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It's All Politics
5:10 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Limits Damage Payments To Whistle-Blowers

Under Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, whistle-blowers like Linda Tripp (seen here in 1998) have few options in suing the government for damages.
Mark Wilson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

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It's All Politics
5:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Oral Arguments Outside The Supreme Court, As Well ...

Robert Yochem, 45, of Baltimore
John Rose NPR

What happens when impassioned demonstrators come this close to each other?

Opponents and defenders of the new national health care law found out this week, sometimes facing off outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices inside heard three days of oral arguments on the law's constitutionality.

NPR discussed the experience with demonstrators from both sides of the debate, who traveled from other states or nearby cities to bring their voices to the steps of the high court.

Carolyn Weller, secretary:

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The Salt
5:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Scientists Map Algae To Prevent Shellfish Poisoning Outbreaks

An oyster shucker on Samish Island, Wash. on Puget Sound. The state is frequently forced to close beaches to oyster gatherers because of the risks of harmful algae blooms.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Public health officials have their hands full keeping your clam chowder and raw oysters safe. That's due, in part, to red tides.

Red tides happen nearly every year as coastal waters warm, killing fish and poisoning shellfish along U.S. coasts. They're not actually tides; they're huge blooms of naturally occurring toxic algae.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Despite Losses, Bank Of America CEO Receives Huge Raise

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
Chuck Burton AP

Despite the fact that Bank of America lost 58 percent of its value in 2011, its CEO received a compensation package worth $7.5 million. That's a six fold increase from the year before. The AP reports that under Brian Moynihan, Bank of America also lost its title as the No. 1 bank by assets to JPMorgan Chase.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:50 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Spring Brings Some Green Shoots In Housing Market

A recently sold home in Palo Alto, Calif. Home inventory is declining nationwide, and real estate agents say they are seeing more interest among would-be buyers.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Housing prices are still declining, but many analysts see some signs for optimism in the housing market. The mild spring has brought buyers out earlier than usual, and real estate agents are busy.

Doug Azarian is one of them. One of his clients recently signed a deal on a $1.5 million house in Cape Cod, Mass. — a contemporary waterfront property with three bedrooms.

"The buyers came in, and they loved it from the minute they walked in the door," Azarian says.

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It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Rep. Bobby Rush's Hoodie Moment Recalls His Own Family Tragedy

Rep. Bobby Rush who, like Trayvon Martin's parents, lost a son to gun violence.
Anonymous AP

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The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Prosecutor Says A Desire To Win Led To Misconduct In Sen. Stevens' Case

Special federal prosecutor Henry F. Schuelke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:26 pm

A special prosecutor who spent two years exploring Justice Department misconduct in the botched case against late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said "contest living" — the desire to win a big case — explained the failure to follow the rules in one of the biggest political corruption prosecutions in decades.

"[Lawyers] do not want to have to undermine our case if it can possibly be avoided," investigator Hank Schuelke told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. "That motive to win the case was the principal operative motive."

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Report: Student Loans For K-12 Are On The Rise

Anyone who watched Nursery University — a documentary about the trials and tribulations of getting your toddler in the "right" pre-school — won't be surprised by this story.

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Judging The Health Care Law
3:54 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Supreme Court: The Health Care Law And Medicaid Expansion

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 5:17 pm

  • Listen to Wednesday Afternoon's Supreme Court arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday afternoon's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this afternoon in case 11-400 Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

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Latin America
3:40 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Pope Wraps Up Cuba Visit With Mass, Castro Meeting

Pope Benedict meets with Fidel Castro in Havana on Wednesday as he wraps up his three-day visit to Cuba. A large crowd turned out for the Mass, though the pope did not meet with dissidents.
Osservatore Romano AP

In the last public event of his three-day visit to the island, Pope Benedict XVI called on Cuba, and the world, to change and choose a path of "love, reconciliation and brotherhood."

After the Mass, the pontiff met with Fidel Castro for a half-hour before departing for Rome, wrapping up a weeklong trip to Mexico and Cuba.

The pope did not meet with Cuban dissidents during his trip, however, drawing criticism from Castro opponents in Cuba and abroad.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:08 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Cheat Sheet Day 3: Scalia Unplugged

Activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the court hears a third day of arguments on President Obama's health care law.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:43 pm

On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.

In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?

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It's All Politics
3:02 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Sign Of The (Wisconsin) Times: Gov. Scott Walker For President

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's future is a bigger deal to many in his state than Tuesday's presidential primary.
Don Gonyea NPR

There's a Republican presidential primary next Tuesday in Wisconsin. But as the accompanying photo taken by NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea in Delafield, Wisc. suggests, a lot of Wisconsinites have other political matters on their minds.

As Don writes in an e-mail:

"Note that the recall coming up on June is the big political story here. Not Tuesdays presidential primary."

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

In Defense Of Broccoli

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now to something that's come up multiple times this week at the Supreme Court. And unlike the health care debate, it doesn't have a single attorney on its side. I'm talking about broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Everybody has to buy food, therefore everybody's in the market, therefore you can make people buy broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Health insurance is not purchased for its own sake like a car or broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Well, now that's...

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Arguments End, Deliberation Begins For Health Care Law

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melisa Block.

The case is submitted. With those words from the chief justice, the three-day marathon at the Supreme Court ended. Today, the justices heard two sets of arguments over the federal health care law. There were sessions in the morning and afternoon with two separate questions to consider.

NPR's Ari Shapiro is with me in the studio to describe what happened. And, Ari, let's start with the morning arguments, a key question there hinging on yesterday's arguments.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

For Health Care, Will One Part's End Be The End-All?

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 9:11 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Hangs On Justices' Scale

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?

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Shots - Health Blog
2:58 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments

Supporters of the health care law rally in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, the final day of arguments over its constitutionality.
Charles Dharapak AP

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

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Mental Health
2:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Staff Sgt. Bales Case Shows Stigma, Paradox Of PTSD

The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.

But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Wrapping Up Oral Arguments, Justices Disagree On Medicaid Expansion

The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.

The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

'He's Gone And We're Searching For Answers,' Says Trayvon Martin's Father

Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, at a forum held Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

"I haven't even started grieving and I don't think I'll start grieving until I get justice for him."

That's Tracy Martin, father of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, moments ago in an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin (no relation).

During a conversation due for broadcast on Thursday's edition of Tell Me More, Tracy Martin also said:

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