Politics & Government

Around the Nation
11:19 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Respectful Gay Marriage Debate An 'Enormous Step'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Votes May Be There To Strike Down DOMA, But There's A Big 'If'

Demonstrators gathered again outside the Supreme Court Wednesday as the time approached for another case to be heard about issues related to same-sex marriage.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:52 pm

  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: If the court strikes down DOMA, what would be the grounds?
  • NPR's Nina Totenberg: An interesting exchange about the 'power' of DOMA opponents.
  • 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.

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Orange Beach T-shirt ban
7:35 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Orange Beach Votes to Ban Items Deemed Offensive

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for a law banning T-shirts and other merchandise deemed offensive after a recent trip to an Orange Beach souvenir shop.
cityoforangebeach.com

The city council in Orange Beach has approved a measure banning T-shirts and other items deemed offensive.


The council voted 4-1 on Tuesday in favor of the ordinance, which prohibits stores from openly displaying merchandise that could be considered offensive. Al.com (http://bit.ly/13wB8o4) reports that the ordinance restricts items that could be considered offensive to the areas of the stores that only adults can enter.


Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for the law following a recent trip to an Orange Beach souvenir shop.

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Politics & Government
6:56 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Ala Seeking Again to Close Abortion Clinic

Alabama health officials want to shut down New Woman All Women Health Care in Birmingham, calling it an unlicensed abortion provider.
WBRC-TV

Alabama health officials say they're again trying to shut down a Birmingham abortion clinic they claim is operating illegally.


The state asked a judge in Birmingham on Tuesday to close New Woman All Women Health Care, calling it an unlicensed abortion provider.


Operators agreed to shut down the clinic last year after a state investigation found irregularities.


But an attorney for the Department of Public Health, Brian Hale, says the clinic still advertises itself as an abortion provider, and a doctor there still performs the procedure.

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EWTN Health Care lawsuit
6:28 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Judge Tosses Health Lawsuit by Ala-Based EWTN

EWTN's main studio in Irondale, Alabama. The Roman Catholic broadcasting organization is talking with its attorneys after a federal judge dismissed its lawsuit challenging part of the new health care law.
en.wikipedia.org

An Alabama-based religious broadcasting organization is reviewing its options after a federal judge dismissed its lawsuit challenging part of the new federal health care law.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn threw out the lawsuit filed the Irondale-based Eternal Word Television Network in February. The judge says the issue isn't ready for court because rules are still changing.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Day 1 Didn't Tell Us Too Much About Day 2 Of Same-Sex Marriage Cases

An artist's sketch of the scene inside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 10:22 am

  • 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:

Did Day 1 — a case about California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage — tell us much about how the justices will tackle Wednesday's case?

NPR's Nina Totenberg told us Tuesday that the short answer is no.

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Politics
4:09 am
Wed March 27, 2013

GOP Eyes S.D. Senate Seat, Tim Johnson To Retire

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.

State Park Cuts
10:38 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Cuts To State Park Operations May Be Ahead

Cuts to the state parks system could be coming due to new legislation.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

  The state conservation department says it may eliminate some services and cut back hours of operation at state parks across Alabama.


The department's state parks director, Gregory Lien, has written a letter to community leaders explaining the circumstances.


Parks officials said the possible cuts stem from pending legislation that would divert $5 million in tax revenue that has been used in prior years to support the parks. Instead, the parks would rely only on the money they generate, which is not sufficient to maintain services.

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Water Wars
10:19 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Ga. Lawmakers OK Resolution Seeking Border Shift In Tri-State Water Dispute

Georgia lawmakers made a move that could impact a decades long water dispute with Alabama and Florida.
Credit Southern Environmental Law Center

  Georgia lawmakers are seeking to redraw the state's border with Tennessee and have authorized the state attorney general to file a lawsuit if negotiations fail.

The House voted 157-13 Tuesday to adopt a resolution seeking a strip of land leading to the Tennessee River. The offer will be sent to Tennessee officials, who have rebuffed previous efforts.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
6:33 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

At Arguments, Supreme Court Takes Halting Steps Into Gay Marriage Issue

People file into the Supreme Court on Tuesday for the court's hearing on California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 4:58 pm

At the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the moment had finally arrived. After four years of litigation in the lower courts, the Supreme Court was hearing a challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. But minutes into oral arguments, it became clear that the justices may not give either side the clear-cut victory it wants.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Proposition 8 Case Has High Political Stakes For Both Parties

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 4:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We'll learn what the court decides to do about DOMA and California's Proposition 8 sometime this summer. Its options vary widely. But no matter what the result, there will be political implications.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us to walk through some of them.

And, Mara, first, let's talk briefly about this really sea change in public opinion now in favor of same-sex marriage. Could the court reverse that tide in any way?

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It's All Politics
1:15 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Gay Marriage Arguments: Cellphones, The Internet And Fertility Over 55

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.
Dana Verkouteren AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 3:25 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard lively arguments Tuesday in a challenge to California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages.

And, as many learned painfully after last year's court decision to uphold Obamacare, it is risky business to predict how justices will rule later based on questions raised in arguments.

So we won't.

Instead, here are five areas of discussion we found interesting, even if they may not prove predictive of the outcome.

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Political Junkie
11:42 am
Tue March 26, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

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.

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Outside the Supreme Court, The Arguments Continue

A member of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization (right) is confronted by a pro-gay-marriage activist outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 4:58 pm

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.

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Around the Nation
10:32 am
Tue March 26, 2013

The Browning Of A Nation

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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