CNN's GUT CHECK | for March 27, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: Colorado movie-theater shooting suspect James Holmes has offered to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison, but prosecutors have not accepted his offer because they may choose to pursue the death penalty, according to documents filed Wednesday.
DOUBTS ABOUT DOMA: JUSTICES SOMEWHAT RECEPTIVE TO REPEALING FEDERAL LAW ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE… The Supreme Court offered at least a measure of support Wednesday for doing away with a federal law that denies legally married same-sex couples the same range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual partners. The justices for nearly two hours debated in open session the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a 1996 law that says for federal purposes, marriage is defined as only between one man and one woman. – Bill Mears and Tom Cohen
STATES’ RIGHTS: “I think DOMA is in trouble,” said Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s senior legal analyst. “And I think it is in trouble because Anthony Kennedy was repeatedly concerned that the Defense of Marriage Act violates states’ rights. … He was clearly very concerned that the Defense of Marriage Act was invading the province of the state to define marriage.”
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks recover from earlier losses to end mixed. Dow falls 33 points. NASDAQ adds 0.1%, S&P drops 0.1%.
What branch of the armed forces was authorized on this day in history?
What caught our eye today in politics
It has been 103 days since 20 children were gunned down in their classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School - three months and three days since Americans were shocked by the brutality, triggering a flood of politicians pledging to do something about mass shootings.
Two stories today, however, caught our eye and raised the question: Has Congress’ gun control moment passed?
“While support for many gun control policies remains high in the wake of the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, polls conducted over the past few weeks suggest that three-and-a-half months after the tragedy, public backing for major new gun laws overall appears to have dropped significantly,” writes CNN’s Paul Steinhauser.
A CBS News poll found a 10-point drop in tightening gun laws, from 57% after the Newtown shootings to 47% this week. Polls from CNN/ORC International, ABC News and Fox News show similar results.
“Support for stricter gun control has fallen dramatically among two groups - older Americans and people who live in rural areas,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “In the immediate aftermath of the shootings in Connecticut, the number of rural Americans who supported major gun restrictions rose to 49% but now that support has dropped 22 points. Support for stricter gun laws dropped 16 points among Americans over 50 years old in that same time.”
This slip in support hasn’t gone unnoticed, especially by people who want tighter gun laws. In an opinion piece for CNN, Richard J. Davis, assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement and operations during the Carter administration, asked the question: “Did we learn nothing from Newtown?”
“Many people thought that the massacre of 20 young school children and six educators by a gunman wielding an assault weapon would change the terms of the debate over firearms regulation,” Davis writes. “It appears that they were wrong.”
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: I am Palin, hear me roar
She hasn't held elected office since 2009, and earlier this year ended her contributor gig at Fox News. But Sarah Palin has a message for those who think she's out of the political game: think again. Using the thunderous response she received earlier this month at a gathering of conservative activists, Palin declares her continued relevance in a new fundraising video distributed by her political group SarahPAC. – Kevin Liptak
Leading Drudge: Net Hit By 'Biggest Attack'
A squabble between a group fighting spam and a Dutch company that hosts Web sites said to be sending spam has escalated into one of the largest computer attacks on the Internet, causing widespread congestion and jamming crucial infrastructure around the world. Millions of ordinary Internet users have experienced delays in services like Netflix or could not reach a particular Web site for a short time. – John Markoff and Nicole Perloroth for the New York Times
Leading HuffPo: DOMA On The Line
A majority of Supreme Court justices on Wednesday morning appeared skeptical of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as between a man and a woman. Whether the justices believe they have the power to make any decision in this case, however, remained murky. – Ryan J. Reilly and Mike Sacks
Leading Politico: Dean Heller's extreme makeover
Two years ago, Sen. Dean Heller voted twice for the Ryan budget. Earlier this month, he declared it “not serious” and said he’s “absolutely open to revenue.” Politicians shift their positions all the time; what’s rare about Heller is how open he is about his makeover. During his campaign last year against Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, he dove headlong from the right wing to the center. – Steve Friess
Leading The New York Times: Maine Lawyer Credited in Fight for Gay Marriage
Mary Bonauto, of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, has only a sideline seat this week, but spent a decade plotting a careful strategy. – Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The political bites of the day
– WH: SCOTUS hearings evidence of ‘significant change’ in national feelings on same-sex marriage –
PRINCIPLE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “We're seeing a pretty significant change in this country where an issue related to equality and fairness is getting more prominence and I think it is a testament to the character of this country, that we are moving in a direction where we will better fulfill some of the founding principles of the country in terms of treating everybody fairly and equally and what's notable I think about this circumstance is it's happening really fast. We're seeing history change right before our eyes.”
