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Supreme Court Upholds Obama Healthcare Plan. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired June 25, 2015 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:29:38] MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. We can only imagine, Wolf, especially given the build up to this over the last couple of weeks. I mean President Obama almost putting out this force publicly as if they were trying to lobby the Supreme Court. The White House denied that they were doing that, but interview after interview, there was even one in which one of the anchors that was interviewing President Obama thanked him for saving his life.
I mean there was so much put out there leading up to this decision, but right now we are hearing silence from the White House. And the reason for that is because we strongly believe we will hear from President Obama himself today making some kind of statement in some form appearing before the public to celebrate this win.
And when you look at the decision, not just the wording of the decision itself, talking about the text being ambiguous, but you have to look at the broader structure of the law, and in Justice Roberts' majority opinion, saying that Congress created this law to improve the insurance market, not to destroy it, I mean these are almost word for word statements of what the White House has been saying repeatedly over the last few weeks leading up to this.
And when you look at President Obama's statements as well as from the press secretary the last few weeks saying that this should be an easy case, that it shouldn't have even come up at all. That they fully expect the justices to rule as scholars expect them to, that this was a twisted interpretation of four words, "established by the states". I mean, it was almost as if the White House was challenging the Supreme Court to rule otherwise, making some people think, well, you know, this is going to go the opposite way. What is the White House going to say at that?
They sort of pre-empted that by putting this firmly in the hands of Congress. The President saying repeatedly that this would be an easy fix for Congress to just change those four words. Now we see that's not necessary, that the justices have ruled as the White House boldly predicted they would rule.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes. They not only predicted it, Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, repeatedly said there was no Plan B as far as the White House -- Obama administration was concerned. They simply assumed the continuation of Obamacare would go forward and they weren't going to start worrying about what would happen if the Supreme Court ruled the other way in this particular case. They were right.
The Supreme Court just to point out, ruling 6-3 in favor of the continuation of Obamacare without any changes imposed.
Michelle, I want to have you stand by. I believe you're right, we will be hearing, I assume, from the President of the United States. He'll be speaking out on this I'm sure sooner rather than later.
Of course, we'll have live coverage of that. Gloria Borger, John King with me. Gloria -- this is a huge win for the President of the United States. He had no Plan B. If it would have gone the other way, it would have been a disaster for Obamacare, for his legacy. In this particular case, he wins.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: A couple things about his legacy -- Wolf. First of all, you have trade legislation being approved -- huge win for the President. You have this reaffirmation of Obamacare, a key component in it, the health care subsidies -- huge for his legacy. You know, we've been talking about this for a long time, about how the President's legacy may not really be determined by John Boehner but is in fact being determined by John Roberts. And I think you saw the John Roberts part of this today.
I mean it was not -- it doesn't say to you that John Roberts loves health care reform. What it says to you is they understood that Congress' intent was not to throw the health care system into chaos, but rather to provide these subsidies. And, you know, there's a statement here that says that "the combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a state's individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant to do that."
So they're just interpreting what Congress meant, but that is what the President has been saying. That's what the President said. This is a huge legacy day for Barack Obama.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This may well be the best week of his second term --
KING: -- in the sense that back from the ashes he had lost that trade vote then they have a big comeback with the help of Republicans, we should make note. With the help of Republicans the President gets his trade legacy piece of the agenda. And now this decision which puts -- the cement is about dry to reaffirm what Senator Daschel was saying. Yes, there's another legal challenge but the cement is about dry on the legal challenges to Obamacare. Even the Republican National Committee chairman, Wolf, just issuing a statement saying "It is now clear in the wake of this ruling that the only way to repeal Obamacare is through the next presidential election.
And in that context it relieves some pressure on the Republican in the short term because as Dana noted they Republicans would have had to have come up with something so that these people didn't lose their subsidies like that. That politically would have been a disaster for Republicans. So they did have a plan to step in. This pressure is relieved on them now.
But this will now become a litmus test in 2016, not just in the Presidential race but in candidates running around the country too. And that becomes very challenging for the Republicans.
One other footnote -- this may sound a little off the wall -- this will become a problem for Jeb Bush. Because conservative Republican activists say "Your dad gave us David Souter, your brother gave us John Roberts."
