THE BIG IDEA:
— Before its term ends next week, the Supreme Court appears very likely to recognize a Constitutional right to gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. Such a landmark ruling, which could be announced as early as today or Thursday, would end the bans still in effect across more than a dozen states, from Ohio and Michigan to Kentucky and Tennessee.
— Long term, this should take the marriage issue off the political table. GOP leaders in Washington overwhelmingly – but mostly privately – support gay rights. They’re eager for the chance to say that the Court has spoken and the subject is settled, even as they publicly express disagreement.
— Short term, the Court’s expected ruling will put gay marriage front and center in the 2016 GOP primary. With a field of almost 20 candidates, the undercards are looking for every opportunity to stand out. Though attitudes have shifted rapidly, social conservatives who oppose same-sex unions retain the power to decide who wins Iowa’s caucuses and South Carolina’s primary. The National Organization for Marriage is determined to make support for a Constitutional amendment overturning the SCOTUS decision a litmus test. Last week, it began publicly prodding 2016 candidates to sign a pledge that they will do everything possible to “overturn” an “illegitimate” decision.
Almost all of the 2012 candidates signed the NOM “marriage pledge,” including Mitt Romney. But the atmosphere has changed substantially. The donor class is more powerful than ever because of Citizens United, and most major donors either back same-sex marriage or feel pretty agnostic about social issues. The most credible candidates also worry about turning off independents and younger voters in a general election: a CNN poll last month found that 63 percent of Americans believe gays and lesbians have a Constitutional right to marry. This will incline contenders like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich to say that they respect the rule of law, despite whatever their personal beliefs may be. On the other side, Ted Cruz introduced a constitutional amendment in April that would let states re-ban gay marriage. Bobby Jindal supports such an amendment; Scott Walker suggested openness to considering such an approach, but he’s also said the courts settled the issue in his home state of Wisconsin.
Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, the previous two winners of the Iowa caucuses, will try to use the ruling to jump start their afterthought campaigns. The former Arkansas governor sent a letter late last week to more than 100 activists pledging to fight an adverse decision, saying he refuses “to surrender to the false god of judicial supremacy.” The former Pennsylvania senator, meanwhile, likens the fight over gay rights to the fight over abortion. “Roe vs. Wade was decided 30 some years ago, and I continue to fight that, because I think the court got it wrong,” he said recently.
— Why everyone thinks the Court will endorse same-sex marriages: Anthony Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy now has a gay clerk, Joshua Matz, who wrote a 2012 law review article with [Harvard law professor Laurence] Tribe titled ‘The Constitutional Inevitability of Same-Sex Marriage,’” a story on the front page of today’s New York Times notes. The piece explores how Kennedy, the swing vote in these cases, “emerged as an unlikely gay rights icon.” Essentially, it is “his views on privacy and liberty, his belief in marriage as a stabilizing force, his concern for the children of same-sex couples and his custom — in the words of one good friend, Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — of ‘stepping into the skin’ of those his decisions affect.”
— The fight over “religious liberty” will escalate in the aftermath of the decision. “Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a ‘pastor protection’ law that allows clergy members to refuse officiating marriages that violates his religious beliefs,” the AP reports. “Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting [this past] Wednesday in Columbus, issued a statement saying they would not recognize, host or perform same-sex marriages. Some county clerks in Kentucky and other states, including Nebraska, have expressed objections to the possibility of same-sex marriages…North Carolina and Utah have passed laws allowing some court officials to refuse to perform gay marriage responsibilities.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Ted Cruz’s campaign said it will return all the money it received from a racist cited in Charleston murderer Dylann Roof’s manifesto. “Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks – including that black people were ‘the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world’ – were posted online in his name,” according to the Guardian. “After being approached by the Guardian on Sunday, Cruz’s presidential campaign said it would be returning all money the senator had received from Holt. Holt, 62, is the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a Missouri-based activist organisation cited by the author of a manifesto-style text that was posted on a website registered in Roof’s name along with photographs of the gunman … Holt has since 2012 contributed $8,500 to Cruz … He has also given $1,750 to RandPAC … and he gave $2,000 to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. A further $1,500 was donated by Holt to Santorum.”
— The Taliban attacked the Afghan parliament as it was meeting to endorse a new defense minister, forcing frightened lawmakers to flee the building. After a two-hour firefight, six gunmen were reportedly killed.
— The missing former White House chef was found dead in the New Mexico mountains. “Walter Scheib, the 61-year-old … who had been missing in New Mexico’s rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains for more than a week, was discovered dead late Sunday night by a search and rescue crew. Scheib’s body was found nearly two miles from the Yerba Canyon Trail head in Taos, N.M., a town some 70 miles from Santa Fe.”
— A possible sighting of the two New York murderers who escaped from prison prompted a big shift in the focus of the manhunt overnight. “Investigators and military trucks converged on Mountain View, a hamlet in Franklin County, late Sunday,” the AP reports. “Just hours before hundreds had searched two towns more than 350 miles away, following an unconfirmed but credible report of another sighting.”
GET SMART FAST:
- The Senate will take a standalone vote on Trade Promotion Authority on Tuesday. Obama needs to keep at least 11 of the 14 Democrats who voted for his plan last month, but this time it won’t have Trade Adjustment Assistance. There’s a promise that will come in a separate bill later.
- Three-quarters of Republicans said they could support Jeb Bush in a new NBC/WSJ poll, up from 70 percent in April and 49 percent in March. Per the Journal story, which posted at midnight, Bush leads with 22 percent of Republican voters. Walker is at 17 percent; Rubio is at 14 percent; and Ben Carson is fourth, with 11 percent support.
- Thousands of people held hands to form a human chain across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, one of several touching memorials in the Holy City yesterday.
- “A key Army commander in the U.S. war against the Islamic State has been reprimanded by the Pentagon for steering a defense contract to a firm run by two of his former classmates at West Point.” (Craig Whitlock)
- The wife of Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom apologized for tweeting a racist joke about President Obama.
— “Obama’s ancestral homeland in Kenya had lots of hope, but got little change,” by Kevin Sieff in Kenya: “Next month, Obama will make his first trip to Kenya as president. If he returns to Kogelo, he’ll find a village lifted by its association with the world’s most powerful man but still wrestling with disease and poverty. He’ll find people proud enough to name their boys Barack Obama but disappointed that he waited until the seventh year of his presidency to return to his father’s homeland.”
— “The race is on for the Latino vote,” by Mary Jordan, on the ground in Nevada: “Many people interviewed said they had never heard of Marco Rubio … There is speculation about whether [Jeb] Bush will ask [Nevada Gov. Brian] Sandoval, the popular governor, to be his running mate … Many Latinos interviewed said they were disappointed with Obama for not fulfilling promises to do more and are fed up with all politicians. Last November, they stayed home, and exceedingly low Latino turnout has been widely seen as helping Republicans in Nevada take control of the legislature for the first time in nearly a century, win statewide offices, and knock off a Democratic House member in what was considered a very safe district.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: TV producers showed more restraint in covering Donald Trump last week than regular people on social media. Zignal Labs, The Post’s campaign analytics partner, is tracking mentions of the 2016 White House contenders across a variety of media platforms, from traditional to broadcast to social. And a look at how the nascent presidential race is playing in different media reveals something about the content of those stories and how each medium is distinct. The week from June 12-19 was a busy one in the presidential race. It began with Hillary Clinton’s first official campaign event on Roosevelt Island. That was followed by Jeb Bush’s formal declaration of his candidacy. And then there was the media atomic bomb that was the Trump announcement. For the week, Trump dominated the news: 41 percent of all the conversation about 2016 was about Trump, across broadcast, blogs, online and social media. Clinton received 19 percent of the mentions, followed by 15 percent for Bush and 7 percent for Bernie Sanders.
But look what happens to our chart if we only examine television mentions. Clinton and Trump each got exactly 15 percent of all mentions related to 2016, with Bush basically tied at 14 percent. While there is much focus, and justifiably so, for how social media impacts presidential campaigning, TV is still the king of all media. And looking at how TV covers the 2016 campaign reveals different insights into who is being talked about, and what is being said about them.
–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:
Pictures of the day, Father’s Day edition:
Tweets of the day:
Donald Trump lashed out at the media:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2015
And Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) gave an update on a recent accident in his family:
I learned it was Granddaughter Shirley in car accident-not daughter Wendy. She is ok. Deer still dead
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 21, 2015
Instagrams of the day:
Ted Cruz wasn’t shy about broadcasting his trip to an Iowa gun range amid renewed debate over gun control in the wake of the Charleston shootings.
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— Wall Street Journal, “MIT Economist Jonathan Gruber Had Bigger Role in Health Law, Emails Show,” by Stephanie Armour: “The emails, provided by the House Oversight Committee to The Wall Street Journal, cover messages Mr. Gruber sent from January 2009 through March 2010. Committee staffers said they worked with MIT to obtain the 20,000 pages of emails … The emails show frequent consultations between Mr. Gruber and top Obama administration staffers and advisers in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Care Act. They show he informed HHS about interviews with reporters and discussions with lawmakers, and he consulted with HHS about how to publicly describe his role. ‘Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,’ according to Sept. 9, 2009 email to Mr. Gruber from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama administration health adviser who worked at HHS and the White House. In a November 2009 email, she called Mr. Gruber ‘our hero.’”
— Newark Star-Ledger, “Toricelli, a decade later, wants back into the Big Game,” by Tom Moran: “Bob Torricelli has a hole in his soul, and he doesn’t hide it. He misses being a United States Senator, and he still winces when he remembers the day he dropped out of his re-election campaign in 2002 after being ‘severely admonished’ by his fellow senators on ethics charges … Torch, as he is known, wants back in to the political game. He has nailed it as a real estate developer over the last decade, building a fortune that friends put at more than $30 million … The only real possibility is a return to the U.S. Senate. He says he doesn’t want to run for governor, and would seek only statewide office. But Torricelli can’t connect those dots without giving offense. Because the only plausible way a Senate seat could open before 2018 is for Sen. Robert Menendez, who faces trial on corruption charges in October, to be convicted and removed from office.”
