Here's some of the early word about today's Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of the nation's new health care overhaul law:
-- Five Justices Were Tough: Five members of the court "beat him up pretty hard," NPR's Nina Totenberg says of how the justices treated the counsel representing the government. But she also says, "I don't think you can call this," when asked about whether the court will or won't strike down the so-called individual mandate in the law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy "seem to be in play," Nina reports.
Today's arguments hit the core of the Affordable Care Act: the mandate that requires just about everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014.
And the U.S. Supreme Court's justices appeared split on whether the federal government can force people to buy health insurance. The court's conservatives appeared skeptical and unmoved by the government's arguments in favor of the mandate.
"The government had a hard time, and if they win, they win narrowly," NPR's Nina Totenberg reported from outside the court. "I don't think you can call this."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Michel Martin is away this week. Coming up, some people say that having an African-American president has changed the way the country talks about race, but has that change been for the better? One columnist doesn't think so. That's in a moment. First we want to get an update on a case that has sparked a passionate debate about race and ethnicity.
The Trayvon Martin case is bringing conversations about race to the front pages, the airwaves, and dinner tables. Even the president weighed in on the shooting last week. But freelance journalist Reniqua Allen writes in The Washington Post that having a black president is making those conversations harder to have, not easier.
I'm Jacki Lyden and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away this week. Coming up, after a successful presidential runoff in Senegal and a military overthrow in Mali, we'll talk about questions of leadership in West Africa. That's coming up.
But, first, we turn our attention to Cuba, where Pope Benedict is continuing his tour of Latin America. He's in the midst of a three day visit to the island. Tens of thousands of people greeted him in Santiago last night.