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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a Passover Seder on Monday in the White House's Old Family Dining Room.


Supreme Court Hears Same Sex Arguments - A four-year legal battle to extend the right of marriage to same-sex couples no matter where they live gets its moment before the Supreme Court on Tuesday in historic oral arguments difficult to imagine even a decade ago.
The first of two days of oral arguments over what supporters call marriage equality brings the boldest of the claims that gay rights activists will make — that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage that states may not deny.

The nine justices will consider California’s Proposition 8, which voters passed in 2008 to define marriage as between a man and woman and to overturn a state Supreme Court decision earlier that year that approved same-sex marriage.  The Washington Post has more here.


Republican Senators Threaten Filibuster On Gun-Violence Legislation - A trio of Republican senators on Tuesday warned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) they plan to filibuster any attempts at bringing new gun control legislation to the floor of the Senate.

The move comes just days after Reid announced plans to push forward on a gun control bill which would expand background checks and penalties on straw purchasers.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argue in a letter to Reid that the proposed bill amounts to an infringement of Second Amendment rights. has more here.


Senator Tim Johnson Won't Seek Re-Election - NBC News is reporting South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014, NBC News has confirmed. He is expected to make a formal announcement of his retirement Tuesday.

Johnson’s decision opens an opportunity for Republicans to take over the seat in a state that favored Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by almost 20 points.

His departure is no great surprise to operatives on both sides of the aisle. Johnson has been recovering from a brain hemorrhage in 2006 that left him partially paralyzed. (He did, however, run successfully for re-election in 2008.)

He is the seventh senator to announce his retirement in 2014.


Cyprus Bailout Deal Reached, Questions Remain - European leaders Monday hailed a last-minute bailout for Cyprus as an important step in defending their unified currency, but some officials and analysts questioned whether the deal raised new problems that could still threaten the survival of the euro.

The arrangement will grant Cyprus $13 billion in emergency loans from an international group of lenders but will force the country to shutter its second-largest bank and will push massive losses on large depositors there. The deal effectively wipes out Cyprus’s appeal as an international banking haven but saves Europe from cutting off support to one of the 17 nations that use the euro currency.

Cypriot banks closed for a 10th day Monday and are not due to reopen until Thursday. With many depositors limited to withdrawing no more than $130 from an ATM, some analysts questioned whether the agreement would weaken faith in the currency union and whether a euro deposited in a Cypriot bank was worth as much as one deposited elsewhere.  You can read more here.


North Korea Threatens U.S. Again - North Korea on Tuesday served up its latest round of threats against the United States, saying it plans to place military units tasked with targeting U.S. bases under combat ready status.

The Supreme Command of the North Korean military said it "will put on the highest alert all the field artillery units including strategic rocket units and long-range artillery units, which are assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zone in the Pacific, as well as all the enemy targets in South Korea and its vicinity."
The U.S. Department of Defense responded to the North's latest saber-rattling by reiterating its confidence that it can fend off whatever the regime of Kim Jong Un can come up with. has more here.
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