The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: Santorum: Louisiana vote shows the race goes on
Fresh off a big win in Louisiana, Rick Santorum insisted Sunday that Republicans are rejecting the premise that rival Mitt Romney has virtually locked up the GOP presidential nomination. "Even though a lot of folks are saying this race is over, people in Louisiana said, 'No, it's not,' " Santorum said on the CBS program "Face the Nation" about victory in Saturday's Bayou State primary.
CNN: The Supreme Court and election-year blockbusters
The justices on the Supreme Court know very well their rulings can send immediate political shock waves, and those just intensify in a presidential election year. So there is an unusual internal dynamic at work of what cases the court hears and when. But certain legal fights are so important and time-sensitive, this court of last resort is often powerless to refuse or delay. That is true of the current challenges to the health care reform law, which will be argued Monday through Wednesday.
CNN: Obama adviser: tapping strategic oil reserve still an option
A senior White House adviser said Sunday that opening the nation's strategic petroleum reserve to bring down gas prices remains an option. David Plouffe, the senior adviser to President Barack Obama, told CNN's "State of the Union" that "a lot of factors" go into a decision on tapping the oil reserve. "It's not a political decision," Plouffe said, noting that in the past, disruptions in supply caused administrations to tap the oil reserve.
CNN: Graham's 'comfortable' with Romney
Although he has yet to endorse a candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential race, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he thinks Mitt Romney will end up facing President Barack Obama in November. "I think the primary's over. Romney will be the nominee," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union. I'm very comfortable with him … he'll get to 1,144," he added, referencing the delegate total necessary to capture the nomination.
CNN: Justices to tackle epic debate over constitutionality of health care reform
The highest court in the land is preparing to tackle perhaps the most important appeals to reach it in more than a decade: the massive health care reform legislation championed by President Barack Obama. The court will soon hear six hours of oral arguments over three days on the law's constitutionality - and your health and your finances could be on the line. Their eventual rulings in an election year will not only guide how every American receives medical care but would also establish precedent-setting boundaries of government regulation over a range of social areas.
CNN: Philadelphia priest trial refocuses abuse scandal
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday in Philadelphia in the first case in which an official of a Roman Catholic archdiocese has been accused of protecting abusive priests by moving them from parish to parish. Monsignor William Lynn has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Lynn served as the vicar of clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, a position in which he was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.
CNN: Iraqi woman beaten in her California home dies
An Iraqi woman who was left brutally beaten in her Southern California home with an apparently xenophobic note beside her has died. Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was taken off life support Saturday, said the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that advocates for Muslim civil liberties.
CNN: James Cameron plunges solo to deepest spot in world's oceans
Oscar-winning director James Cameron resurfaced Monday after plunging to the deepest known point in the world's oceans in his one-man submersible. The filmmaker reached Challenger Deep, which is part of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, near Guam, at 7:52 a.m. Monday (5:52 p.m. ET Sunday), said Ellen Stanley, a spokeswoman for the National Geographic Society that is working with Cameron on the project.
CNN: More violence, protests in Syria as U.S., Turkish leaders discuss aiding opposition
Sunday was marked by a slew of anti-regime protests and yet more violence targeting dissenters in Syria, while outside the embattled country the leaders of the United States and Turkey discussed ways to aid the opposition.
CNN: France charges siege gunman's brother as an accomplice
The brother of a gunman killed in a siege in southwestern France has been charged with complicity in seven murders and two attempted murders and taken into custody, the Paris prosecutor's office said Sunday. Abdelkader Merah is also being charged with conspiracy to prepare acts of terrorism and group theft, the prosecutor's office told CNN. He was arrested Tuesday night as police closed in on his brother Mohammed and faced a anti-terror judge on Sunday.
CNN: Throngs gather for pope's Mass in Mexico
Pope Benedict XVI led an open-air Mass Sunday before throngs of faithful Catholics in central Mexico. Cheering onlookers waved balloons, flags and banners as the pope arrived at Bicentennial Park in Mexico's Guanajuato state. Many said they had spent the night camped out, awaiting the pope's arrival. More than 400,000 people attended the Mass, according to Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency.
CNN: Hong Kong appoints new leader
Protesters pushed their way past police in rowdy scenes as elite members of Hong Kong's Election Committee decided the city-state's next chief executive. They chose Leung Chun-ying, known as CY Leung, a British-educated chartered surveyor and one of two candidates who were backed by Beijing. Leung beat his nearest rival Henry Tang by a wide margin, after an uncharacteristically dirty campaign which exposed extramarital affairs and allegations of bribery.
CNN: Gas prices up but may be peaking, Lundberg Survey finds
U.S. gas prices jumped more than 11 cents per gallon over the past two weeks, but may be peaking as the price of crude oil holds steady, according to the latest Lundberg Survey. The average price of U.S. regular gasoline rose to $3.93 per gallon, up from just over $3.81 in the last Lundberg Survey on March 9. But survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said prices declined about a penny per gallon in California, where fuel costs are typically the highest, and crude oil prices have remained fairly steady in March.
CNN Money: Stocks: What will the consumer do?
It's shaping up to be another rough week. As investors put the recent spate of disappointing housing news behind them, they'll turn their attention to the consumer, with reports due on consumer confidence and personal income and spending.
CNN Money: Dartmouth chief tapped to head World Bank
President Obama on Friday nominated Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, to be the next president of the World Bank. Kim's background is in medicine, not economics or business as has been the case with most previous World Bank presidents. He has worked with international organizations, serving as a senior official at the World Health Organization.
In case you missed it…
CNN's Don Lemon talks to LZ Granderson and Will Cain about the political commentary on Trayvon Martin.
When is Obama going to send his attorney general down to wall street to audit these wall street speculators, who are driving up oil prices, in spite of a slowing China, a recession in Europe, and less consumption in the US. All of these event points to less demand, so why the HELL oil is above 100 dollar a barrel? I know the repubs say that the free markets means corporations and big oil have the freedom to rape the American people without questioning their motives, but this is rediculous. I don't care if the repubs scream government overreach, but Mr president
please investigate these oil speculators for treason, for their greed, and their willingness to send the American back into a depression.
I read the lame republican excuses for their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. What it basically boils down to is that republicans are more interested in destroying Obama at the expense of helping American people. Our FL AG Bondi, even said we need health reform, but she had Florida spend tax payer money to oppose it. As for the government forcing us, I remember when the government could draft Americans to serve our country, when we were forced to pay into social security and medicare, when the government made you pay at least a minimum wage.
On the Affordable Care Act, Clarence Thomas need to recuse himself, due to his close association with people who oppose it. He has had a number of meetings with the Kochs and his wife represents a group trying to overturn the legislation.