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* The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will consider the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban and whether Congress can withhold federal benefits from legally married same-sex couples. This is the first time the justices will hear arguments pertaining to same-sex marriage. A decision is expected by June.

* Reversing course from four years ago, President Obama's inaugural committee will accept corporate donations this time. The 2013 committee will accept unlimited money from corporate and individual sources, but it will not take contributions from PACs or lobbyists, and it won't allow sponsorship agreements.

* After pledging not to spend any money to boost him, the National Republican Senatorial Committee helped Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) out with a $760,000 cash infusion in early November, campaign finance reports show. The reports show that the NRSC made two transfers to the Missouri GOP, which made a coordinated ad buy with Akin's campaign. Akin stoked controversy when he remarked in August that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy.

* South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) reaffirmed that she will not appoint herself to fill the vacancy that will be triggered by Sen. Jim DeMint's  (R) resignation early next year, and added that she wants to replace DeMint with someone who holds similar views on governance. “I want to make two things clear from the outset. Number one, I will not take the appointment myself. Number two, I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share,” Haley said in a statement.


* Michigan police plan to continue a 24-hour presence at the state Capitol through the weekend, anticipating labor protests ahead of Tuesday, when Republicans are expected to press through a measure making Michigan a right-to-work state. If passed, the measure would give private and public sector workers  (excluding police and firefighters) the right to avoid paying union dues in an organized workplace. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has said he would sign the measure, and protesters have already hit the Capitol this week.

* Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is no fan of the forthcoming MTV show "Buckwild," described as  “The ‘Jersey Shore’ of Appalachia." Manchin asked the network to  stop the the West Virginia-based show, declaring: "As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth."

* In a new TV ad campaign, a labor coalition is warning centrist members of Congress against agreeing to entitlement cuts in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. The spots will target Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with outgoing Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). The coalition comprises the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

* Nearly a dozen newly elected members of Congress have set up leadership PACs before being sworn into office, with most laying the groundwork weeks before Election Day. Six moved to establish their own leadership PACs in September. Reps.-elect Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Roger Williams (R-Texas), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) established leadership PACs before Nov. 1, while Sens.-elect Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) each filed paperwork in the last couple of weeks.


The GIF, explained.

With Aaron Blake