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

On Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove said there has been "very little movement" in the polls over the last week or so, signaling that Mitt Romney's surge after the first debate has waned.

"Right now we're at a point in the campaign where there's very little movement -- you know, sort of, the momentum was on Romney's side but -- the closer we get to the end, one of two scenarios happens," Rove said.

The Republican strategist and American Crossroads chief speculated that either there'll be "rapid movement in one candidate's direction" like in 1980 or "slow" movement toward Romney because "we're getting down to a very thin group of people left undecided."

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), a Mitt Romney surrogate, said on Fox News Sunday that abortion does not register as an issue in voters' minds in Wisconsin.

"It's not even an issue here in Wisconsin. It doesn't even move the radar at all," he said, arguing that Wisconsinites are more concerned about what happened in Benghazi. "Abortion doesn't even show up."

Johnson said only "one person" had brought up the issue of abortion and rape to him.

A potential Mitt Romney presidency carries huge implications for the Supreme Court that have conservatives excited and progressives fearful about the future.

Liberal-leaning Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, and Steven Breyer, 74, are likely candidates for retirement during a Romney administration. The GOP nominee has vowed to appoint staunch conservatives, and the influential conservative legal community will make sure he follows through.

Replacing even one of the liberal justices with a conservative, legal scholars and advocates across the ideological spectrum agree, would position conservatives to scale back the social safety net and abortion rights in the near term. Over time, if a robust five-vote conservative bloc prevails on the court for years, the right would have the potential opportunity to reverse nearly a century of progressive jurisprudence.

For all those reasons, conservative legal activists anticipate that a Romney win would be the culmination of their decades-long project to remake the country's legal architecture.

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The premise of the Romney-Ryan plan to convert Medicare into a voucher system is that private insurance plans would compete with traditional government-run Medicare to drive down costs and improve care for seniors.

But a new study suggests that may be an overly optimistic view.

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In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, President Obama said Ayn Rand's writings are appealing to those who are "17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood." But "as we get older," he said, people recognize its "narrow vision."

The relevant portion of the interview:

Have you ever read Ayn Rand?

What do you think Paul Ryan's obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?
Well, you'd have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

Chief Justice John Roberts may have saved the Affordable Care Act under the Constitution's taxing power, but President Obama criticized him for decreeing that it does not pass muster under the Commerce Clause.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine published Thursday, Obama said the law is "clearly constitutional under the Commerce Clause," arguing it "makes no sense" to deprive Congress of the authority to regulate health care as it sees fit.

The president posited that the ruling was designed to "preserve the law" while potentially setting the stage to "scale back Congress' power under the Commerce Clause in future cases."

From the Rolling Stone interview:

How do you feel about Justice Roberts' ruling on the Affordable Care Act? Were you surprised?
I wasn't surprised. I was always confident that the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, was constitutional. It was interesting to see them, or Justice Roberts in particular, take the approach that this was constitutional under the taxing power. The truth is that if you look at the precedents dating back to the 1930s, this was clearly constitutional under the Commerce Clause. I think Justice Roberts made a decision that allowed him to preserve the law but allowed him to keep in reserve the desire, maybe, to scale back Congress' power under the Commerce Clause in future cases.

What made you so certain that the law was constitutional?
It's hard to dispute that health care is a national issue of massive importance. It takes up 17 or 18 percent of our entire economy; it touches on everybody's lives; it is a massive burden on businesses, on our federal budget and on families. It's practiced across state lines. So the notion that Congress could not take a comprehensive approach to that problem the way we have makes no sense.

A new study underscores the far-reaching consequences of Mitt Romney's plan to slash Medicaid spending and the stark contrast between the Republican candidate and President Obama's vision for the program.

The analysis (PDF), released Tuesday by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation, finds that a Medicaid program modeled on vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's budget blueprint, would slash the program's funding by $1.7 trillion over 10 years.

Romney has announced his support for Ryan's budget, and has proposed, like Ryan, to turn the program over to the states and to cap its annual spending.

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At the final presidential debate Monday night, Mitt Romney obscured his early opposition to providing taxpayer funds to rescue the auto industry before it went through a private bankruptcy process.

"I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry. My plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks," he said. "I said they need — these companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy, and in that process they can get government help and government guarantees, but they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they'd built up. ... I said that we would provide guarantees and that was what was able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy, to come out of bankruptcy."

"The idea that has been suggested that I would liquidate the industry -- of course not," the GOP candidate said. "That's the height of silliness."

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Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) praised Mitt Romney's performance in the final debate and criticized President Obama for mocking the GOP candidate's approach to the defense budget.

"Frankly, I don't understand why the president wants to take these kind of cheap shots -- bayonets and horses, what's that all about?" he said. "You know, when I debated then-Senator Obama I didn't criticize or belittle his lack of experience on national security issues. And he seemed to take these kind of cheap shots. ... I kind of resent it." 

"I think you should treat your opponent with some respect. ... It was small ball."

Speaking to ABC News, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan offered his take on Monday night's foreign policy debate:

“We really didn’t actually get an agenda for how we should move our country forward on foreign policy,” Ryan said. “We got sort of a defensive, you know, he tried to defend his record. It is a bad record. Turn on your TV and you can see that the Obama foreign policy is unraveling before us.”

“What Mitt Romney said, ‘here is how we can do a better job in Iran policy, here is what we should have done in all these other areas,’…and more importantly, I think [Romney] did a great job of articulating a vision for America’s role in the world. Having a strong economy, a strong America at home, a strong military and being very resolute and certain in defense of our values overseas,” Ryan told me.