comes down, wolf. >> jim acosta, watching romney reaction coming in from the campaign and the republican presidential candidate. these are live pictures by the way. you see people gathering in washington, d.c. some in favor of the health care reform law. some opposed. protesters. pro and con. there is an incredible intensity on this day here in washington, someone that covered the supreme court and bush v. gore in 2003 determining the winner of the 2003 presidential election and the most intense moment in supreme court history since then. i think it's fair to say it's a huge day. once they gavel at 10:00 a.m. this morning, less than an hour from now, about 40 minutes or so from now, the chief justice will be inside. as we have been reporting, there are two relatively minor
decisions which will go probably before the major decision on the constitutionality of the health care reform law. we're going in depth. what's happening this morning? taking a closer look at the process. how things will play out. our coverage will continue in a moment. peppery poblano, sweet butternut. we're roasting, and grilling to create must-have meals with no preservatives. lean cuisine. be culinary chic.
decision now just minutes away. the nine justices of the united states supreme court deciding on the constitutionality of the affordable care act. many people in politics call it obama care. we'll look forward. how will it impact the politics? will the congress have to reconsider any parts of the law? that's looking forward. let's look back a little bit. it was months ago as we await
the big decision that the justices took this argument and they put the case under the microscope. they heard the oral arguments back in march. today, let's take a look at the process. how it played out then and how it will in the next hour. tom foreman has a closer look at that. tom? >> hey, john. this is one of the unusual pageants of once in a while in washington, d.c. and it is fascinating. all of this hidden from the tv cameras and tell you what's going to happen. about a half hour from now, shortly before 10:00, the justices meet behind the red curtain. they put the robes on and all shake hands with each other. it's a little ceremony they do to remind each other it's all for the country. we have to work together. and then the justices will file out in to the room and take their places. about 300 people out here in the audience. 150 members of the general public, the rest of them vips, members of the bar and the press. in all likelihood as wolf said a
while ago, the chief justice dispense with the two other cases, that's why we won't have a decision at 10:00 in all likelihood and then turn to the health care matter and get in to the most interesting and secretive part of this government. really, when you think about it, because the truth is that decision began in this room, right after those arguments, john. nine chairs around the table. when we heard the oral arguments in march, people all left and we all started talking about it on the air. justices went in to this room by themselves, nobody else. no clerks. nobody. and they sat around this table and they said, preliminary vote, where do you stand? so at the end of this and a little bit of discussion, they knew right then what the decision was most likely to be. the chief justice, if he was on the winning side of that equation, he assigned someone to write the majority opinion. minority folks decided and depends on how that broke out and then went in to the next
part of it, this is worth looking at because you had the oral arguments. that was the closed door conference. and then as the opinions were being written, they're circulated among the folks and all the different justices talk about them. a justice might say, yes, i'm on this side but if you say that, i can't behind that and another justice says you must extend it further on one side or the other. in that give and take, it's possible that the justices might change positions. it's not -- that's not an easy change to make but it could happen. so there was some give and take as they went through the arguments. once they get through this, though, we come back to this morning and what will happen. after they have assembled and all that secret process has happened, once they get through the other two cases, chief justice roberts if he is in the majority here will say now we will have the opinion. he will lay it out and simultaneously paper copies of this will be given to the press in another room down stairs and this will be the law of the
land. john? >> excellent look inside the process by tom foreman. this is perhaps the most -- without a doubt, the most secretive branches of the government and fascinating dynamic that you have the nine justices. none of this has leaked out. moments away from the most consequential decision of this term of the supreme court of the united states. we'll soon know what they think about barack obama's signature initiative, the first term, the affordable care act. every communications provider is different but centurylink is committed to being a different kind of communications company. ♪ we link people and fortune 500 companies nationwide and around the world. and we will continue to free you to do more and focus on what matters.
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hour. history will unfold. you are looking at live pictures of the united states supreme court. the supreme court will decide whether the president's health care reform law that was signed in to law by this president of the united states is, in fact, constitutional. whether it's in all constitutional, whether parts of it is constitutional, none of it constitutional. we'll get that decision near the top of the hour to relatively minor supreme court cases announced first. they're going through extraordinary precautions to make sure there's no leak, no one gets advance word. once the chief justice brings the other eight justices to that room, everyone is going to know at the same time what is going on. we're also watching, by the way, for the opening bell on wall street right now. stocks already heading for a weak opening as a two-day euro summit gets under way. pharmaceutical companies, by the way, insurance providers, as well, traders, others, among
those waiting and watching for the supreme court's ruling. what the supreme court decides within a half an hour or so, maybe 40 minutes, once we know what the supreme court decides, watch wall street. it could have a big impact. let's listen to the opening bell. all right. we'll watch and see what happens on wall street as a result of all that's going on. joining us now, cnn contributor will cain and political analyst roland martin. you said if the supreme court rules against the president's health care reform law, democrats will have no one to blame but themselves. roland? >> well, i thought you were tossing to will. look. the issue that they clearly have is bottom line is they were in control of this situation. they had an opportunity to actually go to the public option. they chose the more controversial individual
mandate. and so, if they struck it down, now all of a sudden you are in a much different position. the gop controls the house. you don't have 60 votes in the senate so if that then happens, what changes do you expect? i don't expect anything to change. are we now in limbo? what then happens? so i'm sure the administration is praying that if it's not -- if it's not allowed to stand, significant portions are allowed to stand, otherwise they're going to have total mayhem trying to make an argument that the chief piece of legislation was health care and now it's not even a law of the land. >> will cain, you are also an attorney and you have been doing an excellent job all morning explaining some of the very complex legal aspects of this historic case. walk us through when's going through your mind right now. what do you expect in about half an hour, 40 minutes or so we'll see? >> not to overstate this, wolf, but i think we'll find out in a half hour what's the limits of
the federal government's power? the supreme court asked the government in oral arguments if you're allowed to force americans to buy health insurance, what are you not allowed to do? you heard justices saying can you force americans to buy broccoli or burial insurance? argument from the government is no, no, no. but health care is different. did the supreme court believe that the health care market, however that's defined, is different and they can expand the government's power then to require americans to buy insurance? >> gloria borger is here, as well. chief political analyst. there's an enormous amount of political spinning after the supreme court reaches its -- all of our heads spinning. here's my sense and tell me what you think. if the signature legislative accomplishment of the president goes down in full or in part, that's a huge embarrassment for the president.
a major political setback. >> it is. >> no matter what they try to say after this. >> right. it is the administration's major domestic policy achievement. period. they spent over a year working on. if they lose even just the mandate -- >> that's the heart of this. >> of course. there won't be any way for them to spin that as a victory. what they'll do, though, is pivot and they'll turn to the republicans and say, okay. we have now lost the mandate. tell me how you are going to pay for those popular provisions such as coverage for preexisting conditions that people in this country want. tell me how you're going to pay to keep children on the parent's health care insurance. republicans will say we don't need to do that right now. we're not going to give you a 6,000-page bill in 3 days because that would be making the same mistake you made.
