Joe Biden.

Joe Biden.

Chief Justice John Roberts is a stickler for jurisdictional merits

  • MR. COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: New York's highest court, in a case similar to this one, remarked that until quite recently, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived in any society in which marriage existed -­
  • CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Mr. Cooper, we have jurisdictional and merits issues here. Maybe it'd be best if you could begin with the standing issue.
  • [...]
  • MR. OLSON: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
  • I know that you will want me to spend a moment or two addressing the standing question, but before I do that, I thought that it would be important for this Court to have Proposition 8 put in context, what it does. It walls-off gays and lesbians from marriage, the most important relation in life, according to this Court, thus stigmatizing a class of Californians based upon their status and labeling their most cherished relationships as second-rate, different, unequal, and not okay.
  • CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Mr. Olson, I cut off your friend before he could get into the merits.
  • MR. OLSON: I was trying to avoid that, Your Honor.
  • CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I know -­
  • (Laughter.)
  • [...]
  • GENERAL VERRILLI: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: Proposition 8 denies gay and lesbian persons the equal protection of the laws -­
  • CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: You don't think you're going to get away with not starting with the jurisdictional question, do you?
  • (Laughter.)

Instant Classic: From the SCOTUS transcript on oral arguments about same-sex marriage

bostonreview:

JUSTICE SCALIA: When did it become unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage? Was it 1791? 1868?

TED OLSON: When did it become unconstitutional to ban interracial marriage?

JUSTICE SCALIA: Don’t try to answer my question with your own question.

Not sure where Boston Review got its transcript, but the official SCOTUS transcript has this slightly different. Here it is, in full (it begins on page 38):

JUSTICE SCALIA: I’m curious, when -­ when did — when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted?

Sometimes — some time after Baker, where we said it didn’t even raise a substantial Federal question? When — when — when did the law become this?

MR. OLSON: When — may I answer this in the form of a rhetorical question? When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages? When did it become unconstitutional to assign children to separate schools.

JUSTICE SCALIA: It’s an easy question, I think, for that one. At — at the time that the Equal Protection Clause was adopted. That’s absolutely true.

But don’t give me a question to my question

(Laughter.)

(via mohandasgandhi)

theonion:

‘This Is A Pointless Trip,’ Obama Says While Shaking Hands With Netanyahu: Full Report

theonion:

‘This Is A Pointless Trip,’ Obama Says While Shaking Hands With Netanyahu: Full Report

motherjones:

theatlantic:

Ten years ago this week, the United States invaded Iraq. These two stories by James Fallows are essential to understanding the consequences of that decision.

The Fifty-First State (Nov. 2002): Months before the invasion began, Fallows warned of the difficult responsibilities America would face as an occupying power. Was the U.S. prepared for a long-term relationship?

Bush’s Lost Year (Oct. 2004): “As a political matter, whether the United States is now safer or more vulnerable is of course ferociously controversial. That the war was necessary—and beneficial—is the Bush Administration’s central claim. That it was not is the central claim of its critics. But among national-security professionals there is surprisingly little controversy. Except for those in government and in the opinion industries whose job it is to defend the Administration’s record, they tend to see America’s response to 9/11 as a catastrophe.”

“The Fifty-First State” may have been the best story written about the Iraq War—four months before the Iraq war. Go read it.

"We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. [Nixon campaign adviser Anna] Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move."

Recently released tape recordings reveal that the 1968 Nixon campaign convinced South Vietnam to pull out peace talks ahead the election, promising them a better peace deal with a Nixon Administration.

The Johnson Administration, though frustrated by this, decided not to make it publicly known as it would also reveal that the government was tapping the South Vietnam ambassador’s phone.

The tapes also reveal that Johnson was considering reentering the 1968 election in the midst of the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

SPLC Report: Number of anti-government “patriot” groups reaches all-time high

Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.

[…]

For many, the election of America’s first black president symbolizes the country’s changing demographics, with the loss of its white majority predicted by 2043. (In 2011, for the first time, non-white births outnumbered the births of white children.) But the backlash to that trend predates Obama’s presidency by many years. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of hate groups rose from 602 to more than 1,000, where the count remains today. Now that comprehensive immigration reform is poised to legitimize and potentially accelerate the country’s demographic change, the backlash to that change may accelerate as well.

