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  Analysis: Justice Kagan--Giving liberals a rhetorical lift
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ContributorJason 
Last EditedJason  Apr 06, 2012 08:21pm
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CategoryAnalysis
MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateSaturday, April 7, 2012 02:20:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionWASHINGTON (Reuters) - During three days of arguments over the Obama healthcare plan, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan put on a display of rhetorical firepower, reinforcing predictions that the newest liberal justice is best equipped to take on the conservative, five-man majority controlling the bench.

The strong views and persuasive tactics of the administration's former top lawyer could affect the fate of the healthcare overhaul, as well as decisions in other ideologically charged issues that will come before the court, such as same-sex marriage.

Kagan's sturdy advocacy was evident to law professors and to lawyers who practice before the court during her first term. But the healthcare debate has offered her a more prominent platform with bigger stakes. She pressed her argument as ardently as any lawyer who stepped to the lectern.

At the final session on the final day of arguments, attorney Paul Clement, representing 26 states challenging the healthcare law, had barely uttered three opening sentences when Kagan pounced.

What followed was one of the most aggressive exchanges of the entire three days. It centered on a provision expanding eligibility for Medicaid, the joint state-federal program that pays for poor people's healthcare. Kagan tried to puncture Clement's argument that bringing more people into the program would impinge on states' sovereignty and further strain their budgets, even though the government would pick up 90 percent of the cost.
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