Tag: hints

Supreme Court: Democrats and Republicans seek hints for how Barrett will rule on health care law

For the second day of Barrett’s questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the health care law was a dominant topic on both sides of the aisle thanks to the looming November case the Supreme Court will hear on a Republican effort to strike down the law.

Both Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, asked President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee about the legal doctrine of “severability,” or whether the entire law can stand if one part of it is deemed unconstitutional, during Barrett’s second day of questions before the committee on Wednesday.

It’s a concept that could play a key factor in the case from Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act case next month. They argue the entire law, commonly known as Obamacare, should be struck down because the law’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional.

Barrett explained to Feinstein, a California Democrat, that severability was like a game of “Jenga.”

“If you picture severability being like a Jenga game, it’s kind of like, if you pull one out, can you pull it out while it all stands? If you pull two out, will it all stand?” Barrett asked. “Severability is designed to say well would Congress still want the statute to stand even with the provision gone?”

Graham, during his questioning of Barrett, seemed to suggest he thought that the Affordable Care Act could be saved because of severability, saying the doctrine’s “goal is to preserve the statute if that is possible.”

“From a conservative point of view, generally speaking, we want legislative bodies to make laws, not judges,” Graham said, before asking Barrett, “Would it be further true, if you can preserve a statue you try to, if possible?”

“That is true,” Barrett said.

“That’s the law folks,” Graham responded.

The challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law from Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration has become a central issue in this year’s election in part due to Barrett’s confirmation. Democrats have focused their arguments during Barrett’s confirmation hearings on the way the law has provided care for individuals.

But Senate Republicans, who back the lawsuit to kill the law, have backed away from that implication in the lead-up to Election Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also up for reelection, said during his debate Monday that “no one believes” the Supreme Court will strike down the entire law.
Graham, who is facing a tough reelection fight this year, raised the severability argument but also launched into another attack on the health care law, “Obamacare is on the ballot.”
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The South Carolina Republican praised Barrett’s record, comparing her to Obama’s nominees Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, calling Barrett the first woman nominated to the high court who is “unashamedly pro-life.”

Just as they did during Tuesday’s lengthy questioning, Democrats sought to pin down Barrett on a number of topics she could hear in the future, including voting

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UK culture minister hints government may sell Channel 4

Ministers are considering whether there is still a need for Channel 4 to exist in its current form, raising the prospect that the broadcaster will be privatised.

Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith sitting at a table: Photograph: Channel 4/PA

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Channel 4/PA

John Whittingdale, the culture minister with responsibility for broadcast policy, told a fringe event at the Conservative party conference that the channel was struggling financially and hinted that a sell-off could be on the cards.

Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith are posing for a picture: Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith and Noel Fielding on The Great British Bake Off, which is Channel 4’s biggest ratings winner.

© Photograph: Channel 4/PA
Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith and Noel Fielding on The Great British Bake Off, which is Channel 4’s biggest ratings winner.

Related: Queen stresses need for trusted news sources during Covid crisis

He said: “Unlike the BBC, Channel 4 survives as an advertising-funded model. With the advent of the streamers and other competing services that model is under considerable strain.

“We do need to think about Channel 4 and whether there is still a need for a second publicly owned public service broadcaster, or what function it should fulfil. And that is something we are giving a lot of thought to.”

Channel 4 is commercially funded but is ultimately owned by the government, with all money going back into the broadcaster, which commissions all of its programmes from independent producers.

Individuals at the top of government, including the prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings, have made no secret of their disdain for Channel 4. They were especially aggrieved after Dorothy Byrne, the broadcaster’s former head of news and current affairs, delivered a speech at last year’s Edinburgh television festival lambasting Boris Johnson as a liar.

During the general election campaign a Conservative campaign source pledged to review Channel 4’s licence after they replaced Johnson with a melting ice sculpture when the prime minister failed to turn up to a climate change event.

Whittingdale is a longtime proponent of Channel 4’s privatisation, having first proposed such a move in 1996, arguing the channel needs external financial backing in order to survive. The government considered a sell-off when Whittingdale was culture secretary in 2015 but ultimately backed down in the face of an intense lobbying campaign from the broadcaster. Channel 4 then saw off a bid by the government to force it to move its headquarters outside London, instead agreeing to set up three regional bases in Leeds, Bristol, and Glasgow.

However, the long-term decline in traditional television viewing has hit its finances hard. Earlier this year the broadcaster was forced to make enormous cuts to its programme budget due to the pandemic-related collapse of the advertising market.

Although the broadcaster prides itself on investing in new British talent, its biggest ratings-winner is The Great British Bake Off, which was poached from BBC. It has also come under ratings pressure from Channel 5, which has seen its viewing figures soar thanks to less challenging but more popular programmes about British countryside life, railways, and royal history.

Whittingdale also told an event hosted by the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs thinktank that the licence fee, which funds the BBC, will probably

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