Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

Speaking at Priceton University to promote his new book, Justice Antonin Scalia defended his previous controversial writings on gay rights, and explained to a gay student why he drew a legal analogy between laws banning sodomy to murder and bestiality.

"I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective," Scalia said Monday, in response to a student's question, according to The Associated Press.

"It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,'" he said. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?’"

When the student continued to press him, the justice reportedly quipped, "I'm surprised you aren’t persuaded."

Next spring, the Court will take up cases on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.

The U.S. Treasury department announced Tuesday morning that it will sell its final 234,169,156 shares of AIG common stock at $32.50 apiece in an underwritten public offering.

The overall positive return to Treasury and the Federal Reserve over the bailout of AIG, the announcement said, would become $22.7 billion.

Gov. John Kasich (R) has a job approval rating of 42-35 percentage points, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. It's his first positive job approval rating since his 2011 inauguration, the survey finds.

Even though his favorables are reasonably strong at 40-34, Ohio voters say Kasich does not deserve reelection by a similar margin of 43-36, per the poll.

Democrats are conferring with Republican senators about cutting a deal that would still change some of the Senate's filibuster rules but avoid a showdown that would force Democrats to advance significant reforms on a majority-rules basis.

The Republicans in these talks include Sens. John McCain (AZ), Jon Kyl (AZ), Lamar Alexander (TN) and Lindsey Graham (SC), according to Politico. To enhance their leverage, they're courting Democrats who are skittish about changing the rules of the Senate using the so-called "Constitutional" or "nuclear" option.

"I think this is yet another sign of the bipartisan concern with using the nuclear option to forever revoke the ability of the minority to participate in the legislative process," a Senate Republican leadership aide told TPM.

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The White House's top health official made clear on Monday that it would not fund a partial Medicaid expansion for states that choose not to embrace the new funding under the Affordable Care Act.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote a letter to governors saying the administration "continue[s] to encourage all states to fully expand their Medicaid programs."

In an accompanying blog post, she declared that "the law does not create an option for enhanced match for a partial or phased-in Medicaid expansion to 133 percent of poverty."

In other words, the states must take all or nothing. That sets up a dilemma for Republican governors, who have to decide whether to stonewall Obamacare or accept the generous funding to cover their low-income uninsured residents.

Rep. Tom Price's (R-GA) office shut down rumblings on Monday that he may challenge John Boehner for Speaker in the next Congress.

"Congressman Price is not running for speaker," a Price spokesman told TPM. "He is focused on real solutions to get America back on track. Those solutions reside in fundamental principles that embrace individual opportunity and economic freedom."

Will the Supreme Court rule in favor of marriage equality when it takes up the Defense of Marriage Act next spring? One justice warned nearly a decade ago that the Court had already paved the way to do just that: Antonin Scalia.

In a landmark 2003 decision, the Court ruled that states may not outlaw sodomy among consenting adults of the same sex. The minority dissent in the 6-3 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas was authored by Justice Scalia, who argued that the Court's reasoning effectively, if not explicitly, knocked down the legal basis for outlawing gay marriage.

"Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned," Scalia wrote.

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National Review reports that conservative Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), fresh off having lost a battle for a coveted leadership position, may mount a challenge to John Boehner's speakership.

Robert Costa delves in:

Should a debt deal go sour, the buzz is that Tom Price, a 58-year-old physician from Georgia, may challenge John Boehner for the speaker’s gavel.

“Price is the person we’re all watching,” says an aide close to House leadership. “We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.”

In an interview with National Review Online, Price won’t speculate about his future, but he acknowledges his growing uneasiness. “My concern is that within our conference, conservatives, who are a majority, don’t have a proper platform,” he says. “That’s true at the leadership table and on the steering committee.”

The rumblings come amid conservative discontent with the fact that a handful of right-wing House Republicans were thrown off prominent committees. Price, a former chairman of the deeply conservative Republican Study Committee, is well respected on the right.

President Obama issued a statement Sunday lamenting the death of an American special operator during a mission to rescue a U.S. citizen in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day. Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families. He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said Sunday that middle income tax cuts would pass the House if brought up.

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he sees growing Republican support for the bill that GOP leaders oppose, he said, "Yeah, honestly I think if it got to the floor, it would carry."

"I think it would," said Cole, a deputy majority whip. "Look, that's my judgment, but I spend a lot of time counting votes and looking around. But this doesn't say we're going to raise taxes on anybody, it says OK this group for sure, your taxes aren't going up. Get that done with, get it over with."

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