In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit struck down an Idaho law banning abortions 20 weeks into pregnancy Friday on the basis that the law unconstitutionally prohibits abortions before the point of fetal viability outside of the womb. It also declared unconstitutional Idaho's requirement that women undergo second trimester abortions in hospitals, calling it "an undue burden" on women seeking abortions.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), a top 2016 contender, has reiterated his support for a Wisconsin bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy,
with no exceptions for rape or incest.

With 20-week abortion bans gaining momentum on Capitol Hill and in states nationwide, Walker’s office confirmed to the Daily Beast this week that the governor intends to sign the bill, which supporters expect will move quickly through Wisconsin's GOP-controlled legislature. A joint state House and Senate committee hearing on the bill is scheduled next week.

The issue of rape exemptions nearly tanked a federal version of the bill in the U.S House of Representatives, when female Republicans objected to a provision that required assault victims report their rapes to the police if seeking an exemption. A compromise that broadened the exemption passed the House earlier this month. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is also considering a presidential run, has promised to introduce a Senate version of the 20-week ban soon.

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Former Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, became the latest lawmaker involved in the drafting of President Obama’s health care law to undermine the case against the legislation currently being considered by the Supreme Court. In an interview with the New York Times, Snowe, who left office in 2013, said that the language at the heart of the suit was perhaps the product of “inadvertent language” and “never part of our conversations at any point.”

The plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, King vs. Burwell, say a phrase in the law -- “established by the state” -- means that only those participating in exchanges set up by the states have have access to federal tax subsidies to offset their premiums. Currently, residents in the 34 states that did not chose to set up their own exchanges have access to the subsidies through a federal exchange marketplace, which plaintiffs say contradicts the four words in question.

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All four of the GOP governors with 2016 ambitions are facing budget shortfalls back home that their critics would argue are disasters of their own doing. It puts them in a politically difficult position: consider tax increases that put their fiscal conservative credentials on the line, or move forward with ugly cuts that risk high-profile showdowns with their legislative counterparts.

Complicating matters, three of the four -- Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich -- have signed the anti-tax pledge heralded by conservative activist Grover Norquist, while New Jersey’s Chris Christie has verbally promised to not raise taxes. That limits their options to address revenues that have fallen short of expectations.

“Post-Tea Party there are new requirements for being a successful candidate if you’re a Republican,” Norquist told TPM. “And that includes reining spending more than some are willing to do.”

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