Oh Happy Day for Prop 8 Plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier as they tied the knot
Annie-Rose Strasser: On Friday afternoon, the ninth circuit court lifted its stay on same-sex marriages in the state of California, acknowledging the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hollingsworth v Perry that supporters of anti-gay Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal a lower court judge’s ruling that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The move, which came earlier than expected, allows gay and lesbian couples to begin getting married immediately.
As soon as the news came down from the ninth circuit on Friday, California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris began marrying couples — starting with Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier
Random Pic: President Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew outside the Oval Office, May 1, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
11:45: The President meets with Secretary of the Treasury Lew
12:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:0: The President meets with CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs to discuss the importance of commonsense immigration reform
NYT: Within days, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a series of decisions that could transform three fundamental social institutions: marriage, education and voting.
The extraordinary run of blockbuster rulings due in the space of a single week will also reshape the meaning of legal equality and help define for decades to come one of the Constitution’s grandest commands: “the equal protection of the laws.”
If those words require only equal treatment from the government, the rulings are likely to be a mixed bag that will delight and disappoint liberals and conservatives in equal measure. Under that approach, same-sex couples who want to marry would be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics could find it harder to get into college and to vote.
SCOTUS Blog: On Monday, June 24, we will begin live blogging at 9 a.m. ET.
Michael Tomasky: Today begins one of the biggest weeks in the Supreme Court’s recent history. Certainly the biggest since it decided on Obamacare almost exactly a year ago, and I would say even bigger, because while that was a huge deal in a news sense, these decisions will drill right into the muscle and bone of our competing constitutional theories in this country—whether the Constitution is a living document that permits judges to use it to reach conclusions about changing social morality (the liberal view), or whether it should do no such thing and judges should never think about “outcomes” (the conservative one). The decisions should certainly focus liberals’ minds on what a crucial role the Court plays in shaping our lives, and the fact that we have four justices, two on each side, age 75 or older is a reminder of how the next president may well shape the nature and size of the Court’s majority for at least a generation to come, maybe two.
Time: Republicans used their majority to cut short debate and give preliminary approval early Monday to some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country as time was running out on the Texas Legislature’s special session.
Many members of the conservative majority had flyers on their desks that read “Psalm 139:13-14,” which reads in part, “You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Democrats gained strength from more than 800 demonstrators who packed the hallways of the Capitol carrying signs reading, “Stop the War on Women” to oppose Senate Bill 5. The measure would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and limit abortions to surgical centers.
Steve Benen: Where in the world is Edward Snowden?” is proving to be a rather complicated question.
….. there was apparently some drama in Moscow’s airport this morning, when there was heavy security surrounding a flight to Havana. Journalists tracking Snowden’s whereabouts quickly bought tickets on the flight, only to discover once they were on board and the doors were shut that he would not be on the plane.
It is, incidentally, a 12-hour flight from Moscow to Havana, which those journalists are apparently taking for no reason. On the other hand, it’ll be a whole lot of frequent-flier miles for them.
….. All of this, by the way, is turning into quite an international media spectacle. The New York Times front-page report on Snowden’s whereabouts this morning featured reporting from ten journalists in five cities on two continents…. Who knew the Snowden story would become a full-employment initiative for reporters?
9:55: President Obama Speaks on the BRAIN Initiative
12:0: Open for Questions: Brain Initiative (WH live)
12:05: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the “42” Film Workshop (WH live)
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:10: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore
5:35: President Obama hosts cast and crew members of the movie ’42’, a biographical film about Jackie Robinson, for a screening at the White House
8:45: Vice President Biden Speaks at the 2013 Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards
NYT: President Obama on Tuesday will announce a broad new research initiative, starting with $100 million in 2014, to invent and refine new technologies to understand the human brain….
A senior administration scientist compared the new initiative to the Human Genome Project, in that it is directed at a problem that has seemed insoluble up to now: the recording and mapping of brain circuits in action in an effort to “show how millions of brain cells interact.”
Washington Post: Gun-control measures that seemed destined to become law after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., are in jeopardy amid a fierce lobbying campaign by firearms advocates.
Despite months of negotiations, key senators have been unable to find a workable plan for near-universal background checks on gun purchases — an idea that polls show nine in 10 Americans support.
Another provision that garnered bipartisan support — making gun trafficking a federal crime — could be gutted if Republican lawmakers accept new language being circulated by the National Rifle Association.