While the number of hate groups remained essentially unchanged last year — going from 1,018 in 2011 to 1,007 in 2012 — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) count of 1,360 Patriot groups in 2012 was up about 7% from the 1,274 active in 2011. And that was only the latest growth spurt in the Patriot movement, which generally believes that the federal government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and destroy their liberties as it paves the way for a global “one-world government.” From a mere 149 organizations in 2008, the number of Patriot groups shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting their all-time high last year.

(Continue reading…)

(via mohandasgandhi)

motherjones:

Argentina’s Dirty War is hilarious, according to inexplicably influential Internet person.
(As for the context, try this.)

motherjones:

Argentina’s Dirty War is hilarious, according to inexplicably influential Internet person.

(As for the context, try this.)

think-progress:

In non-pope news….

Rand Paul said a similar thing immediately after the SCOTUS ruling:

"Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional."

motherjones:

Nice save, @whitehouse social media.
ICYMI, the whole Jedi Mind Meld FREAKOUT.

motherjones:

Nice save, @whitehouse social media.

ICYMI, the whole Jedi Mind Meld FREAKOUT.

"We decided to give Republicans exactly what they wanted – an opportunity to reject federal funds. Of course, once we did, the place fell into anarchy."

Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis (who is also the chairman of the Utah Democratic Party) after three Democratic members of the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee voted Wednesday in favor of a Republican-backed bill to reject $71 million in federal funds. The committee is made up of both senators and representatives.

"What does that mean?" Representative Roger Barrus (R) asked, after the bill passed.

Senator Kevin Van Tassell (R) said:

“We just shut down DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), we have probably shut down most of our conservation programs, most of our firefighters. I guess if that is what we want to do, as long as we know that is what we are doing.”

Two Republicans, Representative Mike McKell and Senator Ralph Okerlund, and Democratic Representative Susan Duckworth eventually changed their votes, resulting in the bill’s rejection and the acceptance of federal funds.

shortformblog:

Only hours after a twelve-day filibuster was broken, the U.S. Senate has confirmed Chuck Hagel as the nation’s next Secretary of Defense. The final vote was 57 - 41, with only four Republicans crossing party lines to vote for Hagel’s confirmation.

shortformblog:

Only hours after a twelve-day filibuster was broken, the U.S. Senate has confirmed Chuck Hagel as the nation’s next Secretary of Defense. The final vote was 57 - 41, with only four Republicans crossing party lines to vote for Hagel’s confirmation.

(via shortformblog)

pulitzercenter:

Dream Chasers, a film produced by Chicago students Ezabella Duran, Miguel Garcia and Yalinne Graduño in collaboration with journalist Jesse Hardman, during a 2012 summer documentary filmmaking program hosted by Free Spirit Media and the Pulitzer Center. The film will be shown at the Youth Visions Showcase of the 2013 San Diego Latino Film Festival.

Dream Chasers explores the significance of the DREAM Act and features the personal account of an undocumented teen preparing to graduate from high school. 

At the start of the summer, Pulitzer Center journalists shared their international reporting projects and encouraged students to explore how topics highlighted in their reporting connected to issues in Chicago. Hardman’s reporting on Burmese migrant workers in Thailand sparked the students’ interest in examining the experience of undocumented young people in their city. Hardman mentored the team throughout the six-week program.

The festival will take place March 7-17 at Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas in San Diego. Dream Chasers will screen at the Youth Visions Showcase on March 9 at 3:00 pm and March 14 at 10:00 am.

See more student-produced documentaries here.

"Marco Rubio’s GOP response will be remembered for his awkward lunge for the water bottle. That’s a shame, because the speech itself was remarkable. Not in a good way.
At a moment when the Republican Party needs rebranding, Rubio offered nothing new. The thrust of his speech was “government bad, capitalism good.” Yet he recounted how beneficial government assistance has been to his own success. I expected him to resolve the contradiction, but he didn’t even try."

Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson reacts to Sen. Rubio’s response to last night’s State of the Union.

Jesus. Christ.

Jesus. Christ.