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Roberts sought ‘a way out’ of controversial health care ruling, says new book

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Chief Justice John Roberts, wary of the potential repercussions should he have cast the deciding vote to nullify the entire Affordable Care Act, backed away from his initial desire to overturn the law for fear that doing so would strip the Supreme Court of its nonpartisan authority.

That revelation is one of a few new insights into the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the ACA revealed in excerpts, previewed Saturday by Politico, from a forthcoming book by New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. According to Toobin, Roberts initially wanted to declare the law unconstitutional, but his position grew “wobbly” as he worried that making such a seemingly political move at a crucial point in the presidential race could have undermined the court’s future credibility.

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From the book:

A complete nullification of the health care law on the eve of a presidential election would put the Court at the center of the campaign … Democrats, and perhaps Obama himself, would crusade against the Court, eroding its moral if not its legal authority. … Gradually, then with more urgency, Roberts began looking for a way out.

What’s more, Toobin reports that Roberts’ switch was in part prompted by the Court’s conservative members’ insistence that he join them in striking down the entire law.

“The four conservatives had overplayed their hand with the chief justice,” Toobin writes. “By demanding that Roberts kill off the entire health care law, they prompted him to look for some kind of middle ground.”

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Roberts’ reversal on the case was widely publicized immediately after the ruling when, in a rare move, outraged law clerks and other staffers leaked details of the court’s deliberations. CBS News’ Jan Crawford, in a detailed report following the ruling, revealed that Roberts had switched his vote despite pleas from the court’s conservative wing that he remain on their side. According to that report, it was Justice Anthony Kennedy—who is often viewed as a moderate on the court—who most fervently implored Roberts to stick with his original opinion.

Toobin’s book, “The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court,” will be released on Tuesday.

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Trump has figured out how to get taxpayers to renovate one of his golf courses: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump has figured out how to have taxpayers pay to renovate his Trump National Doral Miami golf course, according to an analysis by MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.

"Before setting himself on fire on Ukraine yesterday, Mick Mulvaney came into the White House briefing room to break to the nation the fact the that the Trump Doral golf resort turns out to be -- in his estimation, organically, just sitting there -- the best possible place to have a G-7 Summit of world leaders," MSNBC's Brian Williams reported. "That was provision number one. There’s no better place that we can find. Number two was, the president will not profit from said G-7."

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Bill Maher reveals plan to ‘bribe’ Trump with one billion dollars — for him to leave office

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The Constitution has two mechanisms to remove President Donald Trump from office prior to his term ending on January 20, 2021: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.

HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher noted that Trump could also choose to resign.

Maher waved around a $1 million check that he said he would give to Trump to quit.

He said he also knew 1,000 people who would do the same -- which would land Trump over $1 billion.

Maher said even poor people would pawn their wedding rings to add to the pot.

Watch:

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Trump can’t fire Mulvaney because nobody else wants to be his chief of staff: report

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will likely stay on at the White House despite his public confession of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal at the center of the impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported Friday.

"But Mr. Mulvaney’s job has been anything but normal since the news conference on Thursday at which he seemingly undermined the Trump administration’s strategy for avoiding impeachment by acknowledging that Mr. Trump had sought a quid pro quo for providing Ukraine with American aid," the newspaper reported. "In the chaotic aftermath, the president’s Republican allies are questioning Mr. Mulvaney’s savvy and intelligence even as the Trump campaign is defiantly turning one of his lines from the news conference into a T-shirt."

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