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 the verge of an expected Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare, Republicans have removed "replace" from their mantra of "repeal and replace," signaling that they may do nothing this year if some or all of the law is declared unconstitutional.

Congressional Republicans had vowed not to return to the pre-Affordable Care Act status quo, which was widely seen as broken. They've since voted unanimously to roll back the law. And while they've flirted recently with reinstating some of the more popular benefits of 'Obamacare' in a replacement plan, they still haven't coalesced around a proposal.

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Less than an hour before an expected ruling on 'Obamacare', Sen. Richard Blumenthan (D-CT), a former Supreme Court clerk, told MSNBC the GOP lawsuits lack legal merit.

"I think challenge -- let's be absolutely blunt -- was more political than legal," he said.

Today is the Supreme Court's final day of term and it's the day of the long-awaited 'Obamacare' ruling is finally expected.

At 10:00 A.M. the justices will begin to read the final decisions, and they'll be posted online shortly thereafter. Apart from health care, outstanding cases include one about real estate kickbacks and another about military honors.

Stay tuned for up to the minute coverage at TPM.

In a Democratic fundraising email ahead of an expected Supreme Court ruling, Patrick Kennedy warns that tea partiers will go wild if the health care reform law is upheld.

"If the Court upholds the law, dangerous Tea Party extremists will go on a rampage," writes Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman and son of the late Ted Kennedy, in a DCCC email Wednesday.

"Backed by Super PAC’s and shadowy front groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, they’ll do everything in their power to defeat President Obama, demonize Democrats who fought for health care reform and, if they win the election, dismantle the law piece-by-piece."

The modern Supreme Court is the most conservative since the 1930s.

The median justice during the Roberts Court is more conservative than at any time during the last 75 years, according to a statistical method developed by legal scholars Andrew Martin of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and Kevin Quinn of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

When he was appointed in 1975 by President Ford, Justice John Paul Stevens was considered one of the court's more conservative members. By the time he retired in 2010, he was heralded as its liberal lion.

The high court's rightward trajectory mirrors the broader national shift over the last several decades. President Bush sealed a five-member conservative majority by appointing Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

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No matter what the Supreme Court decides in its health care reform ruling expected Thursday, Republicans have promised to repeal all parts of the law that are left standing.

If they sweep the elections, Republicans will be able to roll back key parts of the law either with a 51-vote Senate majority or via executive fiat. But that will leave other major pieces that require an implausible 60-vote Senate threshold to repeal, allowing Democrats to filibuster. The options are detailed in a report by the D.C.-based political intelligence firm Washington Analysis.

Multiple budget-related parts of the Affordable Care Act can be repealed via a bare majority under a Senate procedure known as reconciliation. Those parts include the insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansion, the Medicare cost-saving Independent Payment Advisory Board, closing the "doughnut hole," and taxes on insurers and providers.

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Republicans have threatened to sue to block President Obama's administrative decision not to deport some young illegal immigrants. Even House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has questioned whether the move is constitutional. But the Supreme Court decision Monday in the Arizona immigration case suggests Republicans may have a difficult time prevailing in court.

The court's 5-3 decision to strike down major pieces of Arizona's immigration law emphasized the "broad discretion" the federal government has in choosing which migrants to target.

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The Senate's top Democrat and Republican said Tuesday that they're nearing a final agreement to avoid a doubling of Stafford student loan interest rates next week.

"We think we're in a good place on student loans," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

"We're moving toward completion this week of both the extension of the student loan rates at the current level for another year," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "The president's been largely uninvolved in that, but Senator Reid and I have an understanding and we think it'll be acceptable to the House. That may or may not be coupled with the highway proposal over in the House."

Early this month the two parties were publicly exchanging offers for how to fund a one-year freeze, which would cost $6 billion. Though they were slowly resolving their differences, negotiations had hit a roadblock.

The fact that lawmakers and aides are mum on details suggests that talks are now happening in earnest. But the question remains whether the two chambers can resolve their differences even if Reid and McConnell are able to.