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.
The Federal Aviation Administration has announced dates it plans to cut funding to 149 contract air traffic control towers — including two in Alabama.
Federal officials Wednesday announced funding will be cut to regional airports in Tuscaloosa and Dothan on May 5. FAA officials say airport operators have the choice to continue operating as a non-towered airport or continue providing services as a non-federal control tower.
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 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.
With Mississippi legalizing home brewing, Alabama is now the only state that doesn't allow citizens to brew small amounts of beer or wine at home for personal use.
Home brewing enthusiasts have been trying since 2009 to get the Alabama Legislature to legalize what several thousand people are already doing illegally. But they have always met with strong opposition. Home brewing bills have won approval from legislative committees and could come up for a vote in the House or Senate soon.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.