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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Mitt Romney on a roll after Marco Rubio endorsement – US politics live” was written by Jim Newell, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 29th March 2012 17.12 UTC

Okay, fine, another Scotus take. Here’s Yale constitutional law professor Jack Balkin laying out not just one “limiting principle that justifies the individual mandate but doesn’t give Congress unlimited power under the Commerce Clause,” but three.

1.02pm: Ann Romney will celebrate her birthday at Donald Trump’s apartment in New York City. Here’s the invitation! Attendance only costs $1,000 per person.

12.46pm: Meanwhile, in our beloved national legislature, the House has passed a temporary, 90-day highway and transportation reauthorization bill. It’s now kicked to the Senate, which had already passed a bipartisan two-year reauthorization but now needs to make a decision before funding lapses this weekend.

The New York Times this morning looked at how House obstructionism of funding bills like these, which are critical to contractors and the like, are irritating the same business interests that put House Republicans in power in the 2010 elections:

Big business groups like the Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars in 2010 to elect Republican candidates running for the House. The return on investment has not always met expectations.

Even though money for major road and bridge projects is set to run out this weekend, House Republican leaders have struggled all week to round up the votes from recalcitrant conservatives simply to extend it for 90 or even 60 days. A longer-term transportation bill that contractors and the chamber say is vital to the recovery of the construction industry appears hopelessly stalled over costs.

12.20pm: Remember back when Newt Gingrich was touting his plan to fire unionized public school janitors and have poor children clean their own toilets, to learn the value of a buck? Because this former child janitor whom Gingrich encountered at Georgetown University yesterday remembers:

The young man, Hector Cendejas, said that he had worked as a janitor at his own high school and had been offended by Gingrich’s comment.

“For me, it was embarrassing to be a janitor at my own high school. … I was poor. My mom was working super hard. I did not feel empowered by serving my classmates,” Cendejas said. “Why not invest on these kids to work for a law firm?”

He added: “Thank God I had Georgetown to save my butt, you know? … All my friends, they’re pregnant, they’re in gangs, in jail, and we did the same job, working as janitors. So for me, your remark was a little offensive to me.”

Gingrich sparred with the young man, countering that his daughters worked as janitors and had found the job a fruitful one.

“But they come from a wealthy family,” the young man said, to some boos from the crowd.

“I wasn’t wealthy,” Gingrich responded, to applause. “I wasn’t wealthy. You know, I just disagree.”

12.16pm: Rick Santorum will be giving a Major Foreign Policy Address this afternoon at… the headquarters of a jelly bean candy company. Because Ronald Reagan famously enjoyed jelly beans. No, seriously, that’s the reason.

12.11pm: And here is Mitt Romney making fun of the size of Senator John Kerry’s home in 2004.


12.03pm: Now that we’ve all had a good night’s sleep after three days of high Supreme Court drama, let’s round up a few more reactions about this week’s health care case.

The Washington Post’s EJ Dionne shreds the conservative justices one by one and reminds liberals of the futility in drifting rightward to accommodate supposed conservative policymaking principles:

Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed, single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own proposal.

Rajav Narayan,
a health care policy fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, tries to read the mind of omnipotent swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy:

However, Justice Kennedy seemed not to be looking for a reason to strike down the law because the federal government would bear blame. Instead, Justice Kennedy seemed more concerned to find a “clear line of accountability so the citizen knows it’s the federal or the state government should be held responsible for the program.” This decision could turn on what Justice Kennedy finds to be proper in his view of federalism.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board, members of which probably all were watching the hearings with big foam hands reading “END SOCIALISM NOW,” tries to explain the fascinating concept that “overturning the whole law would be an act of judicial restraint”:

Mr. Verrilli came closest to a limiting principle—and got some sympathy from Justice Kennedy – when he claimed that everyone will use health care at some point in their lives, so what’s the big deal with making young people pay more earlier?

Even if this were true, it is a deeply radical claim. The government is mandating that everyone buy health insurance specifically, but by this reasoning any economic or personal decisions that touch on health care could be used as a pretext for federal police powers. People who lead healthy lives consume fewer medical services than others, so the government could mandate exercise, a healthy diet, and more.