we are going to wait until after the next election. and attack this piece by piece. but, wolf, you know, it's also an interesting thing to look at from mitt romney's point of view. if the law is thrown out, he will claim victory. but he has to change the narrative of his campaign. because then he loses the rallying cry for all those republicans and romney supporter who is don't like what they call obama care. >> i think it helps him. it would help him. >> of course it does. >> no, no, no. losing the narrative. to will's point, he can say this is a prime example of why the federal government can't overstep the bounds and right to say it's state's rights. >> he can xlam incompetence on the part of president obama and changes the narrative of the campaign. he has to turn. >> we'll have -- e with 'll know within half an hour or so what the nine justices of the supreme court decided. we are standing by.
we'll have obviously extensive live coverage leading up to this historic decision. and complete analysis. not necessarily easy to discern what's decided. could be very complex. we'll try to break it down for you in understandable ways. everyone will be watching. stand by. the coverage will resume in a moment.
you see the building behind me. within the half hour we'll learn whether the nine justices believe the signature initiative of president obama's first term, the affordable care act, whether or not that law is constitutional. we'll find out in about half an hour. the clerks have known for months and the justices. much of the staff of the supreme court has known for months and yet in a town where leaks are so kept, that secret is kept. the opinions were printed last night. brought to the clerk's office this morning. a highly secure environment. again, remarkable in a town like washington that none of this leaked. let's talk to somebody that knows the pressure of the process. john bash join us from pittsburgh. you were a clerk for senator scalia. first talk about that pressure, when you accept the job, how's it stressed to you that you must under all circumstances keep everything secret? >> it's well-known.
the message is sent that any leak would be totally unacceptable. there were stories that during the burger court in the '70s there were some leaks of big cases and it's really looked down upon. it's hard to imagine any clerk for any justice leaking it. you have very little to gain and comes out you're the leaker, it looks terrible for the legal career and really betraying the trust that the justice that hired you placed in you. >> take us inside this process. any case that the supreme court agrees to hear is by the very nature a very important but this case is particularly special. bush v. gore was a big case. when's it like? the justices and i assume the clerks know this is extra special. how are the stakes different? how are the conversations different? how are the pressures different? >> well, i can speak from personal experience because i was in the position of a lot of the clerks right now at the last day of the term four days ago. the big opinion that year was
district of clum bah jolumbia v heller and provides an individual right to own firearms and like the case today, it came down the last day of the term. clerks and justices were scrambling. going opinions back and forth the last week of the term. and the excitement of today was just unbelievable. i mean, walking in to the courtroom, knowing and it was my yus tis reading the opinion, knowing that an opinion of a historical proportions, a constitutional opinion is coming down today that's it all over the news. i remember right after the opinion came down, i looked up on drudge report, the shot heard around the world or something like that. it's a tremendously exciting day. and, you know, going back to the leak thing. i wouldn't have dreamed of leaking that. i don't think any of the clerks here would think of doing that. >> you called him your justice. scalia was controversial three days ago going after the president of the united states
and rhetoric many people thought way outside the legal arguments of the court. the liberal clumist this morning of "the washington post" said he should resign. tell us how he views the politics of justice. >> he doesn't view it as a political game and the idea to resign or outside the bounds of things justices said is ludicro ludicrous. if you go back and look at his record as a justice, i think people from the aclu and liberal organizations would agree with this, he's one of the justices most likely to break from what you would think of as the political view of a conservative on issues like searches and seizure, the right to a jury trial, the first amendment. he's been a justice with in many ways views that, you know, unless precedent clearly forecloses something, you go with the original understanding of the constitution and that oftentimes leads him down paths that in political discourse we
might think are liberal but for him is the originalist view and on the immigration case, it was really an originalist analysis of the states' rights to exclude folks from their borders. he went back to the alien sedition acts and said it's traditionally an issue of state skompbty and the federal governments cannot without being expl exicit exclude people from the borders. >> john bash, a former clerk for a justice. scalia, one of the justices to decide in moments. will tell us their opinion in moments and whether the health care law -- you heard a former clerk. a doctor's perspective of what's at stake as the health care law is decided on by the supreme court. stay with us. [ female announcer ] the coffee house.
only 15 minutes away from the united states supreme court. the nine justices deciding the fate of the health care reform law in the united states. all the journalists who want to eyewitness this historic moment are now inside the chamber. they're getting ready. there have been no leaks. with e do not know. we do not know the decision, the fate of the health care law in the united states. we do know that hospitals across the country are watching the supreme court's ruling very, very closely. lives, many of the doctors
believe, will be at stake across the united states. it's a life and death issue for so many of these doctors and nurses. you ask them. they'll tell you. fredericka whitfield is joining us from grady memorial hospital in atlanta live with the president and ceo of the grady health system. fred, tell us what the thinking is over there because i don't think it's an exaggeration to say this is a life and death issue for a lot of folks. >> reporter: it really is in a very big way, wolf. publicly-funded hospitals like grady here in atlanta considered safety net hospitals a. good number of the patients uninsured or underinsured. however, the affordable care act has meant that business here has unchanged. it's the measures that would go in to place 2014 that could have the big impact and to help explain that kind of scenario is ceo of grady hospital, john hopper. good to see you. while you say the costs are still high, medical costs are
very high. that's what public hospitals experiencing. affordable care act has not impacted that. but best-case scenario of the ruling today, what are you and health care providers hoping for? >> for the safety net hospitals across the country the best thing for the act to stand. >> reporter: as is? >> in its entirety. the majority of our patients are either currently on medicaid or currently uninsured and those are the people that are going to benefit the most by the actions and the act. >> reporter: all right. thanks so much. ceo of grady, a hospital near in atlanta. back the you, wolf. >> we'll get reaction from others at the hospital after we know what the supreme court decides. fred, don't go too far away. our own dr. sanjay gupta joining us now, our chief medical correspondent. sanjay, it's hard to believe but in the united states of america 50 million americans have no health insurance. if the law takes effect, 30
million of them will get health insurance. but if the law is rejected by the nine justices of the supreme court, it's -- anyone's guess at what happens down the road. there are real practical implications of this decision we're about to hear. >> people seem to agree on this point, that the fact that so many people are uninsured is not acceptable. how to get them there is the issue and among the community there's not always complete agreement on this. differing viewpoints. i want to bring in a doctor, new york state director of doctors or america. what do you think will what happen? >> i'm hoping the supreme court will do us good and be able to uphold the whole law. i'm afraid. it's nerve wracking because my patients' health hangs in the balance. >> if the law is upheld completely, you will have more patients as wolf mentioned, tens of millions more, is the health
care system ready for that? doctors and resources? >> the aca has provisions to put in more primary care doctors in the system. it's going to take away the fear of being able to be a primary care physician and being able to take care of more and more people. >> what about the quality of care overall? people worry about that, too. they want the health care and to be good, as good if not better than it is now. >> so yeah. i think the quality of care only improve. the way that the health care system has been has been with bad quality care, no one's being insured. no one able to get access. so this is just a step forward and a step up to being able to provide that for people in america. >> final question. not all doctors are in favor of this. >> right. >> what is the objection of the doctors? >> i mean, i can tell you personally i think that there's a lot of objections based on monetary gain. i think there is that almost. i think there's also objection of people feel like this isn't covering everybody. which i agree with. and i think that this is just a
step forward. >> doctor. 30 million the people that might be covered if this is completely upheld and lots of different opinions within the community of medicine, wolf. >> getting that reaction after we know what the justices decide, sanjay's to be helping every step of the way. thank you very, very much. we're only ten minutes away or so from the top of the hour. that's when these nine justices will decide two relatively minor cases, then the big one, the fate on the affordable care act as it's called, aca. a lot of critics call it obama care. much more coming up in a minute. and focus on the things that matter to you.
