**SCOTUSblog is tweeting updates of oral arguments. ...
... The New York Times' "The Lede" has live commentary. ...
... Adam Liptak & Scott Shane of the New York Times: "As the Supreme Court on Tuesday weighed the very meaning of marriage, several justices seemed to have developed a case of buyer's remorse about the case before them. Some wondered aloud if the court had moved too fast to address whether gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry." ...
... The Washington Post story, by Robert Barnes & Carol Morello, is here. ...
... Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog analyzes the Justices' remarks, with a concentration of Kennedy, who seems to want to skip the whole thing. "Ooh, my sinecure for life is too hard."
... The oral arguments in the Prop 8 case:
... Here's the Court's unofficial transcript of the arguments in the Prop 8 case (pdf). ...
... Attorneys David Boies & Ted Olson, attorneys opposing Prop 8, comment after the oral hearing:
... Sarah Erickson-Muschko of SCOTUSblog has an excellent series of links to news and opinion pieces on the two gay rights cases the Supreme Court will hear today. I won't try to duplicate her effort.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Paul Ryan's House budget:
**Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation, in the Washington Post: "Beneath all the partisan bickering, bipartisan majorities are solid for a trade policy run by and for multinationals, a health-care system serving insurance and drug companies, an energy policy for Big Oil and King Coal, and finance favoring banks that are too big to fail. Economist James Galbraith calls this the 'predator state,' one in which large corporate interests rig the rules to protect their subsidies, tax dodges and monopolies. This isn't the free market; it's a rigged market.... Bloomberg News estimated that the subsidy they are provided by being too big to fail adds up to an estimated $83 billion a year."
Natasha Lennard of Salon: "In recent months, especially in light of Aaron Swartz's suicide and Andrew 'Weev' Aurnheimer's prison sentencing, calls for reform to or disposal of the Computer Fraud and Abuses Act (CFAA) have amplified to a fever pitch.... Following Swartz's death, Rep. Zoe Lofgren proposed legislation, 'Aaron's law,' which aims to stop the government bringing disproportionate charges in cases like Swartz's. The draft cybersecurity bill circulating on Capitol Hill since last weekend, unlike Lofgren's, appears to expand the CFAA, not limit it.... TechDirt highlights one of the most perturbing suggested amendments includes changing the law such that 'conspiring' to commit what might be crimes under the CFAA would amount to actually committing the actual acts."
Bettina Boxall of the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama on Monday established five new national monuments, including one in Washington's San Juan Islands and one in northern New Mexico." ...
... Which of course horrified Republicans.
President Obama spoke about immigration reform at a naturalization ceremony yesterday:
Jillian Rayfield of Salon: "Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., announced on his Facebook page that after some 'evolving,' he now officially supports gay marriage." ...
... Zack Harold of the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) announced yesterday that he no longer supported DOMA.
We taxpayers paid for this so-called parody, along with another "spoof" of "Gilligan's Island." Thanks a lot, IRS. Good call. CBS obtained the video through a Freedom of Information Act request "after the IRS earlier refused to turn over a copy to the congressional committee that oversees tax issues: House Ways and Means":
... Josh Lederman of the AP: "... according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service...' the federal government spent ... nearly $3.7 million ... last year on the four living ex-presidents and one presidential widow. Topping the list in 2012 was George W. Bush, who got just over $1.3 million last year.... The $3.7 million taxpayers shelled out in 2012 is about $200,000 less than in 2011, and the sum in 2010 was even higher... With ex-presidents able to command eye-popping sums for books, speaking engagements and the like..., the report raises questions about whether the U.S. should provide such generous subsidies at a time when spending cuts and the deficit are forcing lawmakers and federal agencies to seek ways to cut back."
Justin Sink of The Hill: "Connecticut's U.S. senators on Tuesday admonished the National Rifle Association for robocalls to residents of Newtown, Conn.... 'With these robocalls, the NRA has stooped to a new low in the debate over how to best protect our kids and our communities,' Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, wrote in a letter to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. 'We call on you to immediately stop calling the families and friends of the victims in Newtown.' The robocalls ... urge Newtown residents to lobby their state representatives against an effort to pass stricter gun controls in the state." ...
... Jonathan Allen of Politico: "Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office on Tuesday." CW: C'mon, you knew Aqua Buddha Man could not sound reasonable for longer than 24 hours. Time's up.
John Avlon of the Daily Beast/Newsweek: "... federal investigators are now interviewing former [Michele] Bachmann campaign staffers nationwide about alleged intentional campaign-finance violations. The investigators are working on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes reported improprieties by House members and their staffs and then can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee." CW: I'm sure any testimony Madame 8 Pinocchios gives will be totally truthful. ...
... Austerity, Yes, But Not in My District. Greg Sargent: "... there's nothing like a few spending cuts in your own district to concentrate the mind. [Michele] Bachmann is, understandably, upset to hear that the Federal Aviation Administration — as part of its move to close air traffic control towers across the country due to sequestration's spending cuts -- will be closing two towers in Bachmann's district. And she’s suddenly making sense, putting out a statement decrying the sequester cuts and calling for a more 'responsible' approach."
