* Big: President Obama is set to nominate three judges to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals tomorrow, a move that will escalate the coming battle over filibuster reform. If Republicans continue current levels of obstructionism, Dems will have no choice but to go nuclear.
* The latest sign of GOP scandal overreach: Senator Lindsey Graham breaks with GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s claim that Jay Carney is a “paid liar,” and flatly states there is “no evidence” the White House directed the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
* John McCain echoes Graham’s suggestion: “I think that we should let these investigations take their course, let the facts come out.” As noted earlier, the overreach by Issa and others appears to be prompting a media backlash of sorts.
* A useful overview of the deepening fissures among Republicans over how to handle the increasingly obvious reality that Obamacare is here to stay; the intensity of the confrontations it is producing on the state level is noteworthy.
* It’s good to see Jonathan Cohn get angry: He rips into the conservative press’ dishonesty about the recent good Obamacare news out of California, and explains how it illustrates why an honest conversation about the health law is impossible.
* Ted Cruz’s demagoguery continues, this time with the suggestion that the Department of Justice is targeting reporters explicitly because they are “critical of this administration.”
* Environmentalists gear up to demand from Obama their two top priorities: Rejection of Keystone XL, and approval of new curbs on carbon emissions from on existing power plants. These loom as key tests of whether Obama will do what it takes to move the ball forward on climate change – even without Congress — in the remainder of his second term.
* From the statement on longtime gun reform advocate Frank Lautenberg’s passing, just out from the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence:
“Senator Lautenberg’s last inspiring act of patriotism was his appearance on the Senate floor on April 17th to cast a vote in favor of expanding background checks. While he was clearly struggling, he made sure he did not miss this critical vote, illustrating his truly lifelong commitment to the cause of gun violence prevention.”
* Paul Krugman on Ben Bernanke’s remarkable weekend speech on the limits of meritocracy, and why it leads directly to higher taxes on the wealthy.
* Relatedly, a good question from Kevin Drum: Does Bernanke’s acknowledgement of the imperfections of meritocracy mean he’s no longer a Republican?
* I very much agree with Ed Kilgore here: David Frum’s principles for conservative reform are uncommonly illuminating, as is the fact that you can’t even imagine today’s GOP officials even considering them for a moment.
* Gallup finds that a majority of every age group, even those over 55, now see gay or lesbian relations as morally acceptable. Notable: Nearly three in four young Americans agree — underscoring, again, the GOP’s need to evolve on gay rights already.
* And relatedly, Andrew Rosenthal on a new report containing brutal findings for the GOP’s hopes of patching things up with young voters. This is a fascinating nugget:
In focus groups in January, the report said, young voters were asked to list leaders of the Democratic Party. “They named prominent former or currently elected officials: Pelosi, the Clintons, Obama, Kennedy, Gore. When those same respondents were asked to name Republican leaders, they focused heavily on media personalities and commentators: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck.”