Mike Huckabee also saying -- already saying this is an act of judicial tyranny. So not just Obamacare but Supreme Court picks are going to become an issue now when you go to conservative Iowa and that becomes interesting for a guy named Bush.
[10:35:09] BORGER: And let's see what happens on gay marriage.
BORGER: I mean that's -- you know that's --
BLITZER: That could come as early as tomorrow.
BORGER: -- that's another domino yet to fall.
BORGER: We'll have to see how Justice Roberts --
BLITZER: That's another issue the Supreme Court has to make a major decision on tomorrow on same-sex marriage. And we could get that decision as early as tomorrow morning as well.
Jeff Zeleny is covering the race for the White House, the Hillary Clinton campaign. How is this going to impact her effort to, A, get the Democratic presidential nomination and, B, get elected president of the United States -- Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there's no question -- a victory for President Obama on something like this is a victory for Secretary Clinton. No question about that.
She is going to make sure that this is at the front and center of her campaign throughout the Democratic primary fight but also in the general election should she become the nominee. She is going to say that she is here to protect this legacy, this law. So this is a very good decision for Secretary Clinton -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Six justices voted to continue Obamacare as-is. The Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan. Three justices voted against this decision -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.
Let's go back to Jake Tapper. He's up there right near the United States Supreme Court -- Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Thanks -- Wolf I was just talking to Jonathan Turley about the blistering dissent being given by Justice Anton Scalia in which he says we should start calling this law SCOTUS Care instead of Obamacare, SCOTUS standing for Supreme Court of the United States.
I want to bring in right now the former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius who joins us from the phone. This case used to be King v Sebelius. Now it's King v Burwell because, of course, Miss Burwell replaced Kathleen Sebelius at HHS.
Kathleen Sebelius joining us now on the phone. What's your initial reaction? You must be excited.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER HHS SECRETARY (via telephone): Well, good morning, Jake. I think it's a very positive decision for the 6.5 million people around the country who now have affordable health care based on the framework of the law that provides tax subsidies. And I think it gives them really an opportunity to make sure that the law continues to grow not only having more people with affordable care but the kind of real improvements in care that are going on -- lowest health inflation in 50 years, the biggest drop in the uninsured rate ever seen in this country, and now we can continue to make sure that people who have coverage can get the kind of care that they need and deserve.
So it's a very positive step forward. I'm pleased that the majority of the court and a strong majority actually felt that the law was written the way it was providing subsidies for everyone who qualified based on income, not based on who set up the marketplace.
TAPPER: There is, of course, still another pending Supreme Court case when it comes to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Professor Jonathan Turley who's right next to me, is the counsel for Speaker Boehner in the case, House of Representatives versus Burwell. Professor Turley, if you could, just briefly describe what that case is about.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, actually that case is really not about what we do in health care but who makes these decisions. In the House of Representatives' case, the entire body of the House of Representatives challenged an action by President Obama who committed about $170 billion over ten years without the approval of Congress. And this was after the administration came to Congress and asked for funding and was rebuffed.
So it deals with the power of the purse. It's a more central issue involving the separation of powers. It's different from what occurred today.
TAPPER: And Secretary Sebelius is that a case that you're concerned about at all?
SEBELIUS: Well, I think that I don't profess to be a lawyer, constitutional lawyer. I think this is a case that involves more than just health care. I again feel that decisions were made appropriately, but the court will be left to decide.
I don't think that case has nearly the kind of calamitous impact that a ruling in favor of King would have had given the immediate loss of coverage for millions of people and then spiraling downward of private insurance markets.
[10:39:48] So that case will go forward but I think the last sort of framework challenge to the Affordable Care Act has just been decided by a Supreme majority and the framework of tax subsidies plus personal responsibility plus no pre-existing conditions ever again by insurance companies really stands as the framework of providing affordable care to millions of Americans.
TAPPER: If you're just joining us, the U.S. Supreme Court in a very strong 6-3 decision upheld the Obama administration's position on Obamacare when it came to a court case on whether or not 6.4 million Americans who have state exchange insurance should get subsidies from the federal government.