This is power without limit, which is not what the Constitution provides, or what its framers intended, or what the Supreme Court has ever tolerated. That is why this week’s arguments have been so careful, why they have revised the establishment’s thinking, and why they are so important for the future of American liberty.

And Steve Kornacki at Salon reminds us all that reading the tea leaves might be fun, but it’s impossible to reach any conclusions until the decision is, you know, made.

Audio recordings are now available, so you can judge for yourself whether today really was a “train wreck” for the law. Keep in mind that it’s also possible that all of the justices made up their minds long before today’s arguments, meaning that Verrilli – if he really performed as terribly as firsthand observers are saying – might not have actually blown the case, no matter how badly he did.

The court isn’t expected to rule for months, maybe not until late June. It’s entirely possible that the mandate will be thrown out, but it’s all still guesswork until then.

For more analysis, we highly recommend a trip to SCOTUSblog, which received more traffic in the past three days than it did over the four previous years combined.

11.34am: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is defending Representative Bobby Rush, who was kicked off of the House floor yesterday for wearing a hoodie in honor of slain Trayvon Martin. This violated the very crucial rule against wearing “hats” on the House floor.

10.52am: Senator Marco Rubio tells the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis that the event that sparked his endorsement of Mitt Romney was President Obama’s “hot mic gaffe” with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev this week. The guy can barely sleep, just thinking about how Obama is in cahoots with the Russians:

“It’s been weighing on my mind all week,” he said. “I’ve never thought about this as a political calculation,” Rubio said of his endorsement. “I’m just sitting back here and watching a president that just got back from overseas — where he told the Russian president to work with him and give him space so he can be more flexible if he gets re-elected.”

10.38am: Rick Santorum is using the last days of his campaign to teach youths important life lessons: friends don’t let friends use pink balls.



10.27am: Here, via Jewish Journal, is an interesting interview with Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate worth $21 billion who’s donated tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC and almost exclusively extended his presidential run months beyond its natural expiration date. He shares his reasons for supporting Gingrich over the others – Newt’s a bold decision maker (Newt must love hearing this) while Santorum is “too social” and Mitt Romney never answers any of his questions.

But Adelson does finally acknowledge the obvious: “Newt’s at the end of his line.”


10.00am: Welcome to another day of political liveblogging! This is Jim Newell from Washington, bringing you today’s latest, less Supreme Court-centric news. Mitt Romney, fresh off of last night’s big endorsement from senator and assumed vice presidential nominee Marco Rubio, will wrap up another in-person endorsement today from former President George HW Bush. The end of the line is here, and ranks are closing. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum is talking about how good he is at sports.

Here’s Ryan Devereaux’s summary of where we are right now.

Florida senator Marco Rubio has endorsed Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney is his bid to be the GOP’s presidential candidate. Viewed as a rising star with future presidential potential himself, Rubio’s endorsement was one of the most sought-after in the Republican party. “I am endorsing Mitt Romney and the reason why is not only is he going to be the Republican nominee but he offers at this point such a stark contrast to the president’s record,” Rubio said on Fox Wednesday night.

Texas congressman Ron Paul has weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case. Speaking to a crowd in College Park, Maryland, Paul said, “I think it deserves attention, I have questions in my mind, but I haven’t heard all the answers that are probably there.” Paul added, “I have to say, personally, I have my concerns about it, it doesn’t look like its going to be a slam dunk for anybody I guess.”

Rick Santorum revealed his opposition to pink bowling balls on Wednesday. During an appearance at a Wisconsin bowling alley the former senator heroically intervened when a male member of a group of college Republicans nearly made the life altering mistake of rolling a neon pink bowling ball down the lane. “Friends don’t let friends use pink balls,” Santorum declared.

Shockingly, Mitt Romney is getting flak for a comment he made that suggests he is an out of touch rich guy. In an interview with Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel, Romney relayed the “humorous” story of the time his father closed a Michigan auto factory and as a result upset people (Ha!). Romney described to the paper how back when his father, George Romney, was president of American Motors he shut down a factory in Michigan and moved it to Wisconsin. “Later he decided to run for governor of Michigan, and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign,” Romney explained. When Romney’s dad would participate in parades, the marching band apparently only knew how to play the Wisconsin fight song. Being the living embodiment of empathy that he is, Romney laughed and pointed out, “my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin.” How silly!

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