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June 27, 2017

6-27-2017 Supreme Court Review….(Washington Post)

By Amber Phillips

Monday was a big day for the Supreme Court, which makes sense because it was also the court’s last day for the 2016-2017 term. A full court for the first time in a year (President Trump’s nominee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, joined the court in April) made some big decisions about the president’s power, about church vs. state and about gay rights.

Let’s review:

1) Can the president ban travelers from countries that are majority one religion? Actually, we don’t know yet. The Supreme Court kinda reinstated Trump’s travel ban, which has been blocked by lower courts for most of this year. For the next 90 days, the Trump administration can stop issuing new visas for travelers from six majority-Muslim countries who don’t have “bona fide” connections to the United States. Refugees will be banned for 120 days.

But don’t call this a victory for Trump, says The Fix’s Aaron Blake. The justices won’t decide until next year whether the ban is constitutional. Also, if Trump had his way, his ban would have already expired because no court would have blocked it.

(Kim Soffen / The Washington Post)

2) Can you refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple? We don’t have an answer to this either. We’ll find out next year when the court takes up a case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because his religion opposes same-sex marriage. Lower courts typically have ruled against the bakers/florists/etc. who refuse to serve gay people.

The catch? Those courts only have standing in the 20 or so states that have nondiscrimination laws protecting gay and transgender people from discrimination in public businesses. In nearly 30 states, it’s totally legal to refuse service to a gay or transgender person for any reason, and a Supreme Court ruling in this wedding cake case won’t change that.

3) Just how thick should the line be between church and state? When it comes to applying for a state grant to resurface a playground, there doesn’t need to be a line, the court ruled.

The court’s conservatives and two liberals agreed in a 7-2 vote that it’s okay to give public money to a Missouri church if the money goes to something secular, like a playground. That could change the church vs. state landscape in America, given about three dozen other states have laws like Missouri’s banning public money going to a church in any form, says Washington Post’s Robert Barnes.

(Kim Soffen / The Washington Post)

If Republicans’ attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act were a chicken crossing the road, it would be, like, halfway across. And Monday is a big day for Republicans’ chicken health-care bill to get to the other side.

Congress’s nonpartisan budget crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office released their estimate on the financial and real-life effect of the Senate proposal, and it had some brutal numbers for Republicans.

Here are three top line numbers:

22 million: That’s how many fewer people would be insured under Senate Republicans’ health-care plan over the next decade than would be insured by Obamacare. By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be without insurance; almost twice as much as under Obamacare.

280 percent: That’s the CBO’s estimate of how much insurance premiums would rise for elderly, low-income people over the next decade.

$321 billion: That’s how much Senate Republicans’ bill will reduce the deficit over the next decade. This is a major selling point for conservative Republicans, who can say they’re getting government out of health care and saving money while doing it. But they’ll do it by cutting Medicaid up to $772 billion.

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