Jonathan Capehart: Dana Milbank, like so many of my other fellow pundits, is placing blame on President Obama for the “congressional inertia” that has stymied advancement of proposals to stem gun violence. What more Obama could do than he’s already done is beyond me. One look at the House of Representatives and you know that anything he wants to do or is in favor of doing is dead on arrival over there.
…. Imagine how much could get done if Obama’s consistent calls for help from the American people on gun violence were backed up by a consistent flood of calls to congressional district and Capitol Hill offices. The president has done as much as he can possibly do. With the Senate set to consider anti-gun-violence bills next week, where’s his backup?
Greg Sargent: Every Senator who is refusing to support expanded background checks — Republican or Democrat — needs to be asked a simple question: Do you support the current background system, or do you see it as an infringement on the rights of the law-abiding?
Every one of them will answer with a Yes, because they are taking refuge behind the idea that the current law needs to be strengthened in various ways but not expanded. Once they are on record confirming they don’t view the current system as a threat to Constitutional rights, the arguments against expanding it dissolve into incoherence.
Steve Benen: There are 55 members of the Senate Democratic caucus …. 47 of them have now publicly declared their support for marriage equality. The latest is Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey.
….with each similar announcement, the pressure rises on the remaining eight Senate Democrats who have not yet endorsed marriage equality: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida, Tom Carper of Delaware, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Bloomberg: Chrysler Group LLC, joining U.S. automakers in fielding their most competitive cars in decades, said its March U.S. sales rose 5 percent as the Dodge Dart compact helped extend a streak of monthly gains.
Sales for Chrysler climbed to 171,606 cars and light trucks from 163,381 a year earlier …. The automaker set sales records with its Dodge Dart, Avenger, Challenger and Chrysler 200 cars as well as its Ram pickups.
Chrysler’s U.S. vehicle sales have increased 36 consecutive months, the longest stretch in the company’s records that date back to 1985…
Marketwatch: …. Ford’s newest vehicles – Fusion and Escape – set all-time monthly sales records in March, driving Ford’s best U.S. sales results since May 2007.
“Customers are buying our all-new Fusion and Escape in record numbers, and we are working harder than ever to keep pace with demand for these fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Full-size pickup demand continues gaining momentum, outperforming the industry for the third consecutive month.”
The selling of Senator Aqua Buddha continues apace. Time now has joined the parade, explaining that junior is peddling a superior brand of more easily digestible horsepucky than his old man peddled, and that makes all the difference….
…. Seriously, the filibuster failed, and was “electrifying” only to those people who dropped a fan in the bathtub while listening to it….
There is no question that Aqua Buddha is a superior tap-dancer to his father, but ….. you nod along for five minutes and, at the 5:00:01 mark, you hear something that’s so nakedly opportunistic — Benghazi, BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI! — that you wonder if you’ve accidentally wandered into Sunday dinner at the Romneys…..
Since November, the prospective death of the Republican coalition has hovered over American politics, and the autopsy has gained renewed attention in light of the debates over gay marriage and immigration, both of which split the GOP from rising chunks of the electorate. I’m an advocate of the theory, first put forward a decade ago by Ruy Teixeira and John Judis, that the electorate is forming a natural Democratic majority. The Republican Party appears to be caught in a double bind, in which the electorate is growingly progressively less white, and even younger white voters hold less conservative views than older ones. What’s more, evidence suggests that voters maintain the partisan allegiances they form at a young age. The picture looks grim for the GOP.
NYT: Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is likely to be the next United States ambassador to Japan, according to people familiar with the appointment process.
The vetting of Ms. Kennedy by the White House is almost complete, and an appointment could be announced in the coming weeks, along with the names of several other choices for important diplomatic posts…
11:40: President Obama delivers remarks on common-sense measures to protect children from gun violence; VP Biden also attends
12:30: Press Briefing by Josh Earnest
2:10: The President welcomes President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House
Michael Tomasky: Matters look bleak indeed when 50 senators vote for a measure requiring that any bill changing gun laws get a two-thirds majority. Nothing else, not taxes, not anything (except some internal Senate rules), requires a two-thirds vote. That 50 senators voted this way — including six Democrats — shows what a collection of cowards and lickspittles these people are on the issue. If the NRA said gun bills should only be passed after sundown on Tuesdays between Columbus Day and the Ascension of Abdul Baha, they’d rush in with amendments stipulating that it also had to be raining. And yet, there is still a chance — yes, even with the assault-weapons ban dead — that the Senate at least will pass some fairly decent legislation. The NRA can still lose here. It’s important that you know this. They don’t want you to.
