The Lookout
  • The U.S. Supreme Court building, where oral arguments begin Monday. (J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

    On Monday, the Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments in one of the most politically charged cases in years. Attorneys representing 26 states, most led by Republican governors, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) will spar with Justice Department lawyers over what President Obama called his proudest achievement--health care reform.

    Challengers will argue that requiring all Americans to buy health insurance is an illegal and unprecedented act of government overreach, while the Justice Department will counter that it's a routine exercise of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. The Supreme Court will most likely hand down its decision in late June, right in the middle of the heated 2012 presidential election.

    Here's our handy guide to the six hours of arguments which will take place over three days.

    Day One: Is it too early for the Supreme Court to decide on the law?

    If you're looking for fireworks between the opposing camps, you may want to come back on Tuesday.

    That's because on Monday, government lawyers and their opponents will start off on the same side. Both will fend off the argument from an outside attorney that the 1867 Anti-Injunction Act--which prohibits individuals from challenging a tax in court before it is enforced--prevents the Supreme Court from deciding on health care reform's legality before 2015.

    The challengers--the NFIB and 26 states--will retort that the health care mandate penalty is not a tax and thus doesn't fall under the Anti-Injunction Act. They also argue that they are not suing over the monetary penalty, but over the mandate itself. The Justice Department uses a more complex legal argument to oppose the Act's application, since it doesn't want to rule out the possibility that the penalty, which will be collected by the IRS, is a kind of tax.

    Read More »from The Supreme Court’s health care reform case–What to expect
  • A man wears a hoodie before the start of a church service in New York, March 25, 2012. (Seth Wenig/AP)

    In their Sunday sermons, pastors and church leaders across the country mourned the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old African-American who was killed in Sanford, Fla., last month. Some wore hoodies in Martin's honor. Many churchgoers did the same.

    In Atlanta, dozens wore hoodies in Martin's memory at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.

    "They said his name was Trayvon Martin," a hoodie-clad Rev. Raphael Warnock said. "But he looked like Emmett Till," a reference to the 1955 case of a 14-year-old boy who was lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman. "At least with Emmett Till, someone was arrested. And that was in 1955."

    Many others called for justice in the case—and for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch captain who shot Martin.

    Rev. Jesse Jackson called Martin a "martyr," and led the congregation at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Fla., in a chant: "Stop the violence. Save the children."

    "Whether you are wearing a hood or a sheet, nobody has the right to kill anybody," Jackson said. "The danger of focusing on the hoodie is that he wasn't killed because of the hoodie. He was killed because he was black. The issue is not the hoodie—it's race, registration and civil rights."

    Read More »from Hoodies in church: In Sunday sermons about Trayvon Martin, calls for justice from the pulpit
  • Geraldo Rivera (Joe Burbank, Pool/AP)

    Fox News host Geraldo Rivera sparked outrageincluding from his own son, apparentlyby suggesting on Friday that Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen shot dead last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer, courted violence by wearing a hoodie. That piece of clothing killed Martin, according to Rivera "as surely as George Zimmerman."

    "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was," Rivera said on Fox and Friends. "You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta—you're going to be a gangsta wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace. That's what happens. It is an instant, reflexive action."

    After co-host Steve Doocy noted that New Yorkers on Wednesday had held a "Million Hoodie March" in support of Martin, 17, Rivera added: "You cannot rehabilitate the hoodie."

    Rivera continued: "There are some things that are almost inevitable. I'm not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or

    Read More »from Geraldo Rivera finds real culprit in Trayvon Martin slaying: The hoodie


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