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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama to Announce Nominees for D.C. Court -During a Tuesday morning event at the Rose Garden, President Barack Obama will announce his three nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Obama will nominate Georgetown University law professor Cornelia Pillard, appeals lawyer Patricia Ann Millett and federal judge Robert Leon Wilkins.
Obama is expected to make the announce at 10:30 a.m. EST, the White House said.
The nominations are poised to set up an intense battle with Senate Republicans, who have argued that the influential court doesn't need any more judges on the bench. has more here.


Will Special Election Be Held To Fill Lautenberg Seat? - As New Jersey stops to mourn the death of longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., political speculation has turned to whom Republican Gov. Chris Christie will appoint to succeed the late senator — and for how long.

While Christie gets to select an interim successor to replace Lautenberg in the Senate — potentially reducing the Democrats’ majority in the chamber – there appear to be two conflicting sections in New Jersey law mandating when a special election must be held.

One New Jersey provision states that if the vacancy occurs more than 70 days before a regularly scheduled statewide general election (so before Aug. 27, 2013), that vacancy would be filled on the next statewide general election, or Nov. 5, 2013, since the Garden State holds off-year elections.

But Republicans point to a different statute, which says that the election would be held on the next general election only if the vacancy occurs 70 days before the state’s primary, which is being held June 4, 2013. In this case — which Republicans clearly prefer — the special election would be held in November 2014, when Lautenberg’s seat, which he'd already announced an intent to relinquish, will be up anyway.  NBC News has more here.


New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has lung cancer - The 16-year veteran of Congress, who represents parts of Long Island, said it’s a “treatable form of cancer.”

“My doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where I’ll receive my treatment, has told me that I begin my treatment in good physical health and that he looks forward to my return to work after I recover,” McCarthy said in a statement. “My family and I will appreciate privacy while I undergo my treatment.” has more here.


Supreme Court OKs Police Taking DNA Samples from Arrestees - A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that police may take DNA samples when booking those arrested for serious crimes, narrowly upholding a Maryland law and opening the door to more widespread collection of DNA by law enforcement.
The court ruled 5 to 4 that government has a legitimate interest in collecting DNA from arrestees, just as it takes photographs and collects fingerprints. Rejecting the view that the practice constitutes an unlawful search, the majority said it was justified to establish the identity of the person in custody.  The Washington Post has more here.


Democrats see farm bill, rural voters as key to 2014 election - Senate Democrats hope to pass a five-year farm bill this week and bolster their appeal with rural voters, who they see as crucial to retaining their majority in 2014.

Democrats have stepped up their outreach to rural constituencies this year as they head into a daunting midterm election year with a slew of seats in conservative-leaning rural states to defend. has more here.


U.N. urges international community to cut off arm supplies to Syria - Reporting “new levels of brutality” in Syria’s more than two-year-old conflict, United Nations investigators said on Tuesday they believed chemical weapons and thermobaric bombs were used in recent weeks and urged the international community to cut off supplies of weapons that could only result in more civilian casualties.

The Commission of Inquiry investigating the hostilities in Syria said it “documents for the first time the systematic imposition of sieges, the use of chemical agents and forcible displacement” in a report presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. “War crimes, crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations continue apace,” it added, reporting 17 incidents that could be called massacres between mid-January and mid-May. The NY Times has more here.


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