Andrew Cohen of the Atlantic remembers legal writer Anthony Lewis, who died Monday.
Margaret Chadbourn of Reuters: "Senator Tim Johnson, the Democratic chairman of the powerful banking committee, does not plan to run for re-election when his current term ends in 2014.... Johnson, 66, a three-term senator from South Dakota, has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday in his home state to discuss what his aides described as 'his future plans.' His retirement would leave a vacant seat in a conservative-leaning state that could be difficult for Democrats to defend as they try to protect their majority in the Senate." CW: I'll say.
Alex Pareene of Salon: "Looks like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is going to try to be president now.... Walker is 'collaborating on a book with Marc Thiessen....' It is an I would like to be president sort of book.... Thiessen is a very poor Washington Post opinion columnist who wrote a book in which he strung together a series of distortions in support of the thesis that torture is great." CW: read the whole post. Walker continues to work hard to beat my own governor Rick Scott to the title of America's Worst Governor.
It Could Happen to You. An innocent man is released from prison after 23 years; a school teacher and her principal have their careers restored after 10 years -- all falsely accused/convicted under investigations conducted by retired NYPD Det. Louis Scarella. Michael Powell of the New York Times reports.
Michael Gordon of the New York Times: in a speech to be delivered at the University of Southern California tonight, David Petraeus will say he is "keenly aware" he's a first-class jerk. Meanwhile, he's been getting lots of job offers. Keen.
Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic remembers Anthony Lewis, who died Monday.
Right Wing World *
Boehner, Not as Crazy as His Caucus. Boehner flip-flops again, this time on ObamaCare, which a few weeks ago was "the law of land" but now is a law the House will "continue working to scrap." Steve Benen: "The problem isn't necessarily that the House Speaker is a right-wing ideologue, but rather, that he's weak in the face of pressure from right-wing ideologues." ...
... CW: as I've said before in some form or another -- if Boehner were a patriot, he would seek out about 30 of his lease crazy members, and work with Pelosi to get some reasonable legislation through the House. If he can tell Harry Reid to go fuck himself, he can tell a bunch of disloyal Tea Party crazies the same.
Andrew Stiles of the National Review: Pushing back against criticism of his continued support for gay-lovin' Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), GOP chair Reince "Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be 'a model for a lot of people in our party' in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. 'I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,' he said." ...
... Steve Benen: "OK, let's ... 'listen to' Mike Huckabee on culture-war issues. We might hear, for example, the former Arkansas governor suggest a national quarantine for those who are HIV positive. Huckabee has also equated homosexuality with 'pedophilia, sadomasochism, and necrophilia,' and compared gay marriage to drug addiction. Huckabee has also compared legal abortion to slavery and the Nazi holocaust."
You Can't Make Up This Stuff. Carol Kuruvilla of the New York Daily News: "Some members of the tea party are boycotting Fox News for being too liberal. The activists, who call themselves the Tea Party Fire Ants, say that Fox News has gone soft on some issues, like immigration and the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They organized a boycott that lasted from March 21 to March 24, demanding that the station ... turn even harder right.... Its organizers are more than willing to switch over to the One America, a new conservative network that will launch in July." Via Steve Benen.
* Brought to you with a lotta help from Steve Benen.
New York Times: "The leader of the rebel group that seized power in the Central African Republic, Michel Djotodia, announced Monday that he was suspending his country's Constitution, dissolving its Parliament and initiating a three-year 'consensual transition.' Residents reported a precarious calm returning to the capital, Bangui, on Tuesday with less shooting and looting than on previous days, and some markets reopening. But there were also human rights violations by the rebel group, Seleka, according to an activist there."
AP: "Banks across Cyprus remain locked Tuesday after financial authorities extended the country's bank closure, fearing worried depositors will rush to drain their accounts.... All but two of the country's largest lenders had been due to reopen Tuesday, after being shut since March 16...."
Reuters: "Taliban suicide bombers< killed at least five policemen in Afghanistan's restive east on Tuesday, officials said, in a three-hour attack that coincided with a visit to the country by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The pre-dawn attack on a police compound in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan's largest city, came as the country braces for the beginning of the spring fighting season in the 11th year of the war." ...
... Washington Post: Afghan businesswomen with whom Kerry met "... had specific requests: better access to credit, government contracting set-asides for women-owned businesses and, from Mahmoodi, more soccer pitches for women.... The Obama administration has said ... [that] the kind of large-scale foreign help that Afghanistan will need is likely to be partly contingent on safeguarding gains for women."
AP: "Syrian opposition representatives took the country's seat for the first time at an Arab League summit that opened in Qatar on Tuesday, a significant diplomatic boost for the forces fighting President Bashar Assad's regime. In a ceremonious entrance accompanied by applause, a delegation led by Mouaz al-Khatib, the former president of the main opposition alliance -- the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition -- took the seats assigned for Syria at the invitation of Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani."
AP: "Italy's highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned [American] Amanda Knox's acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United States."