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On the same day that a national survey showed a majority of Americans and independent voters now back the idea of an individual mandate to purchase health insurance, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to the Obama administration’s request for expedited review of the Affordable Care Act, his signature health care law that faces a litany of challenges from Republican attorneys general and conservative groups, setting up a showdown that will likely determine the reform’s fate between March and June of next year.

Fresh off a conservative U.S. appeals court led by a Ronald Reagan appointee deciding that the legislation’s requirement for essentially all Americans to purchase health insurance is a legitimate exercise of congressional power, the nine-member high court has effectively decided to wade into the 2012 presidential campaign.

CNN released a poll showing a majority of Americans — and independent voters — now support the idea of requiring people to purchase health insurance, perhaps (ironically) because Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has been plugging it at the state level in nationally-televised debates and interviews.

With Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife actively participating in the Tea Party, and Justice Elena Kagan having served as Obama’s solicitor general in 2009 and 2010, the potential for one or more justices to recuse themselves makes the case that much more interesting.

What’s more, the timing could not have been worse for Justices Antonin Scalia and Thomas, who spoke just the other day at a conservative legal event funded in part by one of the firms hoping to wipe out the new law.

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Sixteen states vying for the early slots in 2024’s presidential primary calendar pitched their case to the Democratic National Committee onWednesday and Thursday, touting their history, diversity, economies, and electoral competitiveness in the general election.

State party officials, a governor, lt. governors, an attorney general, members of Congress, senior staff and party strategists touted their electorates, industries, heritage, and features that would propel presidential candidates and draw national scrutiny, which pleased the officials on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC). But the panel’s leaders also probed whether Republicans in otherwise promising states would seek to impede a revised Democratic primary calendar.

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Supreme Court

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When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was confronted over his support for the bipartisan bill addressing elements of gun violence, he defended his Second Amendment record, telling reporters: “I spent my career supporting, defending and expanding” gun rights, and stressing that he had “spent years” confirming conservative judges. McConnell made that statement in full confidence that the Supreme Court he packed with three illegitimate justices would do precisely what it did: ensure that sensible gun regulations anywhere would be eliminated.

The court decided the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen case Thursday in 6-3 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, striking down that state’s 108-year-old provision requiring anyone who wants to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” before being granted a permit. The Court’s extremists, Thomas writes, find that New York's strict limits on the concealed carry of firearms in public violates the Second Amendment. It essentially throws out the previous restrictions the Court upheld in its last big gun control case, the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller.

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