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SCOTUS Clerks Say Mandate Will Be Nixed

Via WaPo’s Sarah Kliff, this is a big shift from what we saw in the last poll of Supreme Court clerks:

A new poll of 56 former Supreme Court clerks finds that 57 percent think the individual mandate will be overturned. That’s a 22-point jump from the last time the same group of clerks was surveyed, right before oral arguments. Back then, 35 percent thought the court would toss out the required purchase of health insurance.

Most of the clerks found the Supreme Court’s questioning to be more skeptical than they had expected. As one clerk put it to Purple Strategies’ Doug Schoen, who conducted the research, “I feel like a dope, because I was one of those who predicted that the Court would uphold the statute by a lopsided majority…it now appears pretty likely that this prediction was way off.”

The change among law clerks reflects change in conventional wisdom that the mandate now seems more likely to be struck down. Even if the Supreme Court just strikes the mandate and leaves the rest intact, Republicans have vowed to dismantle the entire law. This isn’t a fight the administration is going to give up easily, and they’ve already started a PR push about the job-creating benefits of the health care law. Health and Human Services issued this press release today:

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced awards of new grants made possible by the health care law to expand community health centers. The grants awarded to 219 health centers will help expand access to care for more than 1.25 million additional patients and create approximately 5,640 jobs by establishing new health center service delivery sites. …

Health centers are also an integral source of local employment and economic growth in many underserved and low-income communities. In 2011, health centers employed more than 138,000 staff including: 9,900 physicians, 6,900 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,800 nurses, 10,300 dental staff, 4,400 behavioral health staff; and more than 12,500 case managers, health education, outreach and transportation staff.

In other words, if you want to repeal and replace ObamaCare, then you’re against job creation and health care in low-income communities.