Sunday, June 24, 2012
By Paul Martin

For Obama, Supreme Court health-care, immigration rulings to close a tough term

By Robert Barnes
Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Supreme Court this week will conclude its term by handing down much-anticipated rulings on health care and immigration, President Obama’s remaining priorities before the justices. It is a finale that cannot come quickly enough for the administration, which has had a long year at the high court.

In a string of cases — as obscure as the federal government’s relationships with Indian tribes and as significant as enforcement of the Clean Water Act — the court rejected the administration’s legal arguments with lopsided votes and sometimes biting commentary.

The administration’s win-loss record will sting a lot less, of course, if the court upholds the constitutionality of Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act. That decision on health care, which will define the term, could come as early as Monday and almost certainly will be announced by Thursday.

The court also will decide the fate of Arizona’s tough law on illegal immigrants, which the Obama administration challenged in court before it could take effect. The government’s argument that the law conflicts with the federal authority to decide immigration policy got a sour reception from the justices, but the government hopes for at least a split decision on other aspects of the measure.

The administration’s ungainly portfolio at the Supreme Court this term has drawn attention from all points on the ideological spectrum.

Ilya Shapiro, a constitutional scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, said the government is to blame for “outlandish claims of federal power” that the court was correct to reject.

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