So what happens now? For a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what the justices do between now and when they issue a ruling, I'm joined by a former Supreme Court clerk. Chris Walker clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy from 2008 to 2009. Chris, welcome to the program.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melisa Block.
The case is submitted. With those words from the chief justice, the three-day marathon at the Supreme Court ended. Today, the justices heard two sets of arguments over the federal health care law. There were sessions in the morning and afternoon with two separate questions to consider.
NPR's Ari Shapiro is with me in the studio to describe what happened. And, Ari, let's start with the morning arguments, a key question there hinging on yesterday's arguments.
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 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.
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 Chris Hondros / Getty Images
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.
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.
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.