90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Historic Health Care Case At The Supreme Court

We size up three days of historic Supreme Court hearings on the U.S. Constitution and health care.

This artist rendering shows Paul Clement speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Justices, seated from left are, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Samuel Alito and Elana Kagan. (AP)

This artist rendering shows Paul Clement speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Justices, seated from left are, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Samuel Alito and Elana Kagan. (AP)

And so the high court came to the bottom line yesterday in health care reform’s legal debate: Does the federal government have the Constitutional authority to do what Congress voted for in the Obama health care reform?

And the instant analysis on the courthouse steps? No. That in tone and skepticism and body language, the court’s conservative majority was suggesting no. That reading was a long way from a final answer. But it’s all up in the air now.

This hour, On Point: broccoli, cell phones, and health insurance. The Supreme Court at the heart of the health care debate.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Kurt Lash, professor of law and director of the program on Constitutional theory, history and law at the University of Illinois. He’s the author of The Lost History of the Ninth Amendment.

Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at the George Washington University. He’s the author of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America.

David Cutler, professor of applied economics at Harvard University, one of the architects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being debated this week in the Supreme Court

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “With the fate of President Obama’s health care law hanging in the balance at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a lawyer for the administration faced a barrage of skeptical questions from four of the court’s more conservative justices.”

Wall Street Journal “The Supreme Court’s five conservative justices on Tuesday sharply challenged the Obama administration’s arguments for the health-care law, with Justice Anthony Kennedy saying the government has a “very heavy burden of justification” for the measure’s requirement that people carry health insurance or pay a penalty.”

The New Yorker “Across the ideological spectrum, the Justices, through their questions to the lawyers arguing for and against the upholding the A.C.A., declined the invitation for delay. They all (that is, the eight who asked questions; Clarence Thomas did not) seemed to recognize that there were legal and prudential reasons to resolve this issue now.”

Transcript: Oral Arguments Day Two

Here’s the transcript of the second day of Supreme Court oral arguments in the case over the health care reform legislation. You can hear an audio recording of the case here.

[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 29, 2014
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

 
Oct 29, 2014
In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states. We’ll hear from both sides.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments