Politics

11:45am

Wed March 27, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 2:52 pm

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
  • 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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11:25am

Wed March 27, 2013
Around the Nation

Respectful Gay Marriage Debate An 'Enormous Step'

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:19 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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6:42am

Wed March 27, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:22 am

An artist's sketch of the scene inside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Reuters /Landov
  • 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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5:09am

Wed March 27, 2013
Politics

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.

7:33pm

Tue March 26, 2013
Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court

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

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:58 pm

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

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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4:56pm

Tue March 26, 2013
Politics

Proposition 8 Case Has High Political Stakes For Both Parties

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:58 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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2:15pm

Tue March 26, 2013
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:25 pm

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

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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12:42pm

Tue March 26, 2013
Political Junkie

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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12:06pm

Tue March 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Outside the Supreme Court, The Arguments Continue

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:58 pm

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

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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11:32am

Tue March 26, 2013
Around the Nation

The Browning Of A Nation

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:45 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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