The Obama administration suffered another bad day in the Supreme Court, Wednesday, leading many to wonder if all of the President's health care law will be entirely scrapped. ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday responded to this with silence, totally ignoring the story.
GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday referred to the case as "historic," but apparently lost interest a day later. The other two morning shows, Today and CBS This Morning, each offered one report. In total, over eight hours of possible broadcast time, the three networks allowed a scant four minutes and 19 seconds. GMA, however, still managed to squeeze in a piece on important topics, such as an elderly Texas grandmother who is mad at Justin Bieber.
On CBS, Jan Crawford conceded that those who, at the beginning of the week, saw the law as safe, were just engaging in "wishful thinking."
She bluntly explained, "...It does appear, right now anyway, that there is a majority who's going to strike down not only that requirement that we all buy health insurance, but, perhaps, the entire law."
Crawford actually used ideological labels, adding, "Liberal justices, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pushed to save the rest of the massive health care law."
Today reporter Pete Williams sounded a similarly gloomy note for liberals: "The future of that health care law is in doubt this morning. Judging by their comments, a bare majority of the justices seem to think that most of it should be struck down, including its central requirement that all Americans get health insurance."
NBC and CBS at least acknowledged reality (unlike ABC's morning show): Obamacare is in serious trouble and could be doomed. It's striking that such a "historic" court case– and a potential massive defeat for Obama– would only warrant four minutes of coverage.
A transcript of the March 29 CBS This Morning segment, which aired at 7:08am EDT, follows:
CHARLIE ROSE: This morning after three days of historic debate at the Supreme Court, supporters and opponents of President Obama's health care law can only sit and wait.
ERICA HILL: The justices are expected to announce their decision in June. Chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford was at the high court for the final day of arguments. Jan, good morning.
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning, Erica. It does appear at the end of this historic three days of arguments that the justices are inclined to strike down the key part of this law, the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance. And yesterday in that courtroom, justice Stephen Breyer showed just what that could mean. And he did just as he held up this section that says, this is the section that requires us to buy health insurance. And this is the rest of this massive law. If we strike down this, what are we going to do about the rest of it? The arguments Wednesday showed what was at stake, not just the requirement to buy health care but the entire health care law. The conservatives and moderate swing justice Anthony Kennedy suggested if the mandate was gone, the whole thing should be scrapped.
ANTONIN SCALIA: When have we ever really struck down what was the main purpose of the act and left the rest in effect?
CRAWFORD: The typically blunt Justice Scalia suggested it would be better if Congress started with a clean slate instead of the court deciding which of the law's other provisions could stand. And he joked that reading the 2700-page law would violate a constitutional amendment, cruel and unusual punishment.
SCALIA: What happened to the Eighth Amendment? You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?
CRAWFORD: Liberal justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg pushed to save the rest of the massive health care law.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Why shouldn't we say it's a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you are requesting, or a salvage job? And the more conservative approach would be salvage rather than throwing out everything.
CRAWFORD: The Obama administration concedes that without the mandate, popular provisions like banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions would be doomed. Now, going into these hearings, there were a lot of people, particularly a lot of supporters who said, "this is an easy case. There's no way this court would strike down that individual mandate." But it is clear after these three days, that was just wishful thinking. This is a really complicated, complex case. It does appear, right now anyway, that there is a majority who's going to strike down not only that requirement we all buy health insurance but perhaps the entire law. We'll know for sure by the end of June.