in about seven minutes, the supreme court will gavel into session the final day of this term. and on this final day, the most consequential decision of the roberts court today. the decision on this is in a moment. right in the thick of it, as we await this consequential decision, enormous political implications. brian todd is right there in the middle of it. brian, take us right there to the scene. >> it's a wild scene out here. we're kind of on the unofficial divided line. we're going to pan over here. the tea party patriots group is generally over in this area here. but this group protect our care is also mixing in here, the
pro-health care protesters are over this way a little bit. they're trying to outdo each other with chants. a crowd of at least a couple of hundred has developed over the last three hours. it started out kind of sparse. the health care debate really on display here. it is thick right now, john. it's hard to move around. sorry, folks. you're just kind of seeing some of the chants and speeches. there are going to be a lot of speeches outside here on the platform after the health care ruling comes down in just a few minutes. a crazy scene out here, john. everything from belly dancers who are against the health care plan to a guy dressed as a revolutionary era patriot. colorful and great scene out here. >> brian todd in the middle of it. the right to free speech, one of the privileges we have in this great society. brian todd right in the middle. wolf, this is perhaps the most polarizing debate, about the health care law, signed into law
in march of 2010. we are just moments away from the supreme court decision on whether or not it is constitutional. >> we will be watching every second of this unfold. i don't know about you, but i'm pretty excited anticipating what could potentially happen. candy crowley is up on capitol hill. candy, there will be a lot of reaction from members of the house and the senate, statements galore to be sure. but then they're going to have to decide legislatively what do they do all about this. >> what they're going to do, and then there's what we can expect between, say, now and december. and that is nothing major. we know that. from other major pieces of legislation. right now you're seeing the expectations of what the supreme court is going to do, follow along party lines. the democrats, you know, bullish that the supreme court is going to let this stand, and things will continue, and the republicans you're hearing saying we think they're going to throw out the individual mandate, the requirement that
you must buy insurance, or face a penalty. so their expectations are partisan, their reaction will be partisan, and quite frankly, any attempt to move it legislatively is not going to happen. why? because the republicans are going to say, this was your health insurance bill. we voted against it. so you guys fix this. here's our plan. they're not going to put out a specific plan. it becomes a big old target. they're going to say, democrats, how are you going to fix this. the democrats are going to say, republicans, you took this all the way to the supreme court. so nothing major between now and the next congress. >> i think candy is absolutely correct. if the supreme court rules against this law, i suspect nothing significant legislatively will happen before the election. our coverage will continue in just a moment. at the top of the hour, we will know, we will know whether the health care reform law in the united states is or is not
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we're getting ready for the top of the hour, that's when the chief justice of the united states, john roberts, will bring this session to order. there will be two relatively minor cases, minor decisions that he will read, and other justices will weigh in as well. but then history will unfold. the fate of health care reform.
the health care reform law that the president of the united states signed in 2010. that will be determined. is it, or is it not constitutional. protesters are outside the supreme court. we're standing by. within a few moments the entire world will know what the supreme court has decided. stand by. our live coverage continues. this is cnn breaking news. and this is a live picture of the united states supreme court in washington, d.c. a historic announcement is a few moments away. the justices will vote on the health care reform law. what they decide will impact virtually every american. good morning to our viewers in the united states and around the world. our special coverage continues right now. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. it's almost impossible to overstate just how important the commonly known phrase obama care really is.
it's a signature achievement of president obama's administration. today's ruling could impact his legacy, could impact his re-election. but most importantly, it will have a direct effect on hundreds of millions of americans all across the country. as a result, we've mobilized cnn's vast resources for this hour's dramatic announcement. our crews are covering every angle from coast to coast to break it down for you. let's go to cnn's john king, first of all. he's right outside the supreme court, watching all of this unfold. it could be a complex decision, not necessarily black and white, whether it's constitutional or unconstitutional. there are variations of this decision potentially in the works, john. >> exactly right, wolf. you can hear some of the protesters weighing in on this decision. the court will gavel into session as we speak. remarkable in this cable age, twitter age, no cameras allowed
in there. but our jeffrey toobin is inside. but you're right, this could be a complicated situation right now. let's go to kate baldwin right now for breaking news. >> we do have some news on another case that we have been watching very closely. this is the case of the stolen valor act. a 2006 federal law making it a crime to lie about military honors, lie about military service. the supreme court has ruled in favor of the man who has been -- who challenged this law, xavier alvarez. he lied about his military service saying he had been awarded the medal of honor, the highest medal for combat. he was running for a local office in california. he admits his lie. but he said his lie is protected by the first amendment. the justices ruling 6-3, with justice kennedy reading part of the decision right now.
they ruled in his favor, throwing out this prosecution, saying his rights were protected under the first amendment. so that's just one of the cases. there could be one more before we get to the big ruling that we are all waiting for, wolf. >> kate, thanks very much. one down, another relatively minor decision to go. and then we will get the big decision on the fate of health care reform in the united states. jessica yellin is over at the white house. the president will be getting ready to address the nation shortly after we know what this decision is. isn't that right, jessica? >> wolf, we don't know when the president will be addressing the nation. we know it will be sometime today. but the exact timing of that has not been announced. what i do know is the president is scheduled to be in the oval office receiving his presidential daily brief when this decision comes down. he should be there now, with the vice president. he's usually accompanied by the chief of staff, and the heads of
his national security team. those would be the people with him when he learns of this decision, just like the rest of us do. wolf, this health care rule was 18 months in the making. the president devoted an enormous amount of his own political capital to this health care policy. it is not just the health care of the nation, the role of government in american's lives, but also, of course, the president's own political future to some extent at stake today. and the white house is prepared for many different outcomes. they have tried to compute all sorts of different possible ways the supreme court could rule, and still what we know, that once this decision comes down, they'll have to review the decision like the rest of us, process it before the president comes out to give remarks. but it will be at some point later today, wolf, a momentous day, not just this health care ruling, but also his attorney general under fire today.
so a sign for the president that he is not in control of his own politics here in washington, oddly, at this crucial moment for him in the election. wolf? >> it certainly would be momentous for the president, indeed for the nation, depending on what these justices do. jessica, we'll get back to you. gloria, as we await this moment, and it's exciting to see history unfold, we don't know whether the justices will rule that the affordable care act as it's officially called will be constitutional or unconstitutional or some sort of mixed decision, if you will. but i keep saying the stakes are enormous for the country as a whole. forget about the politics for now. >> it's enormous for the country. at the heart of this issue is whether this health care mandate is constitutional or unconstitutional. and that is an insurance pool which would mean everybody would have to pay into it. if you lose that, in any way, shape or form, what the insurance companies are saying, and this is what people care
about, the insurance companies are saying, we cannot keep all of these provisions in, because your insurance costs would skyrocket. so then the question becomes, what do you do to make sure that doesn't happen, and how do you control health care costs in this country, which are 18% of the gross national product. so we could end up, wolf, going back to square one. as jessica said, this has been almost two years in the making. all of it's supposed to take effect in 2014. so it could create some kind of chaos for people as they try and have some kind of certainty about their health care plan. >> i want to bring john king into this conversation as well, as we await momentarily, john, we will know the fate of health care, the health care reform law in the united states. there is one wild card, i think a lot of the experts have suggested it's remote. but john, there is one wild card that these nine justices could decide.