Jeffrey Toobin, I believe you wanted to ask Secretary Sebelius, the former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services a question.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what I wanted to do frankly was respond to my friend Jon Turley's comment about his own lawsuit which is not really in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has not agreed to hear it, and, frankly, I think that case is a long shot at best. The Supreme Court doesn't get into fights between Congress and the executive branch.
So I think it is important to emphasize that the serious legal challenges to Obamacare are over now. And the President's position has won. The political battle continues, as it should. Many Republican candidates will run for president saying they want to overturn Obamacare, and they have every right to do that if they win an election. But they are not going to be able to do it through the courts anymore. That's the significance of today's ruling.
TAPPER: I'll let Jonathan Turley respond quickly and then I want to bring back Secretary Sebelius.
TURLEY: Yes. I didn't say it was in front of the Supreme Court. I don't know what Jeff knows about the outcoming decision that hasn't come out yet. We're waiting for an opinion from the Court on a threshold challenge by the administration. But at issue is the provision that deals with the funding that goes to insurance companies. So it's a very significant challenge, but only the judge knows how that will come out.
TAPPER: Right. And that is possibly I should have said the word "possibly" perhaps when I was talking about that case.
Secretary Sebelius, back to you if I could. Now that you have some distance from the Obama administration, now that you're no longer a member of it and you hear about Obamacare from real people affected by it, both the positive and the negative, are there any things that you think need to be done to the law to improve it?
SEBELIUS: Well, Jake, it's a very significant new law, and I think that there are going to be lots of things as it goes forward that need to be looked at and improved, tweaks around, you know, various kinds of technical requirements. I think what would be really spectacular is if the Congress turns its attention to how to improve the law, how to make sure it works well.
I'm about to go and join people in Aspen, Colorado for the Spotlight health meeting that is part of the Ideas Fest later today. And the former HHS secretaries will all be there because we're in part celebrating 50 years of the Medicare and Medicaid laws and the improvements they've made to the lives of Americans.
I hope that 50 years from now we look at Obamacare in the same way and have the opportunity to say it doesn't look anything like it did when it was passed in 2010. It's improved and changed along the way, but it's made a huge difference in not only affordable coverage but more importantly this (INAUDIBLE) that's unravelling right now, which is how to deliver better care at lower costs and that's very exciting, delivery system reform, that's very much under way.
TAPPER: All right. Former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. Congratulations I suppose are in order on the big victory that was handed to the Obama --
SEBELIUS: Well, congratulations to consumers across the country and providers. The law will stand and that's very good news.
TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much.
Just to reiterate if you're just joining us. The U.S. Supreme Court handing President Obama and his administration a huge victory, upholding their interpretation of the statute when it comes to Obamacare; 6.4 million Americans will not have their subsidies revoked.
Just to read a brief note from the opinion, quote, "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Roberts wrote. "If at all possible we must interpret the act in a way that's consistent with the former and avoids the latter."
We're just being told that President Obama will come out and discuss this issue, his big victory in the Supreme Court at 11:30 I believe in the Rose Garden. We will bring that to you live, of course.
Right now I want to go to Pamela Brown who is at the U.S. Supreme Court -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see behind me Jake, there is a huge crowd. Many people celebrating today's ruling. Interesting to note that once again Chief Justice Roberts took the lead in saving this law. Justice Kennedy joined him this time around, but not only did he take the lead with this, but he didn't leave a door open for a different interpretation of the law under perhaps a Republican administration.
[10:45:11] He could have done that had the justices deferred to the IRS interpretation of it, but that didn't happen today, and I think that says something, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH WYDRA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. You know, the court could have left open the door if it had just simply deferred to the agency for Republican president for example in the next administration to change a tax credit rule, but it didn't. It issued an extremely broad ruling. That is a huge win for the Obama administration.
The court could have ruled more narrowly, but it didn't because the tax credits are so important to the interlocking reforms of the Affordable Care Act. They involve billions of dollars in spending and affect the health care and, frankly, the lives of millions of American people.
BROWN: And (INAUDIBLE) we should mention that Elizabeth you filed a brief on behalf of the government in this case. You're a CNN legal analyst but even though Chief Justice Roberts essentially again took the lead in saving this bill, it doesn't necessarily mean he likes the bill but what I think he could see is that if you take those subsidies away from those millions of Americans in states with federally run exchanges, that could create chaos.