Steve Benen: The steady and heartening progress we saw earlier in the year on initial unemployment claims appears to have hit a discouraging bump:
The number of people applying for new unemployment-insurance benefits rose 16,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 23, reaching the highest level since mid-February, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday….
It’s hard to tell just yet, but it’s worth watching in the coming weeks whether (and how much) congressional Republicans’ sequestration cuts are responsible for pushing these numbers higher.
Steve Benen: A couple of months ago, we talked about a preliminary report showing the U.S. economy shrunk slightly in the last three months of 2012. Today, that figure received its second and final revision, and though it’s hardly great news, the economy at least fared better than previously believed.
….. without the “unusually large drop in government spending,” economic growth would have been significantly stronger.
It’s with this news in mind that congressional Republicans are arguing that the nation will benefit if they slash public investments further and take additional capital out of the economy.
Jonathan Bernstein: Here’s how myths get started. Over the weekend, Alyene Senger at Heritage ran an item called “Obamacare at Three Years: Increasing Cost Estimates.”….
…. she has a chart showing estimated new costs rising from $898 billion in March 2010 to $1.6 trillion in February 2013…..
The chart is important, because it’s easily exportable. So David Frum today ran an item which was just the chart; the only thing Frum added was a one-sentence introduction, “The estimated costs of Obamacare keep rising.”
I haven’t looked, but I’m sure the chart will get plenty of play.
Charles Blow: Witnessing a historic moment is such an odd and exhilarating thing. It is hard to register the full scope of it because you are chest deep in it.
That is how I feel about the gay-marriage arguments made before the Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday.
However the court rules on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act, there is no denying that something historic has just happened: an aggrieved group has taken a stand and given voice once again to the American — and indeed Democratic — ideals of justice and fairness and freedom.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto meets with President Obama at the White House, November 2012
Statement by the Press Secretary: President Obama will travel to Mexico and Costa Rica May 2-4….
In Mexico, the President looks forward to meeting with President Peña Nieto and welcomes the opportunity to discuss ways to deepen our economic and commercial partnership and further our engagement on the broad array of bilateral, regional, and global issues that connect our two countries.
In Costa Rica, the President looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Chinchilla as well as heads of state of the other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, whom President Chinchilla has offered to host
President Obama watches as Julia Pierson is sworn in as the first woman Director of the Secret Service by VP Biden in the Oval Office, March 27 (Photo: Pete Souza)
President Obama was interviewed by Univision and Telemundo today – the interviews are embargoed until 6:30PM EST
Steve Benen: After yesterday’s Supreme Court oral arguments on marriage rights and California’s Prop 8, court watchers and those on hand for the proceedings seemed reluctant to predict the outcome. It’s not just that speculation based solely on oral arguments is inherently risky, but also that real uncertainty hangs over the case.
That seems far less true 24 hours later. NBC’s Pete Williams told viewers this afternoon, “Again with the caveat, it’s always risky to predict, it does seem that there are at least five votes on the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.” Jeffrey Toobin added, “DOMA is in trouble.”
The New York Times report noted that Justice Kennedy “joined the four liberals in posing skeptical questions.”
Charles Pierce: Today, in the second half of the marriage equality twin-bill before the Supreme Court, the Defense Of Marriage Act gets its day in front of the be-robed ladies and gentlemen, and we might at last be putting the 1996 presidential campaign, and the influence of political Svengali Dick Morris, behind us. We may see the end of the era of triangulation. Yesterday, it became clear to most observers that the Court was fully prepared to punt on the case involving California’s Proposition 8, letting the issue devolve back to the states. That is not an option here. Either DOMA’s denial of over 1000 federal benefits and protections available to straight couples is constitutional or it is not. There are a number of reasons why it may not be, most of them involving such fundamental constitutional principles as equal protection of the laws, the full faith and credit clause, and the enumerated powers of the Congress. Politically, however, the law is both preposterous and obsolete.
McClatchy: President Obama will meet Thursday with mothers who want to see gun control efforts succeed, the White House says, amid questions of whether gun control legislation is lagging, some 100 days after the school shooting in Connecticut.
Obama will meet with law enforcement officials, victims of gun violence and other “stakeholders,” spokesman Josh Earnest said. The event comes as Obama’s gun violence prevention proposals have faced a series of roadblocks: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., last week announced that an assault weapons ban she championed won’t be included in the larger gun bill Democrats will introduce on the Senate floor next month.