that would in effect to punt, to delay any final decision until after 2014, when the mandate, the mandate is supposed to go into effect. it's unlikely they will do so. but explain what that would mean. >> well, we saw a bit of that in the arizona immigration decision the other day, where they threw out three contested decision, and the so-called show me your papers provision. essentially what the court said is, we don't know whether this could be implemented in a constitutional way. we don't know until you try it, whether this can be done in a way that does not violate the civil rights being asked for their immigration papers -- >> john, hold on a second. kate baldwin has got some information. kate, go ahead, tell us what's going on. >> we're still going through the opinion, but i want to bring in the breaking news that according to producer, the unofficial mandate is not a valid exercise of the commerce clause. so it appears as if the supreme
court justices have struck down the individual mandate, the centerpiece of the health care legislation. i'm going to hop back on this phone to try to get more information and bring it to you, wolf. >> wow, that's a dramatic moment, if in fact the supreme court has ruled the individual mandate is in fact unconstitutional. that would be history unfolding right now. we'll get a lot more information. this is just the initial headline that we're getting from inside the supreme court to our own kate baldwin. john king is outside the supreme court watching all of this unfold. what a setback, john, this would be for the president, for the democrats, those who supported this health care law, if they ruled that the individual mandate is in fact unconstitutional, then it raises questions about any of this health care reform law. >> wolf, the individual man tate is the centerpiece of the policy, meaning the mandate requiring most americans to purchase insurance is where the money comes from. it's how you expand access. the administration said it could possibly try to keep parts of
the law viable. but it is the money, most of the money comes through that individual mandate, requiring people to purchase health insurance. the court is striking down that mandate is a dramatic blow to the policy and to the president politically. that has been the defining and was the defining debate in congress. does the federal government have the right to tell individual americans, you must buy this, to tell the 50 states, you must set up a system with the insurer pools and co-ops. the justices just gutted the centerpiece decision of the obama health care law. the question is, what else do they say in this ruling and can parts of the law be salvaged. the administration is stressing that even if the mandate is struck down, they believe it will be left in place by the court. but without a doubt, the individual mandate which has been the polarizing centerpiece of the policy debate over health care, the justices throwing that out is a direct blow to the president of the united states, a direct blow to his democratic
party. and this is a victory, if you will -- >> all right, hold -- >> go ahead. >> hold on for a second, john. i want to bring in sanjay gupta into this. if the individual mandate is not a valid exercise of the commerce clause, if in fact it's unconstitutional, as john king is saying, that's supposed to pay for health insurance for a lot of poorer americans. because younger americans would be forced to purchase health insurance, and the revenue that would come in would help provide insurance to millions of others. give us your initial reaction to this breaking news. >> well, it's obviously very important. the second most important piece of information i want to hear now is what happens to these, quote, nondiscriminatory clauses against mashpatients who have chronic illness, those that are unable to get health insurance, or it's been too expensive for them. as you point out, the way they were going to be able to get
health insurance was the new people coming into the system under the mandate were going to help pay for them. that money is no longer there. now we want to hear from the supreme court, are they also getting rid of these nondiscriminatory clauses as well. regardless of what they do at this point, i think the point that john king was making is from a pragmatic standpoint, from a doc like me who works in a public hospital, if you can't pay for this, i don't know how it works, even if the law is on the books. so this is a -- it's a very big deal here, wolf, this particular of the 450 provisions, this one obviously was the centerpiece on which so many of those other ones were riding. >> yeah, if in fact that's the final word on the individual mandate. could be a little bit more complicated. john king, you're getting some more information as well. we're watching all of this unfold. we're still trying to dissect what this initial report we're getting from inside the supreme
court means. >> wolf, that is the key point in the details. if they rule the mandate part unconstitution unconstitutional, can it stand as a taxing provision. so we'll get -- the headline from the court tells us one thing, but we need to get deeper into the decision. so until we get access to every piece of the decision it is hard to say the impact. certainly if the court has struck down the individual mandate, they take out the giant, the organizing piece, if you will, of the obama health care law. but how the justices word their decision is critical as to whether any or all of the part of the law stands going forward. >> yeah. as we say, there's some confusion out there, conflicting reports coming from inside the supreme court. let's hold off on drawing any final conclusions on what exactly these -- the nine justices of the u.s. supreme court have decided.
initial suggestion that the individual mandate not valid clause. but perhaps the tax that would be imposed on those who refuse to purchase health insurance, but could get -- we're now getting more information. i just want to update our viewers. the chief justice, john roberts, saying potentially, potentially the individual mandate could be upheld as a tax, but we're getting some conflicting information on what leads up to that. so let's take a deep breath and let's see what the justices actually decide. it could be a little bit more complicated than initially thought. all of this unfolding, if you're watching twitter, you can get some of the confusion as well. because we're getting widely different assessments of what the united states supreme court has decided. so let's wait and see. we have our producer, bill mears, inside. kate baldwin is getting that
information directly from bill mears. this is a momentous occasion. john, what else are you picking up? >> wolf, just waiting for more of the decision. >> hold on, john. kate baldwin is getting more information. kate, what are you learning? >> i've got to tell you, this is a very confusing, very large opinion. but i want to make sure we are very clear on the second read. i'll read you the exact line. chief justice john roberts delivered the opinion of the court with respect to part 3, that is the individual mandate, concluding that the individual mandate may be upheld as within congress' power under the taxing clause. what we are reading here is that the individual mandate may be upheld under a narrow reading of the constitution, not under the commerce clause. we're talking about the taxing clause, wolf. very important distinction here. this is very thick and we're reading through it. it's very legally dense. i'm going back to find out about
the rest of it. >> yeah, because there were conflicting assessments from the obama administration whether in fact this is a tax or not a tax. the penalty that would be imposed on those who have the ability to buy health insurance would be required to buy health insurance. but still decided not to do so, whether or not that would be a tax or not a tax. so you just heard kate say that the chief justice, john roberts, saying that yes, under the tax provisions, under the tax writing provisions of congress, and the president would sign it into law, that this would be allowed. that was not necessarily the argument that was made by the obama administration. they didn't necessarily say it was a tax, they thought it was a commerce clause provision, which is different. john king is joining us right now. excuse me, kate baldwin is getting some more details. what else are you learning, kate? >> we're reading now that the entire law has been upheld, wolf. we are reading through this to see how the count -- how the
vote count went within the justices. it looks like there are a lot of different concurring and pluralities here. but it looks like the entire health care law has been upheld. >> and that explains why the chief justice initially, in one of the lines that we reported, said that the individual mandate might not be appropriate with the commerce clause of the constitution, but he does say it is appropriate, it is being upheld as part of the tax writing ability of the congress to go forward and impose taxes. if in fact that is the justification, then it's a huge, huge victory for president obama, and for the democrats who worked very, very hard to enact the health care reform law. what the critics have often called obama care. but if the chief justice says, and he is the decider obviously, if chief justice john roberts says the affordable care act is in fact constitutional, that the individual mandate is
constitutional, provided in accordance with the tax writing ability of the u.s. congress, then obviously a big, big victory for the obama administration, and president obama himself. some of the confusion, i want to bring in john king, who's outside the supreme court as well, the initial confusion, john, i think was the result of john roberts saying that the individual mandate was not consistent with the commerce clause, which is what the obama administration had argued before the supreme court. so initially, the sense was that maybe the whole thing was going to be thrown out. but now we see that he has come forward and says it is consistent with the tax writing clauses of the constitution, as a result obama care is now likely to be upheld in full, according to this latest information we're getting from inside the supreme court. is that your reading of what we're getting, john? >> wolf, i have the decision in my hand and i'm reading through it as we speak, and that is exactly right.