WYDRA: Absolutely. He noted that the economies of the states could be thrown into a death spiral and that it could cause enormous chaos throughout the country.
BROWN: Right. And he's looking again in this ruling he looks at the law as a whole and says it is clear, if you look at the law as a whole that these Americans and these 34 states with federally run exchanges can keep their subsidies.
Jake Tapper -- back to you.
TAPPER: Pamela Brown, thank you so much.
We're just getting more of the Scalia dissent which is the losing side in the 6-3 decision where the Justice Scalia wrote, "The court has no free floating power to rescue Congress from its drafting errors." It's drafting errors. We'll talk more about that in a second.
Right now I want to go to Brian Todd who is in the thick of the protests -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake some very excited protesters out here in favor of upholding these tax credits. They're chanting "ACA is here to stay", they're chanting "still covered".
I'm over here with the leader of the protests. His name is Benton Strong with the Center for American Progress. Benton, first of all, your reaction to the decision. BENTON STRONG, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think this is a
really important day for health care in America. A great day for health care in America. We get to see at least 6 million people maintain their access to affordable health care. The court upheld it again for a second time.
It's frustrating that even to this point -- they took this case in the first place. But hopefully this is the end of this five-year effort by the Republicans to try to repeal it, undermine this law. And we can go forward with it and some more people get covered.
TODD: We just heard it may not be the end. A prominent Republican senator Marco Rubio, presidential candidate, has vowed to repeal Obamacare.
TODD: What's your reaction to that and how strongly are you prepared to carry on this fight?
STRONG: Well, I think the first thing that that tells us is the Republicans never had a plan to fix it -- right. That if it had gone the wrong way, then the Republicans in congress and the Presidential candidates not just Rubio, we saw Scott Walker with an op-ed yesterday saying don't bail out the government. Like what we know is that this is an important ruling because the Republicans didn't have a plan to make sure people could keep access to affordable health care.
Look, if they want to make another challenge, then I think people will continue to fight for that. We're seeing the benefits of the law. It's working. 16 point something million people have access to health care who didn't before and there's a reality here that maybe it's time to stop with this fight.
TODD: All right. Benton, congratulations and thanks for talking to us.
Jake, we'll just set the scene further for you over here. Very excited protesters. I count them as maybe two dozen -- maybe 30 people. If there were anybody here against upholding the tax credits, we didn't see them. These folks vastly outnumber them but the people who are actually outnumbering these protesters are protesters over here who are in favor of upholding the constitutionality of gay marriage.
They did not get the ruling they were looking for today. Maybe that comes tomorrow -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Brian Todd in the thick of the protests.
Obviously the U.S. Supreme Court remaining one of the more opaque institutions of government. Not allowing television cameras, not allowing recording equipment. That's why we rely on firsthand accounts from reporters who are there.
I'm going to go back to Pamela Brown who is with Stephen Collinson from CNN who was there as the decision came down -- Pamela.
BROWN: And Stephen, you were in there when not only Chief Justice Roberts read out loud his opinion but also the fiery dissent from Justice Scalia. Tell me what he said and what it was like sitting in that courtroom.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORT: That part was very interesting. You know, whenever you're in the courtroom there's a moment of tension when you realize the judgment is coming and the judges know but nobody else knows.
John Roberts, the chief justice, said very calmly, I will have the opinion in King versus Burwell. Everyone in the court sat up, this is it.
BROWN: Once again the second time he's taking the lead.
COLLINSON: That's right. The second time. He proceeded to go through his opinion. It wasn't until about two-thirds of the way through that we realized that he was going to affirm this judgment. And, you know, you could tell the political context of this because he made several comments which sounded like he was trying to protect himself against the argument that once again he'd saved Obamacare.
He talked about how the law was inartfully drafted and the way that Congress passed it through reconciliation, not through normal manner.
[10:50:05] You could tell the political stakes and then as soon as it finished, he said Justice Scalia has a dissent and Justice Scalia said "indeed". The whole court starts laughing. And he starts into this evisceration of the John Roberts' opinion in this case sitting right next to John Roberts who has kind of watched it stony faced the whole way through and it wasn't until he got to the end and Scalia said we should call this case -- we should call Obamacare SCOTUS-care that everyone kind of relaxed a little bit and smiled and even the chief justice had a little chuckle.
