The Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage this week, and the Barbershop guys have their own arguments to offer. Guest host Celeste Headlee checks in with culture critic Jimi Izrael, sports writer Pablo Torre, Kai Wright of Colorlines.com, and Republican strategist R. Clarke Cooper.
As Democrats belatedly line up behind marriage equality and Republicans see it as a losing cause for them, all that's left is what the Supreme Court decides. And as Mayor Bloomberg unleashes a $12 million campaign to sway senators on guns, public opinion polls show the issue has less urgency than it had right after Sandy Hook. Plus: South Dakota's Tim Johnson retires and Ashley Judd won't run in Kentucky.
There were dozens of rallies across the nation yesterday, to support a cause that might be losing steam. It's the fight for new gun control laws. President Obama joined family members of recent gun victims at the White House to urge Congress to take action.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right now, members of Congress are back home in their districts and many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents, so I want everybody who's listening to make yourself heard right now.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:34 am
Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.
It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.
In Washington State, radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is leaking from underground containment tanks. The site contains the leftovers from plutonium production, some from World War II, most from the Cold War. And it turns out the federal budget sequester is slowing the cleanup.
From Richland, Washington, Anna King of the Northwest News Network has that story.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:30 pm
President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.
A woman views a Mitt Romney campaign ad in September, a month after the launch of an online government database that is supposed to make it easier for the public to see what political ads air in big markets, and how much is spent on them.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, if you follow sports you might have sympathy - or not - for heartbroken March Madness fans whose schools have already flunked out. We're going to ask why we care so much when our brackets are broken. That conversation is in just a few minutes. But first we want to return to two important cases being argued in the Supreme Court this week.
In 2004, Jim McGreevey was the governor of New Jersey and a rising political star. That was until he admitted his homosexuality, and an improper relationship with a male staff member. What happened next is the subject of the new HBO documentary, Fall To Grace. Host Michel Martin speaks with McGreevy and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
The city of Chicago wants to close dozens of public schools, claiming that money could be better spent. But protests are growing. Hundreds of members of the Chicago Teachers Union and other labor groups rallied yesterday.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. There is new momentum for a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. As usual, it's just a matter of closing the deal. Among those trying to hash out a compromise is the so-called Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. Yesterday, four of them took time out of their congressional recess to visit Arizona for a firsthand look at border security.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Another Democrat steps away from the Senate, the price of previous presidents, and the present president calls out Congress on immigration. It's Wednesday and time for a...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Political courage...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
NPR's Nina Totenberg: On what happens if the court declines to decide.
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)
There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.
But there's a big "if."
As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.
From 'Morning Edition': Nina Totenberg previews Wednesday's case
As we wait for the Supreme Court to convene again at 10 a.m. ET and begin the second of two historic days of oral arguments focusing on legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage, there's a natural question:
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:09 am
South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson says he will not seek a fourth term in the U.S. Senate. The Democrat has served in Washington since winning the lone House seat in 1986. The decision thrills Republican in the state who see a chance to pick up a seat. Democrats are hoping they can field a strong enough candidate to prevent that.
This artist rendering shows attorney Charles J. Cooper, who was defending California's voter-passed ban on gay marriage, addressing the Supreme Court on Tuesday. From left, the justices are Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, (Chief Justice) John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan.
In the thousand-plus or so emails I get each time a ScuttleButton puzzle is posted, I invariably will get dozens and dozens of complaints that it was just too easy, that it insulted their intelligence, that I need to make them more challenging. That was clearly the case last week, as there were nearly 100 such emails.
Well, be careful what you wish for. This week's puzzle is one of the most difficult.
As oral arguments were beginning Tuesday in the first of two same-sex marriage cases inside the Supreme Court, the steps in front of the court were filled with throngs of what looked to be mostly gay-marriage supporters, spilling out in front of the building and to the other side of the street.
About a half hour earlier, a parade of traditional-marriage supporters had arrived, later headed to a rally on the National Mall.
You've probably been hearing a lot about how America's racial and ethnic makeup is changing. Now it seems as though some of these population tipping points are happening sooner than expected. In a few minutes we will talk about the implications of this in areas like the economy and pop culture.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We want to continue our conversation about this country's changing population. We hope you just heard my conversation with demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution and the University of Michigan and he told us that in just five years the majority of Americans under 18 will be members of groups that are minorities now, which is to say not white. That's a lot sooner than demographers had expected that to happen.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, when regular jobs can't be found or don't pay all the bills, many Americans turn to the so-called shadow economy, which is bigger than you might think. We'll talk about that in our conversation about personal finance just ahead. But first, we want to turn, again, to how the government is paying its bills or not. We're talking about the sequestration.
Snow covers flowers in front of the Supreme Court building on Monday in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the justices hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage.
Outside the Supreme Court, lines began forming nearly a week ago. By Monday, the line had snaked down the court steps and to the corner, with people braving freezing temperatures and snow in anticipation of the historic arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The justices are first hearing a constitutional challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. A second day is devoted to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in the nine states where such unions are legal.
A scene outside the Supreme Court on Monday, as the justices announced they would hear another case involving affirmative action in higher education. Many of those waiting in line at the court in a late-season snowfall were hoping to attend oral arguments on gay-marriage cases being heard Tuesday and Wednesday.
As the national spotlight turns to the U.S. Supreme Court this week with two historic arguments on same-sex marriage, the court on Monday made headlines on another high-profile issue: affirmative action.
Just 10 years ago a narrow court majority upheld affirmative action programs in higher education in an opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But ever since O'Connor retired and was replaced by the more conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the court has been on a steady march to get rid of all race-conscious programs.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 1:42 pm
If you have any interest in politics at all, you pretty much know two things. One, that the next presidential election, on Nov. 8, 2016, is only 1,324 days away. And two, you won't be surprised if people are focusing on it in March of 2013.
Sometimes the speculation is silly, but sometimes it's not. Judging from what we've seen and heard from Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul, the speculation may be on target.