there are parts where the chief justice writes the majority decision, the roberts court as we call it, there are parts in which you mentioned the commerce clause, where the chief justice writes it is the divided opinion of the court that congress has no authority under that provision, the commerce provision to tell states they must do this. but he goes on to say congress has broad powers to enact taxes and fees and essentially powers to tell the states what they need to do. so in that context, it is upheld. you read through this decision and you have the sense from the justices more conservative, justice thomas and alito and scalia dissenting in this decision. in the end what they are saying, with john roberts, the chief justice, appointed by george w. bush, of course, saying that this law now stands. and that's what will go forward. you're seeing the reaction outside of the court. it's a very complicated decision. the bottom line is by a 5-4
decision, the supreme court says it stands. >> it's a fascinating moment in supreme court history, with the implications, not only politically, but much more importantly for americans out there. enormous, the supreme court ruling that the health care reform law is in fact constitutional. not necessarily based on the commerce clause of the constitution, but on the tax writing provisions, that the constitution gives the u.s. congress and the president of the united states. let's get immediate analysis from john bash. he was a clerk for supreme court justice scalia. he's joining us from pittsburgh right now. it's a little complex, but the bottom line, john, seems to be that obama care, as it's called, is in fact constitutional. >> that's what i'm seeing, too, wolf. >> hold on, john, kate baldwin is getting more information from inside the supreme court. kate, what are you learning? >> wolf, i want to read you a key quote in the majority
opinion. the majority opinion written by and read by the chief justice himself. at the end of the opinion he says, the framers created a federal government of limited powers. and assigned this court of enforcing these limits. the court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the affordable care act. under the constitution that judgment is reserved to the people. he goes on to say the judgment of the court of appeals, the 11th circuit, where this case came from, reversed in part because they have upheld the constitutionality of the health care reform law. wolf? >> just to be precise, the chief justice writing the opinion. he's with the majority saying that obama care, as it's called, is in fact constitutional. that's your understanding kate, is that right? >> that is our understanding, wolf. there has been a lot of confusion early on. this is very dense. as we read early on, they said the individual mandate could not be upheld under one clause, the commerce clause, but could be upheld and seen as constituti
constitutional under the taxing law. quite a bit of confusion on this this morning. >> let's clarify a little bit it. i want to bring back john bash who was a clerk for justice scalia. is this your understanding, john, that the individual mandate may not apply to the commerce clause, which is what the obama administration justified it being used for, but it is applicable, does certainly apply as far as the tax writing provisions of the constitution, and as a result the entire law is consconstitutional? >> yes, that's how i understand the opinion. it looks like that's what the court held. now, it's really interesting, and surprising, because although the parties made the argument about the taxing power, the government justified the law under the taxing power. that was a comparatively small part of both the briefing and the oral argument. so you didn't hear a lot of people in the run-up to this case saying, oh, what might happen is they say it's not okay
under the commerce power but it is okay as a tax. one additional point, this has real implications, not just for this law, which is upheld in full, apparently, but going forward. what it means is congress could not impose criminal penalties for the mandate. the worst they could do is impose a tax assessment for those who do not purchase health insurance. from a legal perspective, it is in some sense a win for those who want a commerce power that is not all encompassing. evidently the court said you could not force people under the commerce power, for example under threat of criminal sanction, to purchase a product, or at least to purchase health insurance. >> your understanding, john, and i believe i'm right when i say this, the obama administration, they may have flipped on this, but they never really argued, at least publicly during the debate leading up to the health care reform law, that this was a tax, the penalty on the mandate. they always said that it wasn't necessarily a new tax. is that your understanding?
>> it is, wolf. you know, one of the early versions of the health care law had a provision that called it a tax. i can't remember if that was in the house or the senate. but that was discarded along the way. and of course, president obama made a pledge that he was not going to raise taxes on middle class americans. but if this is a tax, at least constitutionally speaking, he in a sense has raised taxes on middle class americans, at least those who elect not to purchase health insurance. >> but it will be seen as a tax. certainly the supreme court justices, the majority in this particular decision, view it as a tax. the penalty, if you will. and as a result, they have upheld obama care. kate baldwin is getting more information from inside. what else are you learning, kate? >> wolf, i'm finally able to look here and how the votes broke down on this very important ruling. we see here that the chief justice, john roberts, he himself was the swing vote, because joined in the majority, chief justice john roberts,
justice ginsberg, justice breyer and justice kagan. chief justice joined with the four leaning justices, four on the other side. justice scalia, kennedy, thomas and alito. very, very interesting, wolf. >> justice kennedy was not the decider after all. >> correct. >> he went with the minority. it was the chief justice, justice roberts, the chief justi justice of the united states who was the decider going with the more liberal justices, deciding in this 5-4 historic decision on the constitutionality of obama care as it's called. gloria borger is here. she's been reading through this decision. >> what's so interesting to me, wolf, politically you never heard the obama administration brag about the penalties on the mandate as a tax. because politically, nobody wants to talk about a tax. but when you look at the argument that their attorney made, they, the federal
government argued that the individual mandates, quote, practical operation is as a tax, because the financial penalty for failure to comply with the mandate is administered through the tax code. and that was the argument they made to the court. we're all looking at the commerce clause, of course. but this is about -- this has turned out to be about taxing power. so politically nobody said this was a tax, but legally, this was the argument -- >> that they would be providing the penalties that were required to purchase health insurance who didn't after 2014. and as a result, the irs would have to hire a lot more people to implement this. >> exactly. >> it was seen by the justices as a tax. >> it's going to be administered through the tax code. they say it reasonably relates to the raising of some amount of federal revenue. therefore, it is a tax. >> wolf, don't forget, during the arguments, the justices were
grappling with how do you uphold essentially the guts of the law if you strike down the individual mandate. it wouldn't be surprising that they're saying there's a way to in essence keep the commerce clause as is, striking it down, but still not gut the law. i wouldn't be surprised if roberts recognized the long-term implications of striking down the health care law with so many people already who have preexisting conditions on their insurance. it's interesting how the court sort of molded this decision. >> is it a tax or civil regulatory penalty, which is what the other side argued. the court, justice roberts said -- >> if you're in the white house, you're doing the happy dance. >> the bottom line is that the bottom health care reform law has been upheld, thanks to the chief justice of the united states, john roberts. kate baldwin is outside the supreme court. what else are you picking up, kate?
