CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 30, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
SUSPICIOUS LETTERS: LETTER TO OBAMA INTERCEPTED; SIMILAR TO RICIN-LACED LETTER TO BLOOMBERG… Officials intercepted a letter on Thursday addressed to the White House that was similar to threatening letters sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a group he founded. The off-site facility that screens mail addressed to the White House turned the letter over to the FBI for testing and investigation, U.S. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.
FIRST ON CNN: HOUSE INVESTIGATORS QUESTIONING IRS CINCINNATI WORKERS… House investigators are interviewing two front-line Internal Revenue Service employees from the Cincinnati tax exempt office this week and plan to interview two others next week, two congressional sources familiar with the investigation tell CNN. – Dana Bash
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher on mixed economic data. Dow adds 22 points. NASDAQ gains 0.7%, S&P rises 0.4%.
Who is the only president to kill someone in a duel?
After months of historic hearings, June is set to be a month that could profoundly change legal precedent in the United States.
“Four weeks. Four major legal rulings,” writes CNN’s Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears. “The justices will meet in at least five public sessions to release opinions in its remaining 30 cases, among them some the most strongly-contested legal and social issues they have confronted in decades.”
Haven’t been keeping up with the Supreme Court this term? Don’t worry, here is Mears’ vital summary for two of the groundbreaking cases:
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
AT ISSUE: A challenge to the school's race-conscious admissions policies.
THE CASE: Abigail Fisher individually sued the university after her college application was rejected in 2008.
THE ARGUMENTS: Fisher claims she was turned away in part because she is white, despite being more qualified than some minority applicants.
THE IMPACT: The appeal raises anew thorny, unresolved questions over race and remedies.
VOTING RIGHTS: Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder; Nix v. Holder
AT ISSUE: The continued use by the federal government of the key enforcement provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.
THE CASE: Section 5 gives federal authorities open-ended oversight of states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. Any changes in voting laws and procedures in the covered states must be "pre-cleared" with Washington.
THE ARGUMENTS: The provision was reauthorized in 2006 for another 25 years and counties in Alabama and North Carolina subsequently filed suit, saying the monitoring was overly burdensome and unwarranted.
THE IMPACT: The high court's decision to accept these appeals for a full review came in a presidential election year that incorporated newly redrawn voting boundaries, based on the updated census. This ruling would likely impact next year's mid-term elections.
For the rest of three other cases Mears features in his summary – including the two most anticipated decisions regarding same sex marriage – read his story.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Republican senators hit Sebelius on Obamacare fundraising
Several Republican senators are calling for an investigation of whether the head of the Health and Human Services Department violated appropriations and ethics rules when she reportedly tried to raise funds for a group that is working to help put Obamacare in place. – Halimah Abdullah
Leading Drudge: 'Godfather' On The Move
In this week's cover story, TIME's David Von Drehle interviews Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the enduring problems facing Chicago – school reform, gun violence, unemployment and budget shortfalls. Von Drehle also outlines how Emanuel's aggressive efforts – often at odds with his Democratic base – could prove to be a proxy for a broader fight nationwide over the identity of the Democratic Party.
Leading HuffPo: On Edge: Rubio Moves Leave Backers Uneasy
Republican Senator Marco Rubio's repeated criticism of parts of the sweeping U.S. immigration bill he helped craft has unsettled immigration reform advocates and others who support its passage. – Caren Bohan
Leading Politico: The new Anthony Weiner, same as the old
In the week since he took the New York City mayoral race by storm, Anthony Weiner has delighted in the media circus he single-handedly created. He has mixed it up with reporters and taunted longtime adversaries in the same manner that made him a liberal lightning rod in Congress. – Maggie Haberman
Leading The New York Times: Travels of the President Under a Microscope in an Era of Belt Tightening
For a leader presiding over automatic budget cuts and a muted economic recovery, there are growing political costs to President Obama’s travel itinerary. – Michael Shear and Peter Baker
The political bites of the day
- McCain responds to Syria photo controversy -
BRIAN ROGERS, SEN. JOHN MCCAIN’S COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “None of the individuals the senator planned to meet with was named Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim. A number of other Syrian commanders joined the meeting, but none of them identified himself as Mohamad Nour or Abu Ibrahim.” LINK
- With campaign in rearview, Ann Romney says there were mistakes -
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CBS: “You'd always love to turn the page back and go back and say, 'Boy, if we had the crystal ball, wouldn't it have been nice to have done things a little differently.' But I still think, you know, every campaign makes mistakes. Both sides make mistakes.” LINK
- Brother v. Brother -
JEFF NUGENT, WHO IS GUN ACTIVIST TED NUGENT’S BROTHER, IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “In excess of 80% of Americans are in strong support of enhanced background checks, now, it boggles my mind how our elected officials and the NRA are not paying attention to the majority of the people that they represent. I don’t get it.”
- Russia’s role in Syria -
SPOKESPERSON JEN PSAKI AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING: “They have an important role to play, We could have continued meetings with the London 11 and talk about areas where we agree and how we are going to agree to continue with the opposition but the point here is working with countries like Russia who have supported the regime, they have ties to the regime, to see if we can get both sides back to the table and that's the special role that they can play in this process and why we feel it's important to continue partnering with them.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
After Charles Dickinson published a statement in the Nashville Review that labeled Andrew Jackson a "worthless scoundrel, a poltroon and a coward," the Tennessee lawyer and future president challenged Dickinson to a duel.
Because dueling was illegal in Tennessee, the duo headed to Harrison's Mills in Logan, Kentucky, and on May 30, 1806, Jackson and Dickinson took their places and prepared to fire on one another.
Dickinson was the first to fire, hitting Jackson two inches from his heart but only breaking two ribs. Jackson, who was reportedly clutching his chest at the time, raised his gun and shot Dickinson fatally. Because Dickinson had fired first, he was forced to stand there as he was killed.
Although the wound caused by Dickinson's bullet didn't kill the future president, it did cause Jackson a lifetime of pain.
To this day, Jackson, who went on to have a storied military career after the duel, is the only president to have killed someone in a duel.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)
Congrats to Adam Sharp (@AdamS) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Has Adam ever been in a duel? How else do you think they settle things at Twitter?
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