A special edition of this week’s Washington Report, covering a brief overview of the Supreme Court’s Defense of Mariage Act ruling. To read the full write-up click here
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want to share with you a quick review of this past week’s political and legislative happenings. Both chambers will go out today for the Fourth of July recess. The Washington Report will be back on July 19th.
The Capstone National Partners Team (John Rogers, Alan MacLeod, Steve Moffitt, Diane Rogers, Erik Oksala, Kate Venne and Joyce Rubenstein)
@ZachWahls: Barney Frank: “We’re making progress. It’s now more socially acceptable to be gay than a Congressman
SUPREMES RULE KEY SECTION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court [Tuesday] ruled unconstitutional Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which establishes standards used to assess which states need federal clearance to change election laws,” The New York Times reports. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that although some states in 1965 had a “recent history of voting tests and low voter turnout,” today “the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”
CHIEF JUSTICE TO CONGRESS: I TOLD YOU SO “Chief Justice John Roberts gave Congress the middle finger [Tuesday], striking down a key section of the Voting Rights Act and telling lawmakers that they’ll need to pass a new bill if they want the rest of the law enforced. Roberts knows that ain’t gonna happen—and he’s just fine with that. In his opinion … the chief justice chides Congress countless times. Over and over again, he cites his own ruling in the 2009 voting-rights case, where he all but told Congress: Fix this or we’re going to do it for you. Roberts wrote. “Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice.” I told you so! “
SCREWED UP, CAN’T-GET-ANTHING-DONE CONGRESS has this racially charged, politically sensitive mess dumped in its lap. Given how hard it’s been to pass anything, it’s hard to imagine Congress undoing the Court’s action anytime soon.” Matthew Cooper (National Journal)
SUPREMES KICK AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE BACK TO LOWER COURT The Wall Street Journal writes, “The SCOTUS, “in an anticlimax, sidestepped a sweeping ruling on affirmative action Monday, directing lower courts to re-examine whether a race-conscious admissions program” at the Univ. of TX at Austin “should survive constitutional scrutiny.”
SUPREMES TWO RULINGS BOLSTER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE – LIBERAL RESULT WRAPPED IN CONSERVATIVE VALUES The Supreme Court handed down two 5-4 opinions Wednesday that are widely seen as major victories for the gay-rights movement, The New York Times reports. “The Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, entitling married same-sex couples to federal benefits, and declined to rule on California’s gay-marriage ban, which will now allow same-sex marriage to proceed in the state. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the DOMA case that “by seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Justice Antonin Scalia authored a scathing, 26-page dissent, in which he was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
“It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
–Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissent on the Defense of Marriage Act case (National Journal).”
THE NEW ROE V. WADE?
“[Wednesday’s] Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a milestone in the gay rights movement, as important as the Stonewall riots that started it all. But landmark court decisions rarely mark the end of political fights, particularly on divisive social issues. Roe v. Wade was decided 40 years ago, but the fight over how to regulate abortion still rages today in Washington and state capitols across the country. … So while gay marriage opponents may view today’s court ruling as the beginning of the end, it is really only the end of the beginning.” Chris Frates (National Journal
In the wake of today’s SCOTUS decisions, Bloomberg maps where same-sex marriage stands
across the country.
DOD – THE DAY AFTER DOMA Morning Defense writes, “In February, the Pentagon authorized gay and lesbian troops to receive benefits for child care, readiness support, emergency leave, base privileges and others. But it said DOMA still barred major perks such as housing, health care and some burial and travel benefits. Under [this week’s] Supreme Court decision, DoD is moving to extend those benefits, as well.”
NO CONGRESSIONAL ROADBLOCKS On Capitol Hill, a key Senate Republican said he has no plans to try to prevent DoD from providing same-sex benefits. “I pick fights that I can win…” said Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, SASC’s top Republican.
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