— Quad-City Times, “Activists rally for Biden in Davenport, Iowa,” by Ed Tibbetts: “About three dozen people rallied on Davenport’s riverfront Saturday, showing their support for Vice President Joe Biden, with many hoping that he’ll jump into the 2016 presidential race. Leaders of the Draft Biden 2016 effort said here Saturday they are seeing a groundswell of support from across the country. Will Pierce, the group’s executive director, said 81,000 signatures of support have been gathered so far, and he expects that number to grow significantly because of a recent solicitation. He added the draft group has hired state directors in Iowa and New Hampshire, and it plans to hold other rallies like the one Saturday in Davenport.”
— Boston Globe, “Senator Rubio falls silent on immigration, his signature subject,” by Matt Viser: “During 2013, he mentioned ‘immigration’ or ‘immigrant’ 135 times on the Senate floor. But over the last two years, he’s only uttered those words two times, according to a Globe review of the Congressional Record. Over those first six months of 2013, his office sent out nearly 150 press releases on immigration. Since then, he has issued just three press releases on the subject. And on the campaign trail, the subject rarely comes up unprompted.”
— BuzzFeed, “One of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s longtime advisers was the editor-in-chief of a neo-Confederate magazine — a magazine Graham gave an interview to in 1999,” by Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir: “Richard Quinn has been quoted in the press as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s longtime political adviser and his consultant and pollster. But there’s another title that Quinn once held: neo-Confederate magazine editor. From early 1980s until the early 2000s, Quinn’s name stood on the masthead as the editor-in-chief of the Southern Partisan, formerly one of the country’s leading neo-Confederate magazines (it still exists in a barebones online version). Quinn has tried to distance himself from the magazine in the past (he says he doesn’t like the term neo-Confederate), and after being contacted by BuzzFeed News, repudiated his past views and those of the magazine.”
BUZZING AT THE CAPITOL:
— Politico, “Jason Chaffetz strips Meadows of subcommittee chairmanship,” by Jake Sherman and Lauren French: “House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz has stripped North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows of his subcommittee chairmanship, just days after he defied leadership on the House floor by voting against a party-line procedural motion … Losing a subcommittee chairmanship midway through a congressional session is among the most serious punishments thus far in Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) majority.”
— The Hill, “Washington whipped into frenzy ahead of Obamacare ruling,” by Sarah Ferris: “The wait is almost over for what could be the last big legal threat to ObamaCare … While Sylvia Burwell’s department has given no official guidance to the three-dozen states that could lose their subsidies, the administration is starting to show its hand. [Last] week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave permission for two states to move ahead with backup plans to save their subsidies, which would involve launching their own ObamaCare marketplaces.”
— National Journal, “Between the House and Senate, a nuclear weapons gap,” by Fawn Johnson: “The Senate’s biggest defense hawk isn’t pushing as hard as his House counterparts are for more robust nuclear development and missile defense … It’s just that this isn’t [Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John] McCain’s fight. In the Senate’s defense authorization bill, he is steering clear of new mandates to bolster the nuclear capabilities that appear in the House version.”
— CNN, “Capitol Hill abuzz after 15,000 honey bees swarm Senate entrance,” by Ted Barrett: “In an unusual sight on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon, beekeepers were called in to capture and remove about 15,000 honey bees that had swarmed around the main Senate entrance of the U.S. Capitol Building, frightening onlookers before landing in a tree.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Pope Francis says those in weapons industry can’t call themselves Christian. From The Guardian: “People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday. Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Bernie Sanders wows Hollywood progressives at two L.A. fundraisers. From the Hollywood Reporter: “With the dust still settling after Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s glitzy fundraising trips to Hollywood this week, Clinton’s first official Democratic rival — Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — slipped quietly into town Saturday for a pair of low-key events that didn’t raise seven-figure sums, but did warm the hearts of two overflowing crowds of Hollywood progressives.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton will raise funds in New York City. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will deliver a speech in Nipomo, Calif.
–On the Hill: The Senate will consider two nominations at 5:30 p.m.
–At the White House: President Obama will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan. Press Secretary Josh Earnest will brief the media at 12:30 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He always came back. It was kind of like Lassie.” — A Senate Democratic staffer who was involved in negotiating the 2013 immigration reform bill on Marco Rubio
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— Per Dr. Gridlock, “Riders on Metro’s Green and Yellow lines should expect delays this morning. Trains are sharing a track between the Prince George’s Plaza and Greenbelt stops” because of track work..
— Capital Weather Gang says, “Today is hot and Tuesday has a good chance to be the hottest day of the year so far. But temperatures do take a big step down for the middle and latter portions of the week, returning closer to normal. The overall weather pattern is a bit unsettled during this transition and we’ll have multiple opportunities to add to our already very impressive June rainfall totals.”
— The Nationals scored nine runs in the first inning yesterday, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2 and sweeping the series.
— Jordan Spieth won the U.S. Open, becoming the first golfer to win the first two majors since Tiger Woods in 2002.
— Today is the sixth anniversary of the 2009 Red Line crash that killed nine.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
Celebrate Father’s Day with Jimmy Fallon and Chris Christie: