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Wonkbook's Numbers of the Day: 1996 - 2013. The Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act yesterday.
Wonkbook's Quotation of the Day: From the majority opinion in DOMA: "Responsibilities, as well as rights, enhance the dignity and integrity of the person. And DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities."
Wonkblog's Graphs of the Day: The availability of same-sex marriage is set to double in the U.S. and around the world this year.
Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: 1) the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage rulings; 2) Border-security amendment passes; 3) the eek-onomy; 4) national security and Snowden; and 5) a Wendy Davis primer.
1) Top story: Everything you need to know about the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage rulings
At Supreme Court, victories for gay marriage. "[I]n striking down a key part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the court declared that gay couples married in states where it is legal must receive the same federal health, tax, Social Security and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive. In turning away a case involving California’s prohibition of same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, the justices left in place a lower court’s decision that the ban is unconstitutional. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said he would order same-sex marriages to resume as quickly as possible." Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.
The Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA. Here’s what you need to know. "The Supreme Court today struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law signed by President Clinton that defined marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal law. The decision was 5-4, with the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy...Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts all filed dissents. Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia’s dissent, and joined Alito’s in part, while Roberts joined Scalia’s in part. Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Kennedy’s majority opinion." Dylan Matthews in The Washington Post.
The Supreme Court ended Proposition 8. Here’s what that means. "The Supreme Court ruled in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case arising from Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage following a state Supreme Court ruling mandating it, that the amendment’s sponsors, who were defending it in court after the California government declined to do so, didn’t have standing to appeal. That leaves the ruling of the district court in effect, nullifying the amendment and rendering same-sex marriage legal again in California." Dylan Matthews in The Washington Post.
Read the rulings: Supreme Court clears way for same-sex marriage in California and declares part of DOMA unconstitutional. Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.
Explainer: SCOTUSBlog has a list of all of the articles they published yesterday. Kali Borkoski in SCOTUSBlog.
The availability of same-sex marriage is set to double in the U.S. and around the world this year. "There are about 59 million people living in these seven states, which means that the availability of same-sex marriage in the United States as a percentage of population will have more than doubled within the year. As of early last year, same-sex marriage was legal only in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia, which have 35 million people among them." Nate Silver in The New York Times.
Explainer: Aimeline of same-sex marriage. Ruth Tam in The Washington Post.
Does Justice Kennedy's opinion predict the future of same-sex marriage? "The Supreme Court moves incrementally. And, very often, inexorably. Seedlings planted take root. And that is why the careful, limited and even technical rulings announced Wednesday, the first time the court has squarely confronted the issue of same-sex marriage, hold such importance for the future." Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.
...So, what's next? "Obama and his top aides, meanwhile, asked for patience, telling activists in a phone call within hours of the ruling that it will be complicated to figure out how to reinterpret or revise the hundreds of federal agency provisions affecting benefits for gay couples across the country. Administration officials, requesting anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said White House lawyers and Justice Department officials had begun analyzing all the relevant laws with an eye toward swift action." Peter Wallsten in The Washington Post.
Court underscores political shift towards same-sex marriage. "The Supreme Court met the moment Wednesday. With public attitudes shifting dramatically in favor of same-sex marriage, the justices used a pair of rulings to give additional momentum to one of the most rapid changes in social policy in the nation’s history." Dan Balz in The Washington Post.
@DLeonhardt: The Court and public opinion are in the same place: federal benefits for married same-sex couples but let states decide on marriage.
Republicans don't quite know how to deal with the same-sex marriage issue. "Many Republicans criticized the court's overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act while lauding the fact that the fight would now firmly reside in the states. Most GOP political leaders restated their stance that marriage should strictly be between a man and woman. A smaller number said it was crucial for the party to change its tone and at least soften its opposition to gay marriage. The responses reflected both an evolution within the GOP and a growing acknowledgment, even among opponents of same-sex marriage, that the party's current stance on the issue could make it harder to win national and statewide elections." Neil King Jr. and Janet Hook in The Wall Street Journal.
