From the newswires …
Seemingly aware that they were outnumbered and fighting an uphill battle, the four liberal justices on the Supreme Court defended the Voting Rights Act during Supreme Court oral arguments Wednesday with a mix of sharp questions, appeals to history, and indirect rejoinders to the more conservative justices.
All four of them participated actively in oral arguments. None was more emphatic than Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The Obama-appointed justice asked the first question of the day. She hammered Burt Rein, the lawyer representing the challengers, Shelby County of Alabama, over its record of discrimination. The county contends that Section 5 is unfair to its residents and other jurisdictions that it requires to obtain federal preclearance before changing their voting laws.
The AFL-CIO Executive Council today called on Congress to repeal-not replace-the economically destructive budget cuts that Republicans in Congress are using as leverage to demand Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefit cuts.
The Conservative Political Action Conference is facing backlash from … conservatives.
It began when it was reported that gay Republican groups like the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud would not be in attendance at this year’s conservative confab in Washington, D.C. GOProud, in fact, was banned before last year’s event and was not welcomed back this year, either.
There was more trouble for CPAC when, this week, the chair of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the conference, explained that CPAC snubbed super-popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie because he opted in to the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, and put too much pressure on congressional Republicans who were blocking Hurricane Sandy aid.
New US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting Syrian opposition leaders in Rome, as the US prepares to increase its support for rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
He is attending a gathering of the Friends of Syria group of nations that support the Syrian opposition.
Mr Kerry is expected to announce increased “non-lethal” aid for the rebels but not weapons.
The police chief of Milwaukee called out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – an opponent of gun safety regulation – for echoing National Rifle Association talking points about the uselessness of expanding background checks for all gun purchases. The organization argues that the government should enforce existing laws instead.
Quick Takes …
Photos: Rosa Parks Statue Unveiled On Capitol Hill: Civil Rights Leader Honored
Panic in Greek pharmacies as hundreds of medicines run short
“Pharmaceutical companies accused of cutting supplies because of low profits and unpaid bills”
Shell to suspend Arctic offshore drilling program over safety fears
“Oil company will ‘pause’ exploration off Alaska’s northern coasts over concerns for equipment and employees”
Are NFL hopefuls being vetted for their sexuality?
“The Player’s Association has called for an investigation into interview practices at the NFL combine”
EU agrees to cap bankers’ bonuses
“European Union officials have struck a provisional deal on new financial rules, including capping bank bonuses.”
Climate-Changed Coastlines Need New Maps
Mississippi Republicans Would Prohibit Towns From Establishing A Minimum Wage
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