Joe Deaser (The Hill): As a proud gun store owner, an avid outdoorsman, and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, I know that recreational firearm use can be a safe, family-friendly activity that builds community and benefits everyone who takes part. But I also know that with our constitutional right to bear arms comes a responsibility to protect our loved ones and our neighbors from the devastating effects of gun violence.
In order to do just that, my fellow gun owners must come together to support perhaps the most logical and pragmatic gun safety measure currently under consideration in Washington: expanding the existing background check system to require criminal background checks for each and every gun sale.
Charles Pierce: Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is rapidly moving to the top of the leader board for this year’s Al From Trophy, which the blog hands out annually to its least favorite putative Democrat. (The scramble for the cup has become frenzied since the retirement of perennial contenders Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman, who were the Frazier and Ali of disreputable political sellouts.) Today, she pretty much told Michael Bloomberg to keep those (black) criminals in New York City in line before he spends all his (newyorkjew) money up in Jesusland to tell the people there what’s what about their shootin’ ‘arns.
…. according to the rookie senator, gun violence is not a national issue requiring national solutions, because that might inconvenience her in her increasingly ridiculous home state.
Sun-Times: First Lady Michelle Obama returns home to Chicago on April 10 to address youth violence in Chicago, marking her first local move to deal with reducing crime in her city.
According to the White House, Mrs. Obama will speak at a “Joint Luncheon Meeting: Working Together to Address Youth Violence in Chicago,” hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, which will include members of Chicago’s leading civic organizations: the Commercial Club, the Economic Club, the Executives’ Club, and World Business Chicago.
Steve Benen: It’s been about two weeks since Brian Beutler coined a helpful phrase: “sequestration NIMBYism.” Republicans love the sequester policy they hated as recently as last month, and think it’s terrific that these deep, mindless spending cuts have taken effect.
But they’re not at all pleased about sequestration cuts that hurt their own constituents…
Vice President Joe Biden participates in a post-game cheer with the University of Delaware’s Lady Blue Hens in their locker room after their 78-69 victory over the University of North Carolina in the 2nd round of the NCAA playoffs, at Bob Carper Arena in Newark
Perry Bacon: While polls differ on the exact level of black support for gay marriage, almost half of African-Americans in Maryland backed a provision allowing gay marriages there last fall, and opposition to gay marriage has dipped below 50 percent among blacks nationally, according to the Pew Research Center. And Obama’s statement made it easier for influential African-American organizations, such as the NAACP, also to voice their support for gay marriage, as well as professional athletes, even if some influential pastors in many black communities still opposed it.
Obama’s words also caused a profound shift among his fellow politicians. It had always been expected Obama would declare his support for gay marriage, but in 2013 or 2014, after he had won re-election by focusing on other issues. Instead, the president illustrated backing gay marriage was not politically risky, declaring his support for gay unions and then winning not just in liberal states like California and New York but in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and other places with sizable blocs of conservatives and religious voters who some thought would turn out in droves to defeat a candidate who supported gay marriage.
Obama did not tout himself as the civil rights candidate in either of his two presidential runs. But if gay marriage becomes commonplace throughout America by the end of his second term, something that seems entirely possible right now, that could become an important part of his legacy as president.
Jamelle Bouie: Indeed, it’s tempting to argue—as Chris Cillizza does—that national outrage notwithstanding, the Sandy Hook massacre has done little to change the political landscape on gun control.
This, to me, is the wrong way to think of the issue. The shift from a political climate that could tolerate gun control to one that couldn’t took more than a decade. Even with the tragedies at Newtown, Aurora, and other places across the country, it’s unreasonable to expect the pendulum to swing back at a more rapid pace. What’s key about Sandy Hook isn’t that it yields new legislation, it’s that it inspires new activism around gun control, and provides energy for the long effort to build a political coalition unafraid of the cultural politics that surround guns.
Sandy Hook—helped along by a new Democratic majority of urbanites and nonwhites—has changed the politics of gun control. It will just take awhile for us to see the effects.
How To Prove Obama LOWERED The Deficit In Four Easy And Indisputable Steps
Addicting Info: The GOP, Fox News and AM Hate Radio regularly complain that Obama has raised the deficit. This is a lie. A very VERY big lie. It’s such a big lie and so easy to prove as a big lie that the fact 90% of the country thinks it’s true is one the greatest failures of the “liberal” media since they couldn’t be bothered to vet the Iraq War. The problem is that conservatives don’t want to know, independents can’t be bothered to look and liberals should be deeply ashamed for not knowing.