...Conservatives came out in opposition, of course. "A group of conservative House Republicans blasted the decisions on same-sex marriage issued Wednesday by the Supreme Court as legally inconsistent and detrimental to the future of the nation’s children. One lawmaker pledged to soon file a constitutional amendment to reinstate the Defense of Marriage Act." Aaron Blake and Ed O'Keefe in The Washington Post.
@GovMikeHuckabee: My thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling that determined that same sex marriage is okay: "Jesus wept."
The 'culture wars' are becoming a Republican civil war, as the rest of the country moves on. "When the Supreme Court hands down a ruling on same-sex marriage Wednesday, GOP leaders will be caught between the party’s social conservatives who are loudly anti-gay marriage and lawmakers looking to adapt to a rapidly shifting American electorate that’s more comfortable with gay couples." Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan in Politico.
For nationwide same-sex marriage, the road to victory runs through the GOP. "In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, one thing is clear: Republicans will determine whether same-sex marriage becomes universal in the United States...While litigation will still play a critical role in the gay marriage fight, in the near future, state politicians will have the most influence over whether same-sex marriage is legalized." Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.
Democrats voted for DOMA but now cheer its end. ". There was a long line of prominent Democrats Wednesday who all queued up to applaud the Supreme Court for striking down DOMA — even though they voted for it when it passed in 1996...Their changes of heart were the latest example of how thoroughly the politics of same-sex marriage have turned around for Democrats since President Barack Obama announced his support for it in May 2012." David Nather in Politico.
@markknoller: Pres Obama acknowledges that "Americans hold a wide range of views" on same-sex marriage & "commitment to religious freedom is also vital."
Both sides gear up for further battles at state level. "Both sides say they are gearing up for more battles in individual states until the courts or Congress intervenes with a federal answer to a core question: Is there a federal right to marriage for same-sex couples?...Beyond those places, however, 30 states have existing constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Undoing them usually requires a ballot vote, and in many cases also the backing of the state legislature..."The strategy has always been to win a critical mass of states and a critical mass of public support, which together create the climate that enables the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution," said Evan Wolfson, founder of New York-based Freedom to Marry. "That is the classic pattern of civil-rights advancement in America."" Geoffrey A. Fowler in The Wall Street Journal.
@mattyglesias: Strange to think that both Oregon and New Jersey are more likely to legalize same-sex marriage than self-service gasoline.
This is Wonkbook, so we note this decision will shift federal regulation and the tax code. "Tens of thousands of married gay couples stand to be treated just like their heterosexual counterparts when it comes to federal taxes, immigration, bankruptcy, student aid and other matters, a direct result of the Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act...Experts said many two-earner, same-sex, married couples will likely see an annual federal income-tax increase of hundreds or thousands of dollars. The penalties are more likely for two partners with similar incomes, especially if they have children." Brent Kendall and Laura Saunders in The Wall Street Journal.
@brianbeutler: Wonder if huge incentive DOMA ruling creates for same-sex couples to move to (or remain in) certain states will be economically noticeable.
...And that changes Obamacare. "With the United States recognizing same-sex marriage, a same-sex couple can be counted by the federal government as one family unit. Instead of two separate individuals applying for health benefits, each judged by the federal poverty line for one person, they’re now a team. Their federal poverty line is $15,510." Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.
The IRS owes Edith Windsor $363,053, and other fiscal consequences of the DOMA decision. "Writ large across the economy, that means that federal recognition of gay marriages could have a fiscal impact, if not a huge one. The last time the Congressional Budget Office looked at the question was nearly a decade ago, but in 2004, the CBO found that federal recognition of gay marriages would actually increase tax receipts by 0.1 percent, amid offsetting forces." Neil Irwin in The Washington Post.
SUNSTEIN: This ruling safeguards human dignity. "The court’s chief objection to the law is that it is an affront to dignity. In describing the recent rise of same-sex marriage, the court emphasizes that some states have conferred on same-sex couples “a dignity and status of immense import.” In identifying the central problem with the Defense of Marriage Act, the court proclaims that it “demeans the couple” and “humiliates tens of thousands of children” now being raised by same-sex parents. In explaining its constitutional judgment, it finds that “the resulting injury and indignity is a deprivation of an essential part of the liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment.”" Cass R. Sunstein in Bloomberg.
