This just in
July 22, 2014
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A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld ObamaCare's subsidies — the same day another appeals court ruled against them.

In a unanimous ruling, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the health care law permits the federal government to provide subsidies to people who purchase health insurance in every state. Plaintiffs had argued that a poorly-worded section of the law implied the government could only provide subsidies in states that opted to set up their own health care exchange programs, and not in states where the feds run those exchanges. The law specifically states that subsidies can go to people who buy coverage "through an Exchange established by the State," though the 4th Circuit said lawmakers clearly intended the law to be broader than that.

Here's the crux of the ruling:

However, when conducting statutory analysis, "a reviewing court should not confine itself to examining a particular statutory provision in isolation. Rather, [t]he meaning — or ambiguity — of certain words or phrases may only become evident when placed in context." With this in mind, the defendants' primary counterargument points... provide an equally plausible understanding of the statute, and one that...comports with the IRS's interpretation that credits are available nationwide. [PDF]

Earlier in the day, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the letter of the law meant subsidies were null in more than half the states. That ruling — which the White House has said it will appeal — could have affected millions of Americans who depend on the subsidies to purchase affordable care, and potentially undermined the viability of the entire health care law. Jon Terbush

Nailed it
4:52 p.m. ET
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Every nail salon in New York will be required to post a workers' bill of rights in plain view of employees and customers, The New York Times reports. The announcement comes after the newspaper highlighted widespread exploitation and abuse of manicurists, many of whom are new immigrants.

The posters Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed Friday will be printed in 10 languages. They include information about minimum wage, tipping, safety measures, and a phone number to report violations. Officials will also hand out information cards to consumers outlining questions they should ask upon entering nail salons.

"We’re asking New Yorkers to help; we're asking New Yorkers to get involved," Cuomo said at a news conference with New York City advocate Letitia James. Julie Kliegman

Coming Soon
4:28 p.m. ET
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Empire's first season aired its finale in March, and fans have been eagerly waiting to find out when they'll finally get to see all those dangling cliffhangers resolved.

Unfortunately, the season two premiere date is still pretty far away — but at last you can put it down on your calendar. Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie, took to Twitter to reveal that Empire will return on September 23. Set your DVRs accordingly. Scott Meslow

court reports
4:15 p.m. ET
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Creator of black market website Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

After its 2011 launch, Ulbricht ran the underground cyber-bazaar, where anonymous users used the cryptocurrency bitcoin to purchase drugs, hacking tools, and fake identification, for about two years before he was arrested.

Ulbricht received the maximum sentence for his felony convictions of conspiracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Stephanie Talmadge

Only in America
3:52 p.m. ET
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A Texas high school senior was suspended and barred from graduation this week after a can of Bud Light was found in a cooler in his truck. Quintin Walker says he didn't realize the single beer can was still in the soda-filled cooler that his mother had packed for a family picnic the previous weekend. "I worked 12 years to walk across that stage," Walker said. "It's just crazy." The Week Staff

indictments
3:19 p.m. ET
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Former U.S. House speaker Dennis Hastert reportedly paid off a man to conceal past sexual misconduct, two federal law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times. A federal grand jury indicted Hastert on Thursday for allegedly evading currency reporting requirements. He reportedly withdrew the cash to give to an unidentified person, who one official claimed is a man Hastert wanted to conceal a past relationship with.

The alleged misconduct, which one source called "sex" and the other confirmed involved sexual abuse, dates back to Hastert's stint as a Yorkville, Illinois, high school wrestling coach and teacher, LAT reports.

"It goes back a long way, back to then," one source told the paper. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office." Julie Kliegman

raise a glass
3:14 p.m. ET

Yes, we know that Bud Light basically tastes like water anyway. But for victims of the devastating floods in Texas and Oklahoma, actual drinking water is essential right now. Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, which makes big-name beers like Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Corona, and tons more, decided to halt beer production at its Georgia brewery in order to produce 2,000 24-packs of drinking water, which are currently en route with the Red Cross to flood victims in Texas and Oklahoma.

"It's something we're uniquely positioned to do," brewery manager Rob Haas told NBC. And for once, we can truly say we are thankful for Big Beer. Samantha Rollins

2016 Watch
2:43 p.m. ET
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Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to formally enter the 2016 presidential race June 3, a source told Politico on Friday. Chafee's spokesperson told MSNBC there'd be a "major announcement."

Chafee, 62, became a Democrat midway through his term as governor, which ended earlier this year. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican.

Chafee is slated to speak at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. He would face Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and likely former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (expected to announce Saturday) in a Democratic primary. Julie Kliegman

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