Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.
It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.
In Washington State, radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is leaking from underground containment tanks. The site contains the leftovers from plutonium production, some from World War II, most from the Cold War. And it turns out the federal budget sequester is slowing the cleanup.
From Richland, Washington, Anna King of the Northwest News Network has that story.
President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.
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.
In 2004, Jim McGreevey was the governor of New Jersey and a rising political star. That was until he admitted his homosexuality, and an improper relationship with a male staff member. What happened next is the subject of the new HBO documentary, Fall To Grace. Host Michel Martin speaks with McGreevy and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi.
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.
In the wake of the Supreme Court arguments Wednesday on the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex marriage supporters have reason to be optimistic. Known as DOMA, the law bars federal benefits for legally married same-sex couples, even though those same benefits are automatically given to heterosexual married couples.