DOUTHAT: Religious liberty and the gay-marriage endgame. "Unless something dramatic changes in the drift of public opinion, the future of religious liberty on these issues is going to depend in part on the magnanimity of gay marriage supporters — the extent to which they are content with political, legal and cultural victories that leave the traditional view of marriage as a minority perspective with some modest purchase in civil society, versus the extent to which they decide to use every possible lever to make traditionalism as radioactive in the America of 2025 as white supremacism or anti-Semitism are today." Ross Douthat in The New York Times.
DIONNE: The Supreme Court uses judicial activism for conservative ends. "We prefer to think of the Supreme Court as an institution apart from politics and above its struggles. In the wake of this week’s decision gutting the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, its actions must now be viewed through the prism of the conservative movement’s five-decade-long quest for power. Liberals will still win occasional and sometimes partial victories, as they did Wednesday on same-sex marriage. But on issues directly related to political and economic influence, the court’s conservative majority is operating as a political faction, determined to shape a future in which progressives will find themselves at a disadvantage." E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post.
GREENHOUSE: Current conditions. "There is a great deal to say about each decision, and about how each reflects on the court. My thoughts are preliminary, informed by that phrase in the chief justice’s voting rights opinion: current conditions. By this phrase, the chief justice meant to suggest that there is a doctrinal basis for drawing a boundary around Congressional authority, for judicial insistence that a burden that Congress chooses to impose on the states has to be justified as a cure for a current problem...But “current conditions,” of course, has an everyday meaning as well." Linda Greenhouse in The New York Times.
FLAVELLE: What Canada can tell us about same-sex marriage. "In 2003, an Ontario court ruled that blocking same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. A few hours later, Michael Stark and Michael Leshner became the first same-sex couple legally wed in the country. Other provincial courts followed, and in 2005, the federal government made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. What followed was a substantial shift in public attitudes. The portion of Canadians supporting gay marriage, which had hovered around one-third from 2001 through 2006, increased to 43 percent in 2010 and 57 percent by 2012." Christopher Flavelle in Bloomberg.
Music recommendations interlude: Counting Crows, "Accidentally in Love."
KLEIN: Zombies and public health. "The really scary diseases, she said, tend to have three qualities: first, a host population that isn’t immune; second, the capacity to spread rapidly; third, severity. Diseases face a choice between spreading easily and being severe. If a disease is too hard on its host, killing quickly, it can’t spread. If it’s too easy on its host, it doesn’t much matter if it spreads." Ezra Klein in Bloomberg.
SOLTAS: The right way to kill Fannie Mae? "The Corker-Warner bill has the right idea. Fannie and Freddie expose public finances to risks that private companies should bear. But the coming debate will reveal something Corker and Warner have been less willing to discuss: the sea change this bill would produce in mortgage markets...If the Corker-Warner bill kills the to-be-announced market, this will raise interest rates on mortgages. The bigger risk with this legislation, though, is that nobody really knows if the new mortgage market will be liquid enough. If it isn't, lenders won't lend." Evan Soltas in Bloomberg.
EDSALL: What if we're looking at inequality the wrong way? "Now Burkhauser and his allies have returned with a new paper, “Levels and Trends in United States Income and Its Distribution,” which was published earlier this month. In the 2013 paper, written with Larrimore and Philip Armour, Burkhauser has come up with statistical findings that not only wipe out inequality trends altogether but also purport to show that over the past 18 years, the poor and middle classes have done better, on a percentage basis, than the rich." Thomas B. Edsall in The New York Times.
WOLFERS: Why markets aren't getting the Fed's message. "To see why investors aren’t convinced, consider the Fed’s tortured logic. Fed officials are saying that the U.S. economy has two drivers -- one in charge of quantitative easing, the other in charge of interest rates. The former is ready to tap on the brake (or, in Bernanke’s preferred language, to ease off the gas), while the latter is on cruise control. By the Fed’s view, we shouldn’t make inferences about one from the behavior of the other." Justin Wolfers in Bloomberg.
Pretty sure nothing could be more adorable than this interlude: Sleeping dancing kittens.
2) Border-security amendment passes, 69-29
Senators amend the immigration bill to bolster border security, 69-29. "Senators on Wednesday approved a plan to double the number of officers along the U.S.-Mexico border, a key concession to Republicans who plan to join with Democrats in supporting a comprehensive immigration measure this week. At the same time, House Republicans signaled that there will be no quick resolution to the months-long debate over the nation’s immigration laws, regardless of what happens in the Senate...By a vote of 69 to 29, senators amended the immigration bill." Ed O'Keefe in The Washington Post.
A 70th vote, from Sen. Chambliss, falls out of reach. "A source familiar with the discussions told POLITICO that the negotiators are no longer trying to woo Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) because they see his demands on agricultural workers as an insurmountable hurdle. Two other Republicans, who had backed a so-called border surge plan, then turned around to reject a procedural move to advance the bill. And whether the bill’s supporters could lure Sen. Rob Portman remained in question, as key senators exchanged a flurry of offers on amendment votes that could help win over the Ohio Republican — but kept falling short of an agreement." Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim in Politico.
Sen. Rubio explains his position in floor speech. "“We have a badly broken legal immigration system,” he said. “And we have 11 million people living in this country illegally in de facto amnesty.”...“I got involved in this issue for one simple reason,” Mr. Rubio said. “I ran for office to try and fix things that are hurting this special country, and in the end, that’s what this is about for me — trying to fix a serious problem that faces America.”" Ashley Parker in The New York Times.
With so many concessions to the right, the left isn't exuberant about immigration reform any more. "A push to assuage opposition to the bipartisan immigration bill before Congress by devoting more money and muscle to the task of securing the border with Mexico has yielded at least one unforeseen consequence: It weakened support for the bill among some pro-immigrant groups that had been its most reliable backers." Fernanda Santos in The New York Times.
Immigration and fiscal policy. "An overhaul of immigration law would reduce the federal deficit. That’s the conclusion of a broad range of studies, from the libertarian Cato Institute to the conservative American Action Forum to the liberal Center for American Progress. Wait, it would really increase the deficit. That’s the analysis of theHeritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies. But hang on a second. Immigrants have little impact on the federal deficit. That’s what the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development thinks." Annie Lowrey in The New York Times.
And you thought you had seen it all interlude: This bagpipes performer has attached a flamethrower-like device.
3) The eek-onomy
Sluggish consumer spending drags down Q1 GDP in revisions. "The Commerce Department offered an unpleasant surprise Wednesday in its latest estimate of U.S. economic growth: an unusually sharp downward revision to first-quarter growth. The economy expanded at a 1.8% annual pace in the first three months of the year, far slower than the 2.4% pace estimated just a month ago. The latest revision came largely from weaker-than-expected consumer spending—particularly in the services sector—and substantially slower business investment." Sarah Portlock in The Wall Street Journal.
...And companies are still wary to put some of those profits to work. "Capital spending by business in the U.S. remains 4% below its prerecession level. Total output by manufacturers last month sat 5% below its 2007 average. A key measure of small-business sentiment trails its pre-2008 average, while a separate reading of confidence among big-company CEOs is hovering at middling levels as firms seek signs of stronger demand." Sudeep Reddy in The Wall Street Journal.
The macroeconomics in miniature of federal budget cuts. "Congress’s $85 billion, across-the-board budget cuts may not have brought the economy to a halt, as many once feared. But they are having a negative effect on jobs in the private sector, according to an analysis of the industries whose head count is most dependent on federal funds." Catherine Rampell in The New York Times.
Businesses feel pinch of swift rise in interest rates. "Sharp increases in long-term interest rates, triggered by Federal Reserve statements last week, threaten sales of homes, cars and other big-ticket items that have helped drive the U.S. economic recovery. Rate increases on interest-sensitive sectors likely aren't severe enough to derail the recovery, say economists. But they arrived just as the economy's lagging growth had showed welcome signs of improvement, raising worries among consumers and company executives." Jon Hilsenrath and Victoria McGrane in The Wall Street Journal.