oh, excuse me, kate's still going through the decision. sanjay gupta, our chief medical correspondent, is joining us. sanjay, this is a huge, huge win for the obama administration, because the law as it currently exists will continue. >> yeah. and i should point out from my sources inside the white house, they're telling me the president will come out and speak within the next couple of hours about this as well, wolf. so we'll be looking out for that. with regard to patients, you know, a lot of this is being implemented by the year 2014. so just quickly, we've been talking about this all along, wolf. but it's worth pointing out some of the things that will now be more assured in 2014. adults and children can no longer be discriminated against because of preexisting conditions, wolf. as a doctor, i hear about this all the time. people simply not being able to purchase health insurance because the costs are prohibitively too high, or it's not offered to them at all.
their insurance companies will say we will not insure these people at any cost. that will go away. obviously the mandate, which we've been talking about, will help offset those costs. i should also point out there are other things, wolf, by the year 2015, for doctors, there's a specific provision about how doctors will be reimbursed based on the value of the patient's care overall as opposed to specific testing, specific medications being dispensed. it's really going to change a lot of things within the whole medical establishment over the next few years. not immediately, but over the next few years. for patients specifically, the ones who have been paying the most attention to this over the last year, people who have chronic illness and just been unable to get health care insurance, that's going to change by the year 2014, for adults, kids, that's already happened, wolf. >> as we're watching all of this, sanjay, a lot of people are nervous how this is going to affect them. i think it's fair to say that right now, what has started to
be implemented, all the provisions of the health care reform law, they will continue to be implemented, fully implemented in 2014. there will be no change unless congress were to go forward and do what the republican presidential candidate, mitt romney, says he would do on day one of his administration, if he were elected. he would introduce legislation to repeal what's called obama care. then all bets would be off, depending on what the house and senate were to do. but as of now, the obama health care reform law will be fully implemented, thanks to this 5-4 decision by the u.s. supreme court. as someone who knows the supreme court and knows this health care reform law very, very well, i was pretty surprised that justice roberts, the chief justice was the decider in this 5-4 decision, not justice anthony kennedy. >> yeah, for very specific reasons as well, with regard to exactly what the mandate meant, how it would be enforced, would
it be considered a tax or penalty. some of this is quite arcane for me, and i'm sure for a lot of people watching. the way i understood it is that by the year 2016, if you could afford to buy health care insurance and you did not, you would be penalized. and so it wasn't -- you wouldn't be criminalized, people wouldn't go to jail over that, but there would be a penalty involved. i haven't read the entire decision yet, how dr. roberts argued this specifically, but it seemed to hinge on that point, was that a tax, a penalty and how did it fit into the constitution, wolf. >> fascinating. just to be precise, 5-4 decision, the chief justice siding with the majority, writing the opinion. the other liberal justices, breyer, ginsberg, kagan,
sotomayor. john king is outside the supreme court. john, you've actually been going through this document, reading the decision. >> it's a fascinating decision. if you read it, wolf, there are always questions, people say can you find in the constitution the heritage, can you connect the dots back to the founding fathers for any decision issued by the supreme court. that's what the chief justice tried to do in his decision. one of the key arguments is can you penalize somebody, tax somebody, make them go out and tell them you must buy insurance even if they don't want to do it. here's what the chief justice says in the decision. the court holds that our constitution protects us from federal regulation under the commerce clause, so long as we abstain from the regulated activity, meaning insurance is regulated. if you don't buy it, under the commerce clause, the government can't force you, or penalize you. then he goes on to say, but from its creation, the constitution has made no such promise with respect to taxes. then he quotes, going back to a letter from benjamin franklin.
in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. so the chief justice, john roberts, saying that. i want to read one more quick piece from the end here. this right here. the affordable care act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax because the constitution permits such a tax. the chief justice not necessarily saying he agrees with the health care law, but has found reason for them under the constitution to allow it to stand. a big victory for the president of the united states. let's go to jessica yellin. >> the president will be speaking in a few hours here from the white house, addressing what is a victory here for the president. and he will no doubt say for the american people, because the president pushed for health care
reform against, at the end, the judgment not just some of the -- some of his critics, but even some of his own advisers, who said they thought it couldn't get done. there was a lot of -- i'll tell you, expectation here, that this very result might come to pass. they believed in the white house that this whole law was constitutional. we have reported that. they were prepared for any outcome. but i've talked to a number of legal scholars who predicted this very result, that the mandate would be deemed itself not legal under the commerce clause, not constitutional, but that the justices would say it could stand as a tax, which is something that might have made more sense to do, but just couldn't pass political muster in congress. they might have pushed for that to begin with, but it just didn't make sense politically. so i don't think this comes as a total surprise for the folks in the building behind me, that's
my guess. no one's told me that. but this will be a real victory for the white house. expect the president to tout other elements of the bill, measures they know and have tested and are popular they believe with voters, which is people under 26 getting health care op their parents' insurance, preexisting conditions standing, et cetera. i can also tell you, though, john, that other outside groups, including a leading conservative group, americans for prosperity, planning to go up with $9 million worth of ads tomorrow in battleground states around the nation, attacking the president's health care bill, and pushing this issue. because they believe this is a time when the nation's maximum attention is placed on this bill, and they want to make as much political hay out of it as possible. they know that this is still a divisive issue. a victory for the president, but still a political fight. >> still a political fight. jessica yellin, we'll stay in touch as we wait to hear from
the president. we'll also wait to hear from his republican challenger, mitt romney. i want to bring in candy crowley. we have this decision now which says the policy stands, the politics will continue. i think it's a great irony. then senator barack obama voted against the confirmation of john roberts to the supreme court. john roberts, the chief justice, writing the majority decision that upholds the decision of president obama in his first term. >> so candy, what happens from here in terms of the political debate? we know governor romney will say you need to elect me to repeal this. what else? >> well, certainly what republicans still have left is their rallying cry, you will likely see the republicans on the house side where they hold the majority, go through this legislation piece by piece, to vote to repeal it. but they're not going to get their folks in the senate to do that. it's, of course, dominated by democrats. so it remains an issue.
it's no longer an issue in the supreme court. at least on any basis that has been taken to it. so it now actually becomes solely a campaign issue. the president now still has his signature piece of legislation. he continues to have to sell it, because as we know from some of the polls, the majority of the people don't like it, whether they think it wasn't enough or too much. they equal about 51% of the population. so it's still a selling job for the president. but it's made much easier by the supreme court decision. because this is clearly a victory for president obama. and he clearly can go out and ride on this. so i would not be surprised if we saw over time a little bit of a boost for how people feel about the health care law. now that it's no longer in the court system. and we're getting a lot of positive coverage today about the many things this health care law has done. so perhaps he could ride this and gather more popular out of this bill.