But worry not! It’s very VERY easy to clear up this misperception (and piss off conservatives to boot!) in just 4 simple steps.
How Getting Rid Of The Defense Of Marriage Act Will Boost The Economy
ThinkProgress: The Supreme Court will today hear oral arguments in the case against the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that denies equal federal benefits to couples who are legally married under state law and also burdens families and the federal government.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that DOMA increases the deficit by roughly $1 billion a year, and while that amount is small, striking it down would save far more than ending subsidies to NPR or some of the other “deficit reduction” ideas Republicans have pursued in the past.
Today in egg on face derp news from Chris Cillizza. He’s shocked that people still really really really like President Obama. :roll:
People (still) really like President Obama
Chris Cillizza: Nearly six in ten Americans have a favorable impression of President Obama in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, numbers that suggest that even as the chief executive engages in a series of thorny policy fights his personal appeal remains strongly intact.
Fifty-seven percent of people view Obama favorably in the new Post-ABC survey while 41 percent regard him unfavorably. Those numbers are remarkably similar to the 60 percent favorable/37 percent unfavorable ratings for Obama in Post-ABC polling conducted in late January — just weeks after the president had been inaugurated for a second term.
Bloomberg: Sales of new U.S. houses in February capped the best back-to-back months in more than four years, spurred by near record-low borrowing costs and improving job prospects.
…. The increase in demand is contributing to growth as it ripples through the economy, boosting home-improvement retailers, appliance and furniture makers and builders….
“Housing is going to have a strong year this year and it’s going to have a strong year next year,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight …. “Housing is one of the key factors that’s going to get the economy back on track.”
Join VoteVets.org and tell your Senators that you support universal background checks – here
Thank you LadyHawke
A bit late with this:
You couldn’t make it up…..
Mediaite: Vocally “anti-Sharia law” GOP lawmakers in Tennessee had their fears quelled this week when they were assured that a mop sink in one state Capitol building was not secretly installed for use as a Muslim foot-washing station.
WH: Yesterday, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments that celebrate our nation’s rich history and natural heritage. The monuments, located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, and also help protect natural resources and supporting economic growth in local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation.
“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” President Obama said. “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”
VP Biden quite pleased about President Obama signing a bill designating the First State Monument, in Delaware, a National Monument, during a bill signing ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House on March 25
MoooOOOOoooorning (again) everyone, thanks again to Symmetry for the post below.
Steve Benen: It will be a historic day at the Supreme Court this morning, as part of a historic week. Today, the justices will consider the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a law generally known as Proposition 8, followed by related arguments tomorrow challenging the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Let’s briefly review what to expect today.
At issue is a case called Hollingsworth v. Perry, brought forward by legal heavyweights — David Boies and former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who faced against one another in Bush v. Gore — challenging California’s ban, approved in 2008. They were successful at both the federal district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, though as Adam Liptak explained, the latter court issued a narrower ruling: the jurists concluded that “voters were not entitled to withdraw a constitutional right once it had been established by the State Supreme Court.”
The reasoning appeared calculated to appeal to Justice Anthony Kennedy, and if upheld, it would not automatically invalidate other bans on marriage equality in other states. More on him later.
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich Says “Same Sex Couples Should Be Able To Marry”
BuzzFeed: “I believe that same sex couples should be able to marry and should have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other married couple,” the Alaskan senator said in what appears to be his first direct statement on the subject.
“Government should keep out of individuals’ personal lives—if someone wants to marry someone they love, they should be able to. Alaskans are fed up with government intrusion into our private lives, our daily business, and in the way we manage our resources and economy,” he continued.
Starbucks CEO Doubles Down on Gay-Marriage Support, Telling Shareholder to Sell Stake if He Doesn’t Like Views
Time: “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” Schultz said, to applause from the audience.
SCOTUSBlog: At 10 a.m. we expect one or more opinions in argued cases. There will be no live blog this morning, but we will post on opinions promptly.
Following opinions, the Justices will hear oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a challenge to the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Lyle has written on the issues and briefs in the case here, here, here, and here. Amy’s preview “In Plain English” is here. A Q&A on the basics of the same-sex marriage cases from Greg Stohr of Bloomberg is here.