And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?
The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.
The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.
The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Credit Jeff Gentner / AP
Some mental health experts are worried that the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales — who is charged with killing 17 Afghan civilians — will make it harder for veterans with PTSD to ask for help.
The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.
But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.
The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.
The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.
Amnesty International says the Cuban government has increased its harassment of opposition activists.
According to the human rights organization, the government has detained more 150 opponents and in other situations has surrounded some of the activists' homes to prevent them from "denouncing abuses during Pope Benedict's tour."
Amnesty adds that some human rights organizations and prominent activists have had their phones cut off.
In the new biography Hitler, A.N. Wilson describes the Nazi dictator as the "Demon King of history" — who instigated the Holocaust and forced the world into a second world war — but also as an ordinary, even boring man.
"We like to distance ourselves from anything to do with him because he was an essentially evil character," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "But actually, many of the ideas that he had and expressed were very ordinary ideas, and they were ideas that more or less everybody had at that time."
Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 1:37 pm
The peace plan backed by the United Nations got the support of Arab foreign ministers today.
The leaders, who were in Baghdad for an Arab League summit, endorsed the plan which calls for a cease fire, the release of political prisoners and dialogue with the opposition. The ministers said Syria should enact the plan.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday morning's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this morning in Case Number 11-393, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and case 11-400, Florida v. The Department of HHS.
Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
Tracy Martin (left) and Sybrina Fulton appear at a forum held by Democratic members of Congress in Washington on Tuesday. Lawmakers discussed the death of the couple's son, Trayvon Martin, and racial profiling.
Credit Doriane Raiman / NPR
Tracy Martin speaks with staff after an interview with NPR's Michel Martin in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 6:39 pm
The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin have been in Washington, D.C., the past two days, meeting with Democratic lawmakers and pleading for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer who shot their son.
I talked today with the boy's father, Tracy Martin, 45, about the whirlwind of attention the case has drawn, the latest claims made about his son's role in the Feb. 26 incident in Sanford and his hopes for an arrest.
Though he insists he's not suspending his run, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich announced he's cutting his staff and shifting his campaign strategy. NPR's Ken Rudin and veteran campaign manager Chip Saltsman discuss the decisions candidates face when a win seems unlikely.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. For years, employers have used credit checks and criminal histories to vet potential hires. With the growth of social media, hiring managers now turn to websites like Facebook, and some employers go so far as to ask applicants to turn over their passwords.
Facebook warns against this procedure. Two United States senators asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether these employers are violating federal law.
With the fate of the health law's insurance mandate in doubt, the last day of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court became even more crucial to the future of the Obama administration's central legislative achievement.
On the floor of the House this morning, Rep. Bobby Rush's effort to call attention to the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin turned into a contest of wills between the Illinois Democrat and the presiding officer because Rush donned a hoodie while speaking.
The names Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky may not sound familiar today, but at the height of their fame in the 1920s and '30s, the Thomashefskys were one of the most famous couples in New York City's burgeoning Yiddish theater scene.
I'm Jacki Lyden and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away this week. Coming up, there are a number of people in the U.S. who continue to insist that President Obama is Muslim, despite his Christian faith. But that begs the question: what does it matter? So what if he were? We'll talk about it what it means to be a Muslim in America in just a bit.
Update at 12:08 p.m. ET. Everyone Had A Hard Go Of It Today:
NPR's legal correspondent Nina Totenberg tells Ari Shapiro that both sides had a tough go of it today.
During the final day of arguments, Supreme Court justices seemed split on the idea of striking the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, if its the "individual mandate" centerpiece was also found unconstitutional.