The Gabfest on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the renewed pressure to sanction members of Vladamir Putin’s government, the latest conservative legal challenge to Obamacare, and The New Yorker’s profile of Vice President Joe Biden.

Will Biden Run in 2016?

Will Biden Run in 2016?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
July 25 2014 10:28 AM

The “Joe Biden’s White Teeth” Edition

Listen to Slate’s show about the crisis in Ukraine and the geopolitical fallout from Flight MH17, the latest legal challenge to Obamacare, and Joe Biden’s 2016 aspirations.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, David Plotz, John Dickerson, and Emily Bazelon talk about the international fallout from Flight MH17 with special guest Julia Ioffe of the New Republic. They also discuss conflicting rulings on another legal challenge to Obamacare and Joe Biden’s 2016 aspirations.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

  • Although American intelligence agencies and Western media outlets have mostly blamed Ukrainian separatists for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the rebels have denied responsibility. Russian media is floating a range of conspiracy theories that absolve Vladamir Putin.
  • Reuters interviewed a top rebel commander who confirmed that separatists had BUK missile systems during the time of the crash.
  • The EU is debating the types of sanctions it will level against Russia, but divergent economic interests have prevented multilateral action.
  • Weary from a decade of war in the Middle East, most Americans oppose any U.S. intervention in Ukraine.
  • In some ways, the fate of MH17 resembles that of Iran Air Flight 655, which was accidentally shot down by an American naval cruiser during skirmishes with Iranian gunboats in the late ’80s.
  • Putin released a video statement on the crisis in Ukraine at 1:40 a.m.
  • On Tuesday, two circuit appeals courts issued conflicting rulings over the legality of tax subsidies given to individuals in the 36 states with federal government-run health care exchanges.
  • Chevron deference is a legal principle that allows government agencies the power to enforce laws as they interpret them unless the interpretation is unreasonable.
  • Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell are two of several legal challenges to Obamacare that are in the news this week. Sen. Ron Johnson’s Obamacare lawsuit was tossed out by a federal judge on Monday, and Speaker John Boehner marches on with his suit against President Obama for failing to effectively implement parts of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the majority of Obamacare in 2012, gutting the Medicaid expansion but leaving most of the law intact. The case today is much weaker, so it’s unlikely that he’d eliminate the subsidies should Halbig or King reach the Supreme Court.
  • Evan Osnos penned a comprehensive profile of Vice President Biden, detailing the VP’s desire to run for president.
  • A key problem for a Biden campaign is his lack of a built-in constituency. Even Dick Cheney represents an ideological wing of the GOP that’s maintained allegiance to him—in 2012, he was used by the Romney campaign to raise money.
  • If Hillary Clinton decides not to run, Biden will be the most recognizable name in the Democratic field.

Emily chatters about Lucky Us: A Novel by Amy Bloom.

David chatters about D.C.’s scrapped plan to build Fort Circle Drive, a road that would connect all of the city’s former Civil War forts.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. The email address for the Political Gabfest is (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Max Tani.