BROWN: Is that right?
BRWON: Tell us what the energy was like sitting in that courtroom, especially when Scalia was reading his dissent sitting right next to Chief Justice Roberts.
COLLINSON: It was incredible. He's a very eloquent dissenter, Antonin Scalia. Many occasions he's had a dissent which is full of rich vocabulary and everything else. And he was making the point very viscerally that the court had rewritten a law of congress and it wasn't the court's job to do so.
He said this is a major moment in American history. He said it will set astounding precedents and it will kind of echo through the years and confuse lawyers for years to come. So it was a fascinating clash between the top two justices on the court about the actual purpose of the court.
BROWN: And what's interesting, I was in the courtroom during the oral arguments for this case, and Chief Justice Roberts barely said a word during the oral arguments. Justice Scalia made his opinion more well known. In some ways it's not a surprise that he dissented in the way that he did, but reading it out loud and using this strongly worded language is interesting to note. And the fact that Chief Justice Roberts who again didn't say much during the oral arguments came in and took the lead, authored this opinion.
What was that like not only when he said I am reading my opinion out loud but when he was starting to read and you didn't know what conclusion they had reached.
COLLINSON: Right. Everyone was sitting there trying to think, ok, what is he going to say? It became clear some way in that he was going to affirm this judgment. It was very interesting. But, you know, I think it was a case of the Chief Justice taking hold of his own Supreme Court, the two most -- perhaps the two most controversial decisions at least politically of this court and saying I am going to take responsibility for this.
Some people thought he might, you know, give the opinion to Justice Anthony Kennedy, but it was a clear case of the Chief Justice taking control of his own Supreme Court.
BROWN: And the fact that Justice Kennedy, the conservative justice, sided with him this go around is also interesting to note. Again, Chief Justice Roberts saying, you know, Congress is voted by the people. They wrote this law. If you look at it as a whole, it's clear millions of Americans keep their subsidies. And without the subsidies it could create chaos. That's something that the court didn't want to be responsible for it seems like in this case.
Jake Tapper, I'm going to pass it back to you.
TAPPER: All right Pamela Brown -- thank you so much. I'm going to go back to Wolf Blitzer right this second to talk more about this big overwhelming victory for President Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It certainly is -- Jake, a huge win for the President of the United States. A 6-3 decision by the United States Supreme Court in favor of continuing the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare. The chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, siding with the majority, Justice Kennedy also going with the majority.
Let's get a different perspective. Senator Rand Paul is joining us, he's a Republican presidential candidate. He's the senator from Kentucky. Senator, you must be pretty disappointed with this decision.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Yes, Wolf. You know, as a physician, I think the Supreme Court missed an opportunity here. I think we made a mistake. If they would have ruled and adhered to the literal nature of the law, maybe Congress would have had a chance to take up Obamacare again and try to make it less bad or fix the parts of it that are causing so many problems in our society.
I really think Obamacare is making all insurance more expensive and taking away choice. So I am disappointed that we've missed an opportunity here.
BLITZER: For all practical purposes, Senator, at least for now any changes, significant changes, in Obamacare, changes you as a physician, as a Republican, as a senator, as a presidential candidate would like, those changes are going away at least for now until -- if there is a Republican president that could change, but at least for now you're resigned to the fact Obamacare stays as-is.
PAUL: I would still like to reform it and change it and give patients back more choices on whether they can choose which doctor or which insurance plan, legalize competition and legalize inexpensive insurance again, but it makes it hard because we don't have the leverage. If we had the leverage where the President had to revisit this because part of it had been struck down, then we would have the leverage to force the President to revisit it.
We have majorities and so we can bring it up and we can pass legislation, but getting the President to actually do something about it and actually have the leverage to get him to perhaps sign something that would change Obamacare, I think we've lost that leverage.
[10:55:10] BLITZER: But just to wrap this up, Senator, even if you do, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate pass legislation, the President presumably will veto that legislation and you don't have two-thirds majorities to override a presidential veto, right?
PAUL: I agree, and that's why without this court case, I think we've lost the leverage to actually have the President negotiate with us.
BLITZER: All right. Senator, thanks very much. Senator Rand Paul expressing his disappointment in the 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sara Murray is joining us. She's one of our CNN political reporters. You're getting lots of reaction -- Sara. What are you hearing?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Wolf, we are getting lots of reaction. The latest we're getting is from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He is calling for the law to still be repealed and he says it's up to the House and Senate to make sure they do that. This is indicative of what we're hearing from all of the Republican presidential candidates -- Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry -- they're all saying that this is still time to repeal this law.
I think the interesting question is how you do that going forward. If you talk to Republicans who have worked on health policy, they say now that this has been confirmed twice by the Supreme Court, it's very difficult to actually go through and repeal this law.
And we saw in Rick Perry's statement, he says now it's time for leadership from the White House. And I think that's really what it comes down to. If Republicans want to be able to change this law, want to be able to repeal it, one of them is going to have to win the White House. I expect that we are going to see Republican presidential candidates use this as a kind of rallying cry going forward that if you are not happy with the President's health care law, it's clear that you're going to have to elect a Republican to the presidency.
BLITZER: I'm sure it will be a huge issue in the race for the White House. Sara, stand by. Once again, I want to remind our viewers, the President of the United States, he's obviously very pleased by this decision by the Supreme Court.
In about half an hour or so, he will be addressing the nation from the rose garden at the White House. We'll have live coverage of that.
Jeff Zeleny, you're getting reaction from the Hillary Clinton campaign. What are they saying?
ZELENY: We are -- Wolf. Hillary Clinton, of course, is very happy about this Supreme Court ruling. She sent out her response, and she says this. She says, "Yes, exclamation point. SCOTUS affirms what we know is true under our hearts in the law. Health insurance should be affordable and available for all."
And then, Wolf, after that she sent out a message as well to her supporters saying, please sign this petition, this online petition, if you agree with me. So that is a sign that the Clinton campaign is going to try and use this as a rallying point to remind those Obama Democrats, if you will, who helped re-elect him and elect him the first time that they need to support her on this.
And the Clinton campaign is just fine with this being an argument going forward in the primary and the general election. They believe that this is a strong argument to moderates, to independent voters across America. And Wolf -- I have to say, I mean we heard this -- this is almost like deja vu from three years ago. Mitt Romney and other Republicans back in June of 2012 said they're going to take this to the ballot box.
So we will see how much Republicans actually are campaigning on this after their primary fight ends because Democrats believe this is a winning issue for them.
BLITZER: What it does underscore is how significant the United States Supreme Court is and that presidents of the United States nominate Supreme Court justices and the decisions of those justices don't just go on for four years or eight years but go on very often for decades.
It's a huge, huge responsibility for any president, and you're right, it will presumably be a big issue going forward. Jake, you got to admit the chief justice, John Roberts, now twice
has sided with the President of the United States in saving the key elements of Obamacare.
TAPPER: It is a stunning turn of events, Wolf, and just to recap for those just joining us now at the top of the hour, President Obama has been handed a huge victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. A 6-3 decision upholding the Obama administration's interpretation of what I think is fair to say was a vaguely and poorly written part -- four words specifically of the Affordable Care Act.
The chief justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts sided with the 6-3 majority saying that, indeed, the 6.4 million Americans who had subsidies who were on the state exchanges would -- were not on state exchanges rather would get the federal subsidies even though they were not on their own individual state exchanges but were instead on the federal exchange.
I want to go right now to Neal Katyal (ph), who is a former acting solicitor general for the Obama administration and in private practice wrote a brief on behalf of the American Hospital Association siding with the Obama administration.
And Neil 22 Democrats voted against John Roberts when he was up for confirmation. This is the second time he has sided with not only the liberal majority but I think it's fair to say not necessarily the most conservative interpretation of the arguments before the court.
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: I think that's fair. I think today's decision is a sweeping victory for the President and for the Congress that passed the Affordable Care Act.
[11:00:00] And yes, it is striking, There are only four justices out of the nine that have been appointed by Democratic presidents. Today you had six of them, so two Republican appointed justices, the chief justice but also Justice Kennedy coming in and saying this is the law that Congress --