out of the courts and onto the campaign trail, and to a certain extent on to the house side. >> on to the campaign trail, that's a good way to put it. a law professor joins us from new york. let me put the question to you this way. when the court says under the commerce law, this could not stand. but as a tax, it can. explain to our viewers who might not understand the different issue there within the constitution how the court has, forgive me for using this term, it's not a legal term, split the hairs. >> well, look at it this way. the commerce clause is under article 1 of the constitution. and under that commerce clause, the congress has the power and authority to regulate commerce between the different states. and so in this particular instance, within that same article 1, we have the tax power. and expanded tax powers that's been enacted since the constitution was drafted. so in trying to split the hairs,
as you say, is congress actually regulating business, is congress under this aca, is it regulating how the insurance business is going to be run, or on the other hand, is the fact that the penalty that one must pay if they decide not to get the mandated health care, is that penalty that has to be paid through their tax forms, an actual tax raising revenue for the government. so it is splitting hairs, but there are two different provisions of the constitution that are controlling in this area. >> what did we learn about the chief justice of the united states today? justice kennedy is often viewed as the swing vote. he was a dissenter here. he thinks the law is unconstitutional. it is chief justice, a republican appointee, the current president of the united states voted against his confirmation when he was in the senate, yet it is this republican chief justice who upholds the initiative of the president. what do we learn about the chief
justice roberts court today? >> i believe the chief justice, and the court itself in many ways, is trying to be more conciliatory. i say this because the last few opinions have shown that they have not cut across the board in finding prohibitions. the immigration case, it wasn't totally a prohibition against what arizona was doing, it was a wait-and-see. even with the miller case, involving the 14-year-old who had been sentenced to life without possibility of parole, justice kagan delivered the opinion in that particular case. even then they didn't close the door completely to the states using life without possibility of parole, it allowed mitigating circumstances to intervene. so it wasn't across the board. i think justice roberts, chief justice roberts needs to make sure the other justices understand, they have to understand the conciliatory tone is important not just for the
court but for the american people. we've all seen in the last week or so, that the polls have shown the american people are dissatisfied with the rulings of the u.s. supreme court, and not just conservatives and not just liberals. but this's been a 44% approval rating, one of the lowest approval ratings for the u.s. supreme court in the last 25 years. and many people believe that it is personal, or political motivations that are ruling in the court's decisions and not objective legal analysis. i think the chief justice has to see beyond politics, and even though he is conservative, he has to understand, and i think this opinion shows that he does understand the american people are looking at the court, they know it's their branch of government creating the law of the land and they want to see a more conciliatory court. >> constitutional expert, appreciate the insight. wolf, again, a 5-4 decision, the chief justice of the united states siding with four more liberal members of the united
states court. and at the white house they'll be celebrating today. the policy upheld. as you know, it will remain as a campaign issue. 132 days until the american people decide who their next president will be. >> it's fascinating, john. we just checked. back in 2009, when they were debating the tax provisions of the health care reform law, and you all remember, the president of the united states, president obama gave an interview to abc news, to george stephanopoulos at the time, and repeatedly in that interview, he denied that there was any tax increase in the health care reform legislation. at one point he's saying, you've got to take responsibility to get health insurance. but this is absolutely not a tax increase. at another point he says, my critics say everything is a tax increase. my critics say that i'm taking over every sector of the economy. he denied this was a tax increase. but ironically, john, now we see
from the supreme court, including the chief justice, john roberts, that this is in fact a tax increase. as a result, the obama health care reform law stands completely constitutional at this point. i think you'll agree, john, that's a fascinating twist as we've interpreted it right now. >> that's a great irony. the court saying the law is upheld because it is exactly what the president said it was not, in terms of a tax. wolf, you know that will be the political argument going forward from governor romney and conservatives who oppose this law. they will say it is proof the president is a big taxer, a big spender. but they will make that argument knowing that the chief justice and four of his colleagues by a 5-4 ruling have left the affordable care act intact. a victory for the president on the policy front. we'll watch the political debate as we go forward. >> the political debate will be critical over the next four months, until november. over at the university of illinois chicago hospital right
now, getting reaction. ted, what are folks over there saying? >> well, wolf, of course, this is a bit of a seesaw. at one point it looked like the mandate was shot down. and now it's back up. we watched the decision come down, watching cnn's coverage with dr. sal wiener from the university of illinois, chicago. you say you're very, very pleased. in fact, you're saying, can i show my ex sircitement on camer. why are you so excited? >> i'm excited as a primary care physician. this is a law that has been expanding coverage for people who are uninsured. it's been focusing on the primary care system, with incentives to improve access to primary care, to assure appropriate reimbursement for primary care physicians. and the system in which they work. i'm also pleased as an educator. the fact that the law is going to essentially move forward as planned, means that there will be increased demand for health
care, as pent-up demand continues to -- >> that increased demand could cause increased problems as well. a lot of people think this could be a financial detriment to the country at large. >> yes. i think the law has tried to address that by trying to essentially incentivize quality. to build in provisions, which we'll see more and more of over the next few years, that reward hospitals and doctors for providing cost effective care, for bundling services. >> ted, i need to interrupt right now. the senate majority leader is on the house floor. i want to listen in to hear what he's saying. >> today millions of americans are already seeing the benefits of the law that we've passed. seniors are saving money on their prescriptions and checkups. children can no longer be denied insurance because they have a preexisting condition. protection that will soon extend to every american.
no longer will american families be a heart attack or car accident away from bankruptcy. every thursday, i have a welcome to washington. today they had a group of people from nevada who have, or have relatives who have cystic fibrosis. no longer will americans live in fear of losing their health insurance because they lose a job. no longer will tens of millions of americans rely on emergency room care, or go without care entirely because they have no insurance at all. soon virtually every man, woman and child in america will have access to health insurance they can afford. and the vital care they need. passing the affordable care act was the greatest single step in generations to getting quality
health care for every person in america, regardless of where they live, how much money they make. unfortunately republicans in congress continue to fight the benefits under this law. and would like to give the power back to the insurance companies. but our supreme court has spoken. the matter is settled. no one thinks this law is perfect. presiding officer doesn't, i don't. but democrats have proven we're willing to work with republicans to improve one of the problems that exists in this law. and in fact, any other law. >> there he is, the senate majority leader, harry reid giving his very, very happy reaction to this decision by the united states supreme court. a 5-4 decision authorizing the continuation of the obama health care reform law, saying it is constitutional. some of the initial confusion
may have resulted from this aspect of john roberts, the chief justice of the united states' opinion. let me read it to our viewers. because it explains some of the initial confusion that we had. the affordable care act, john roberts writes, is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. the individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of congress' power under the commerce clause. that clause authorizes congress to regulate inter state commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. in this case, however, and this is key right now, it is reasonable to construe what congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance, such legislation is within congress' power to tax. as a result, the chief justice, and the four others, the majority opinion in this 5-4 decision, they have ruled that the obama health care reform law
is in fact constitutional based on the authority that congress has to impose a tax. not necessarily on the commerce clause, that would have been unconstitutional. john king is watching all of this unfold. so that explains the initial confusion of why there was this sense that maybe the mandate was not constitutional. john roberts saying it wasn't constitutional based on the commerce clause, which is what the obama administration had argued it is constitutional based on the fact that the irs is going to implement penalties, and that is being construed as a tax, totally constitutional from the perspective of the majority opinion in this indication, john. >> and i found it interesting, according to the letter benjamin franklin wrote, about the power to tax under the constitution. chief justice roberts saying, under the commerce clause you can't do this, but yes, under the federal government's right to tax people, you can do this. that was one of the key questions.
