In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court might have already tipped their hand on the latest substantial legal threat to Obamacare, according to one Yale law professor. And if they did, it would be good news for the Obama administration.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that Obamacare's language did not allow people shopping on HealthCare.gov to access tax credits if they purchase insurance through the federal website. If that decision were to become law, affecting the 36 states served by the federal exchange, it would strip subsidies from nearly 5 million people and send their premiums skyrocketing. Without some sort of administrative rescue from the Obama administration, it would significantly gut the law.

Another federal appeals court in Virginia ruled the opposite way on the same day. Legal analysts have said it is at least possible that the case will end up in front of the Supreme Court, which largely upheld Obamacare in 2012. But the court's conservative streak has struck down some of the law's other provisions.

Abbe Gluck, a law professor at Yale University, highlighted some passages this week for a piece for Politico that showed how the court's conservative justices seemed to have already interpreted the issue in the 2012 ruling.

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Facing a divided House Republican conference and no clear path forward on legislation to address the border crisis, Speaker John Boehner is giving President Barack Obama an ultimatum: support reforms to toughen up border controls or we won't give you any money to deal with the humanitarian crisis involving child migrants from Central America.

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After apparently watching too many James Bond marathons, the Michigan Republican Party equipped some of its staff members with eyeglasses outfitted with high-tech hidden cameras to track Democratic candidates.

The Detroit News reported last week that Michigan Democrats had come into possession of a disk recorded from a secret camera that had been used to spy at a campaign fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer. The amateur snoops ate appetizers, discussed the interior design of the private home where the fundraiser took place and chatted with other attendees.

The Michigan Republican Party did not deny their methods and in fact volunteered to the News that the trackers had been using spyglasses with a secret camera installed in the frames.

“Republicans do it; Democrats do it,” Darren Littell, communications director for the state GOP, told the News. “People use different ways to get the footage. ... This is a newer approach.”

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The Obama administration caught a glimpse of the worst-case scenario for the president's signature health care law on Tuesday in a ruling by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

The ruling will be appealed, but even if it ends up being upheld, policy experts told TPM that it might be fairly easy for the administration to craft a workaround to keep a key piece of the law from falling apart.

The D.C. federal appeals court initially appeared to throw a stunning legal blow to Obamacare with its decision to invalidate financial subsidies offered through HealthCare.gov. The loss of those subsidies could affect 4.7 million people and send premiums skyrocketing. But the ruling was quickly tempered by a separate appeals court ruling that upheld the subsidies in another case.

Either way, the legal case is far from over and likely to work its way through another court panel or two before possibly heading to the Supreme Court.

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Of the roughly 5.4 million people who purchased health insurance through HealthCare.gov this year, 87 percent -- 4.7 million -- received premium tax credits, according to the latest estimate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Those are the people who would stand to lose their financial benefits under Obamacare if the U.S. appeals court decision on Tuesday that invalidated the subsidies offered through the federal website were to stand.

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