IMF's Lagarde: World can withstand Fed withdrawal. "The world economy can weather the Federal Reserve’s tightening of monetary policy without major problems as long as it is “gradual” and “properly announced,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday. “The unwinding has to take place in an articulated way, with proper transitioning, not abruptly, and with good communication,” Lagarde said in an interview." Howard Schneider in The Washington Post.
Congrats, CEOs! You’re making 273 times the pay of the average worker. "Average pay for the CEOs of the top 350 firms, including the stock options they exercised, was $14.1 million in 2012–up 37.4 percent from 2009...The ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay is 273-1, down from a high of 383-1 in 2000, but up from 20-1 in 1965." Lydia DePillis in The Washington Post.
Vimeo interlude: "LSD ABC."
4) National security and Snowden
Does Snowden on the run pose a national-security risk? "The longer that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden stays on the run, the greater the danger to national security, U.S. officials say. Mr. Snowden has said he has more information he may release, and U.S. officials fear that as he looks for refuge, foreign intelligence agencies may have the opportunity to access the material he claims he stole." Evan Perez and Siobhan Gorman in The Wall Street Journal.
Terrorists try changes after Snowden's leaks, official says. "The U.S. intelligence community says terrorists are trying to change the way they communicate because of what they learned from Edward Snowden's admitted leaks of classified information about government surveillance programs. "We can confirm we are seeing indications that several terrorist groups are in fact attempting to change their communications behaviors based specifically on what they are reading about our surveillance programs in the media," a U.S. intelligence official told CNN." Barbara Starr in CNN.
Four years ago, Ed Snowden thought leakers should be ‘shot.’ "Since he publicly acknowledged being the source of bombshell leaks about the NSA two weeks ago, Ed Snowden has portrayed government secrecy as a threat to democracy, and his own leaks as acts of conscience. But chat logs uncovered by the tech news site Ars Technica suggest Snowden hasn’t always felt that way...“Those people should be shot in the balls,” Snowden apparently said of leakers in a January 2009 chat. Snowden had logged into an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server associated with Ars Technica." Timothy B. Lee in The Washington Post.
Could Glenn Greenwald go to jail? The law is alarmingly murky. "The law is surprisingly murky on whether someone in Greenwald’s position could be prosecuted. It’s possible that, under certain circumstances, journalists could face jail time for doing investigative journalism...Experts say that if a journalist actively solicits classified information from a government employee, he might be on shakier legal ground." Timothy B. Lee in The Washington Post.
Are there such things interlude: awesomeyoutubecomments.tumblr.com.
5) A primer on Wendy Davis
What does Wendy Davis mean for the larger abortion debate? "Between the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and the passage last week of a House bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, the abortion debate was already pretty intense. But Wendy Davis’ successful filibuster of a controversial Texas measure Tuesday has upended the political calculus on this issue yet again, electrifying abortion-rights activists and elevating what had been a state-level fight to a national battle." Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.
Watch: Chris Hayes interviews Wendy Davis. MSNBC.
Wendy Davis and the Texas-sized filibuster: What exactly happened last night? "Senate Bill 5 would not have banned abortions completely. According to the Texas legislature’s bill analysis, it would have prohibited physicians from administering them in the third trimester. It also imposed new rules for legal abortions, like requiring that only physicians may prescribe “abortion-inducing” drugs like RU-486, and that abortion facilities report the age of the fetuses they terminated. Effectively, though, it could’ve made getting the procedure much more difficult." Lydia DePillis in The Washington Post.
Reading material interlude: The best sentences Wonkblog read today.
Four years ago, Ed Snowden thought leakers should be ‘shot.’ Timothy B. Lee.
Could Glenn Greenwald go to jail? The law is alarmingly murky. Timothy B. Lee.
The Supreme Court ended Proposition 8. Here’s what that means. Dylan Matthews.
Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch tax reform plan: defend your tax break. Kelsey Snell and Lauren French in Politico.
Room for debate: Is the civil rights era over? The New York Times.
Who frets most about student debt? Annie Lowrey in The New York Times.
IRS taxpayer advocate suggests ‘apology payments’ for targeted groups. Lisa Rein and Josh Hicks in The Washington Post.
The low-income rental housing market is drying up as aid is slashed. Robbie Whelan in The Wall Street Journal.
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