– Interstate warriors: Texas v. Florida –
FLORIDA GOV. RICK SCOTT IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I want Florida to learn to be a better, brighter Texas. We’ve had a stunning contrast in the last few years as far as you know what's happened. The four years before I became governor we lost 800,000 jobs. In less than two years, a little over two years we generated about 300,000 jobs. So Governor (Rick) Perry is always bragging about how great Texas is. Look, 230,000 people moved here last year, almost 300,000 private sector jobs, a little over two years, first time in five years we're below the national average in unemployment.”
– Leahy to Sessions: Don’t taint the immigration reform process –
CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE SEN. PATRICK LEAHY IN A LETTER TO REPUBLICAN SEN. JEFF SESSIONS OF ALABAMA: “I hope it is not your intention to discredit the process we undertake in the Judiciary Committee before we begin. As Chairman, I have been fair and protected the rights of all Members of the Committee, Republicans and Democrats, throughout my tenure. Others cannot say as much. I intend to proceed to comprehensive immigration reform with all deliberate speed. … I hope and expect that you will not delay consideration simply to prevent the legislation from moving forward.”
– King leaning toward Senate run –
REPUBLICAN REP. STEVE KING OF IOWA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH IOWA REPORTERS: “I have never wanted to be the guy who looked back and said, ‘Woulda, coulda, shoulda…’ So that is part of the consideration. … This is by far the most positive kind of opportunity for a Senate seat that I am ever likely to see.”
– Don’t expect illegal immigration to grow with the economy –
ECONOMIST GARY BECKNER AND JUDGE RICHARD POSNER IN A BLOG POST ON THEIR WEBSITE: “Once the American economy resumes its long-term growth path with full employment (it has not been on this path for the past 4 years), the economic pull from the US should return to where it had been before the economic crisis. However, the push from Mexico has been decreasing and should continue its downward path for the foreseeable future. One important cause is.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
After much thought & prayer, I have come to my own personal conclusion that we shouldn't tell people who they can love or who they can marry—
Senator Kay Hagan (@SenatorHagan) March 27, 2013
Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender blind. #DOMA—
Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) March 26, 2013
Another variable in the Tom-Price-for-Senate equation: Will former GA Secretary of State Karen Handel run? buzzfeed.com/rebeccaberg/fo…—
Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg) March 27, 2013
With all due respect, usage of "with all due respect" in Congress seems to be declining: capitolwords.org/term/with_all_…—
Derek Willis (@derekwillis) March 27, 2013
Bet on red! Nevada may legalize gambling on federal elections: ti.me/11M0Pfw—
(@michaelscherer) March 27, 2013
Can winning really take care of everything in Tiger Woods' troubled life? cnn.com/2013/03/26/us/…—
Michael Martinez (@MMartinezCNN) March 27, 2013
Disney pays man $8,000 after broken ride forces him to listen to It's a Small World for 30 minutes bit.ly/ZYzKoY—
Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) March 27, 2013
34 years later, US hostages in Iran still haven't been compensated. Now ARGO's popularity may help. watch: on.cnn.com/10ag3K3—
Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) March 27, 2013
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
By signing the Naval Act of 1794, President George Washington and Congress authorized the creation of what would become the U.S. Navy.
The reasons behind the act are varied but one powerful impetus was the fact that U.S. merchant ships were being captured in the Mediterranean Sea. When two ships were captured by Algiers in 1785, then-Minister to France Thomas Jefferson urged the government to authorize a naval force to protect trade ships. It wasn't until 1793, when Algiers captured another 11 ships, that Jefferson’s pleas were met with approval.
After debate, Congress approved the construction of three ships: the United States, the Constellation and the Constitution.
In 1798, three more ships were approved: the President, the Congress and the Chesapeake.
According to the Naval History and Hermitage Command, the U.S. Navy currently has around 285 ships.
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GUT CHECK GETS FACT-CHECKED
Thanks to Samantha Friedman at Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications for fact-checking yesterday’s Gut Check on Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe. Yesterday’s email edition of Gut Check said Beebe had approved restrictive abortion laws. That is incorrect. We regret the mistake and appreciate our diligent readers.
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