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The Polls That Matter

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There will be a flurry of polls over the next few days about people's attitudes towards the Affordable Care Act, but the ACA will not be on the ballot in November. The important thing to watch is whether or not the polling numbers of President Obama and Governor Romney move in the next few weeks, especially in the battleground states which are the only ones either campaign is spending advertising dollars in.

To keep an eye on that, Real Clear Politics has a nifty map that tracks the current state of the electoral college vote. They average the polling data in the states and compile a map that shows states that are strongly leaning one way or the other, marginally leaning, and toss-ups. Keep an eye on these numbers in the weeks ahead.

Happy Feast

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Today is the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, founders of the Church of Rome to which we RCs throughout the world all get to belong. The ties that bind us to Rome, like all familial ties, are not without there moments of challenge and misunderstanding. But, at Mass this morning, the Holy Father presided at an altar constructed over the tomb of the man who was Jesus' best friend when He walked the face of the earth. That is one tie that binds and binds happily.

Now, the Politics

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Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling will long be parsed for its constitutional significance. Certainly, the nation is better served by a Chief Justice who understands he must mind the Court’s place in our political and constitutional system, and not let the Court become yet another institution overwhelmed by partisanship, than it would be by a Chief Justice who was willing to run roughshod over the other branches. Certainly, yesterday was not a good day for the Commerce Clause: The decision was not, as most observers have it, really a 5-4 decision so much as it was a 4-1-4 decision, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the conservatives on the principle and with the liberals on the application. Roberts played the role of Casuist-in-Chief, and in a polarized political and legal climate, three cheers for the casuistic temperament.

USCCB Weighs In on SCOTUS Decision

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The USCCB has issued a statement with which, mimicking court language, I concur in part and dissent in part. The bishops reiterate their call to fix those things in the ACA they find objectionable, but they also reiterate their unwillingness to join calls for the law's repeal. I obviously concur with the need they identify for more robust conscience protection language. I also concur with the bishops that one of the principal failings of the law is its failure to extend coverage to undocumented immigrants and their families.

CHA Hearts SCOTUS - UPDATED

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UPDATED - The following statement was issued by Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, regarding the Supreme Court's decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act:

The Catholic Health Association is taking time to carefully read and evaluate the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and may have additional comments once our review is complete.

We are pleased that, based on an initial read of the ruling, the ACA has been found constitutional and will remain in effect. CHA has long supported health reform that expands access and coverage to everyone. We signed onto amicus briefs encouraging the Court to find in favor of the ACA’s individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.

As the ruling is examined, Catholic-sponsored health care providers will continue to lead health care transformation – finding new and better ways to provide compassionate, high-quality care while strengthening the communities we serve.

Voter ID Aim Exposed

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State Rep. Mike Turzai of Pennsylvania told a Republican group this past weekend that the purpose of the state's new Voter ID law was all about handing the election to Gov. Romney. I have written about this before. Pennsylvania and most other states have no, repeat no, problem of voter fraud. But, the GOP has enacted these laws that will make it more difficult for poor people to vote, especially those in urban areas who have never had a car, in many states. It is an outrage. Again, I call on my conservative friends to speak out against this. Here is the video from Hardball:

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