Today’s Headlines – January 11, 2012

Good morning! Here are your morning headlines:

The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog: Tax Anti-Injunction Act? Whatevs… Just Sue The States
Before the Supreme Court reviews the challenges to President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, it has to answer another question: Is the whole thing premature? Federal appellate judges in the Fourth Circuit and the D.C. Circuit have said the courts are barred from ruling on the merits of the challenges until 2015. They point to a Reconstruction-era law called the Tax Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits courts from striking down tax laws before they take effect. The Supreme Court is obviously keyed into the issue. The justices have appointed Robert A. Long of Covington & Burling to argue that the tax law applies in the health-care case. But nobody wants this case to drag on to 2015. Not Obama, and certainly not the folks who are trying to have the law struck down as unconstitutional (Palazzolo, 1/10).

Politico: Health Care Reform Lawsuit: States File Legal Arguments Against Medicaid Expansion
Twenty-six states on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to overturn the health care reform law’s mandatory state expansion of the Medicaid program, a sleeper issue in the health care reform lawsuit that could determine how much leverage the federal government has with the states on any issue (Haberkorn, 1/10).

For more headlines …

Los Angeles Times: House Democrats Urge GOP To Return To Work On Payroll Tax Break
House Democrats continued their daily assault on Republicans on Monday over extending the payroll tax break, hoping to cut short the holiday recess to bring both sides to the table and negotiate a long-term resolution to the volatile issue. … The problem has been how to pay for the tax break package, which costs $200 billion. It also includes a continuation of unemployment insurance and prevents a pay cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients (Mascaro, 1/10).

The New York Times: U.S. Report Criticizes New York On Monitoring Care Of Developmentally Disabled
The federal government sharply criticized New York’s oversight of the developmentally disabled in a new report, saying the state agency charged with oversight lacks independence from the governor’s office, failed to account for how it is spending public money and has broken several requirements of federal law (Hakim, 1/10).

USA Today: As USA Grays, Elder Abuse Risk And Need For Shelters Grow
They’re weak, physically or mentally disabled or both, and often at the mercy of people they depend on the most: relatives and caretakers. They’re the nation’s fast-growing elderly population, and many are prime targets for abuse — physical, financial, sexual or emotional. Concern among the elderly and their advocates is mounting as the number of seniors soars and more of them live longer (El Nasser, 1/10).

Politico: New Gingrich Goes Negative In South Carolina Ad
Newt Gingrich’s newest ad, set to run in South Carolina this week, hits Mitt Romney directly on his “pro-abortion” record in Massachusetts. “What happened after Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney changed his position from pro-abortion to pro-life? He governed pro-abortion,” the ad’s narrator says (Schultheis, 1/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Appellate Ruling Upholds Texas Abortion Law
Supporters of the law, enacted last year, say it is designed to ensure that women are fully informed about abortions and, ultimately, to discourage them from undergoing the procedure. It requires all women seeking abortions to have a sonogram, also known as an ultrasound scan, but it allows some women—such as those who certify they are rape victims—to avoid hearing a description of the fetus or embryo (Koppel, 1/11).

The Associated Press/New York Times: Texas: Court Allows Sonogram Law To Be Enforced
A Texas abortion law passed last year that requires doctors to show sonograms to patients can be enforced while opponents challenge it in court, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a ruling that signaled the judges believe the law is constitutional (1/11).

The Washington Post: Health Insurance Bill Would Keep Feds At Bay, Va. Democrats Say
Virginia House Democrats proposed a measure Tuesday to establish health insurance exchanges in the state to meet requirements of the federal health care law, calling it a way to keep Washington at bay. … Democrats cast the legislation as something lawmakers could embrace regardless of their stance on the Affordable Care Act. If the law withstands a Supreme Court challenge, Democrats argued, Virginia should have a home-grown plan ready so the federal government doesn’t impose one (Vozzella, 1/10).