that's the question that gets to the core of the individual mandate. that was perhaps the most polarizing political debate. one of the ways the administration wants to expand access to health care, especially for poor people, is through the medicaid program. several states challenged that, saying the federal government had no right to tell them that they must expand the medicaid program. kate baldwin is outside the court right now. the court, kate, decided to leave that in place but it's a carefully nuanced ruling. >> john, sorry, i have a lot of noise here. >> the medicaid question, and what the court decided, the court said that part of the law is upheld, but it also made some very careful guidance to the administration. >> very careful guidance is a good way of putting it. this shows how nuances really are. what we see here as we're reading through the opinion, the expanded medicaid program under the affordable care act, it cannot penalize states, it
cannot pull medicaid funding from states if they are opting out. states were challenging the medicaid program because they were effectively being coerced to have to take part, pay more into the program, pay more of the share of the cost. i'll read you an important section of the majority opinion that they say, while that is not proper, there is an easy remedy. let me read this to you real quick. as to medicaid expansion, that threatens existing medicaid funding. but the chief justice goes down to say, congress may offer states grants and rirp the states to comply. but they must have a genuine choice whether to accept the offer. he goes on to say, just a little bit later, that there is an easy remedy here. the remedy for the constitutional violation is to require the federal government to impose that. the remedy does not require striking down other portions of
the affordable care act. so you can see the nuance here, john, the court basically saying while it may be violating the constitution, they give easy guidance in their view to the federal government in how to remedy that. so it would not be a violation of the constitution. they say very clearly while they have issues with this part, it does not require striking down other portions of the affordable care act. john? >> so the chief justice essentially coming to the defense of the president of the united states, saying under this new medicaid program, if the states take money from the federal government, they have to obey the rules, but they can opt out and not take that money. an important ruling from the supreme court. that's on the medicaid provision. the centerpiece of upholding the individual mandate saying that the federal government, therefore, the congress has the right to tax individuals. christine romans joins us now. christine, what are we talking about when you read this decision and it's upheld on the ability of the congress to say, we can tax you? >> it means that for families
and people who are uninsured, they're going to have to buy insurance. that's the whole point of getting all these massive numbers of people into the insurance system. and that penalty, that tax as the supreme court has found, is something that people will have to start paying by the year 2014. this is what you pay if you're uninsured to get into the system. a minimum penalty of $285 by the year 2014, or about 1% of income. this law caps how much of your income you can pay for this penalty. if you haven't bought insurance by 2015, it goes up to $975 for a family, and for 2016, john, more than $2,000. the idea here is you're going to penalize people, tax them for not getting into the system. on the other end there are subsidies to help them have affordable insurance, especially for people who are lower income and out of the system. that's what this is all about. when you hear them talk about the tax, and how congress can tax people so they have to buy insurance, those are the numbers that you're talking about there, the fines.
many people in the polls said they thought it was an overreach. they didn't want to be fined for not having insurance. but there are subsidies to pay for that insurance, and go on exchanges to buy a silver, bronze or gold standard plan so they can have insurance coverage. so all of these things that have been slowly going in place will continue to go into place, john. but remember, for many americans, they haven't felt any changes yet, even though health care reform isn't the law of the land for two years. >> for those being penalized through the income tax system, is it done in the same way? this is very similar to how the massachusetts plan works. if you don't buy, you get penalized. governor romney might not like this conversation, but access has actually gone up to near universal access in the state of massachusetts because of the controversial, but state of massachusetts would say effective penalties. >> that's up to the irs to figure out how they're going to
collect those taxes. whether it's going to be through the tax code, your tax return or some other way. i'll tell you, there are several different bills that have been introduced, where gop members are trying to not allow the irs to hire the people so they could actually do it. so there are ways legislatively, republicans have tried to make sure this part of it cannot be enacted. that's another interesting twist in it as well, what congress will do, now that the supreme court has ruled. >> you're watching the supreme court, the scene at the supreme court. the court has now spoken. what happens next, just to the congress. there's mitch mcconnell. >> it's turned out to be just as disastrous as many of us predicted. amid economic recession, a spiraling federal debt, and accelerated increases in government health spending, they proposed a bill that made all of those problems worse. americans were promised lower
health care costs. they're going up. americans were promised lower premiums. they are going up. most americans were promised their taxes wouldn't change, and they're going up. seniors were promised medicare would be protected. it was rated to pay for a new entitlement instead. americans were promised it would create jobs. the cbo predicts it will lead to nearly 1 million fewer jobs. americans were promised they could keep their health plans if they liked it, yet millions have learned they can't. and the president of the united states himself promised up and down that this bill was not a tax. this is one of the democrats' top selling points. because they knew it would never have passed if they said it was a tax.
well, the supreme court has spoken. this law is a tax. the bill was sold to the american people on a deception. but it's not just the promises about this law not being kept. it's that it made the problems it was meant to solve even worse. the supposed cure has proven to be worse than the disease. so the pundits will talk a lot today about what they think today's ruling means and what it doesn't mean, but i can assure you this, republicans won't let up whatsoever in our determination to repeal this terrible law and replace it with a kind of reform that will truly address the problems it was meant to solve.
now, look, we pass plenty of terrible laws around here that the court finds constitutional. constitutionality was never an argument to keep this law in place. and it's certainly not one you'll hear from republicans in congress. there's only one way to truly fix obama care, only one way, and that's a full repeal. a full repeal. >> republican leader mitch mcconnell, senator mcconnell speaking on the senate floor. the senate controlled by democrats. republicans still plan to go ahead to try to re peeling the obama health care law. the republican house leadership is scheduled to vote for early july. unless and until there's a big change in the next election, the supreme court decision will stand for the time being. the next election, 132 days away. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. a victory for the president on the policy front. you hear senator mccobble saying
we're going to keep trying to repeal this policy. the economy is issue number one in the election but how does the president in this political team that this fits into the debate ahead. >> john, according to bon administration official, the mood inside the white house is elation. i'm told, you know, they really had no idea how the court would rule. like the rest of us, they really couldn't guess. when they saw it, there was just not simply relief, not simply celebration, but out-and-out elation. i'm told there's some surprise, with all of us, that justice roberts ruled with the majority to effectively uphold the law. but justice kennedy, who's the usual swing vote, did not. and that's something that will no doubt be discussed for days to come. for the white house, it is a big victory, because not only is it a political relief, and they know that the conservatives and the republicans will fight this and try to repeal it, and they
know they'll have a battle to go, but this was also what they dedicated so much of the last three and a half years in office to doing. these folks, they have worked on this day and night. and their blood, sweat and tears went into it. so for many of these people, it's just a sense also of all that work was not for nothing. and then, of course, the political battle is yet to come. i mentioned earlier that one con receiver ti receiver -- conservative group of americans for prosperity, attacking obama care across the key battleground states, john. >> jessica yellin, chief white house correspondent. we'll wait to hear directly from the president. elation jessica said is describing their mood at the white house. one of the political questions, i guess, would be, does this now motivate conservatives to come out in force and help mitt romney. he was the architect of the