Win / Win / Win / Maybe Win

Remember the ruling by a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court that some state’s Obamacare subsidies were unconstitutional? Well, it’s dead, Jim.

In July, two Republican judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed down a decision defunding much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This effort to implement Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) top policy priority from the bench was withdrawn on Thursday by the DC Circuit, and the case will be reheard by the full court — a panel that will most likely include 13 judges. In practical terms, this means that July’s judgment cutting off subsidies to consumers who buy insurance plans in federally-operated health exchanges is no more. It has ceased to be. It is, in fact, an ex-judgment.

There appears to be a broad consensus that there’s little chance the anti-subsidy ruling will be heard from again. In other court news, an appeals court killed gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana, and another federal court restored early voting in Ohio.

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty today of a whole bunch of corruption. I don’t think they’ve been sentenced yet.

Big fun in Kansas — the Democrat Chad Taylor, who was campaigning to take Pat Roberts’s Senate seat, dropped out of the race. Oh noes! But this was a tactical decision. There’s an independent also running for the seat and raising more money, and this guy, Greg Orman, is expected to caucus with Democrats if he wins. Orman and Taylor were running on nearly identical platforms. The pair had been expected to spit the not stupid vote, and Roberts hadn’t even been campaigning. By several accounts the GOP is genuinely panicked it could lose a seat in the Senate.

Rand Paul Versus the World

I don’t pay that much attention to Rand, frankly, but it’s significant that today it appears the entire Right has risen up against him and called him crazy.

The story thus far: Not long ago Rand wrote an op ed for the Wall Street Journal arguing (I’m told; it’s behind a firewall) that the U.S. should stay out of Iraq and not take sides between ISIS and the Iraqi government. I can see that a reasonable argument could be made along those lines, so I’ll assume Rand made it.

But now calls for ignoring ISIS are not politically tenable, so a couple of days ago Rand published an article in Time magazine denying that he is an isolationist and blaming President Obama for not doing enough to stop ISIS and for allowing Syria to become a “jihadist wonderland.” Unfortunately for Rand, the ideas expressed in Time still were far too moderate to pass muster on the Right, so he’s being fired upon from many rightie positions, from the Hoover Institute to NRO to Hit & Run.

Steve Benen notes a recent speech by Rand that took another position from those first two. Like Chickenman, he’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

On Wednesday, Paul said he had no use for “interventionists” and the “hawkish members” of his own party who are calling for using force in the Middle East. But just 48 hours later, Paul supports U.S. military intervention abroad to destroy ISIS?

Also keep in mind, less than a month ago, Paul was asked about U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS targets in Iraq. The senator said he had “mixed feelings” about the offensive. Apparently, those feelings are no longer mixed and Paul is now eager to “destroy ISIS militarily” – says the senator who complained last week about Hillary Clinton being a “war hawk.”

At what point do Rand Paul’s loyal followers start to reconsider whether Rand Paul actually agrees with them?

Sarah Smith recently noted that the Kentucky senator has changed his mind about federal aid to Israel, use of domestic drones, immigration, elements of the Civil Rights Act, Guantanamo Bay, and even accepting donations from lawmakers who voted for TARP.

Now, even the basic elements of his approach to using military force are up for grabs.

Oooo, politics is hard.

Ferguson Updates

Right-wing police brutality apologists, plus the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, have been trying to get Michael Brown’s juvenile police record released. The “apologists” were certain Brown had a substantial criminal record as a juvenile, and one conservative “journalist” had widely published a “confirmed report” that the record included an arrest related to second degree murder for which Brown was still facing charges when he was killed.

No record has been released — we don’t know for a fact there is one, actually — but yesterday an official of the St. Louis County Circuit Court released a statement saying that Brown had no convictions of either a Class-A or Class-B felony as a juvenile, nor was he facing any such charges at the time of his death. So no second degree murder charge.

Naturally that cesspool of moral depravity known as “Jim Hoft” turned this statement into an implication that Brown had a record of misdemeanors. One would expect nothing more from Hoft. Of course, in a place where one can be gunned down for jaywalking, misdemeanors might include unauthorized bird watching or the public consumption of toast.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department announced it has begun a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police department.