CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 26, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DOMA IS DEAD: Gays and lesbians celebrated historic gains Wednesday in their fight against laws limiting same-sex marriages, saying Supreme Court rulings overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act and rejecting the appeal of a California marriage ban represent a “joyous milestone.” – Michael Pearson
OBAMA “HISTORIC” LEGACY WATCH: President Obama in a written statement: “I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
DOLAN “TRAGIC” CATHOLIC WATCH: “Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so.”
WHAT’S NEXT? BOIES’ FIVE YEAR GOAL… David Boies told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger: “In five years, our goal is to have marriage equality throughout the country. I think that is an achievable goal.”
TV WATCH: CROSSFIRE” RETURNS TO CNN... On the right: Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp; On the left: Stephanie Cutter, Van Jones. The long-running political debate show that aired on CNN from 1982-2005 will debut this fall.
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end higher after weak GDP data give investors hope for further Fed stimulus. Major indexes add about 1%.
William "Mo" Cowan will leave the Senate after just five months – the latest in a long line of "Senate placeholders." What historical Senate placeholder served the shortest term?
With the U.S. Supreme Court split on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the deciding vote came down to 76-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sided with his more liberal colleagues.
While Kennedy was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate in 1988, he is considered the Court’s swing vote.
It was Kennedy who wrote the majority decision in the 5-4 ruling, in which the Court said that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, meaning legally married same-sex couples will be granted the same federal benefits provided to heterosexual spouses. Kennedy stated that no law Congress writes can "deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment."
We were struck by what CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, one of the foremost experts on the Court, had to say about Kennedy’s legacy:
“We now know what the first line of Anthony Kennedy’s obituary, many years in the future, will be,” Toobin said on CNN. “He is the justice who is the author of the three most important gay rights decisions in the history of the Supreme Court. He wrote Lawrence v. Texas which said, in 2003, that gay people couldn’t be thrown in prison for having consensual sex. He wrote the Romer decision, which struck down a Colorado law that discriminated against gay people. And here he has now written the opinion that says the federal government cannot put validly married gay people into a separate and lesser category of rights holders."
Heading into the cases, same-sex marriage proponents seemed confident that Kennedy – because of his history on the subject – would prove to be the deciding vote. And with his authoring of the majority opinion in the DOMA case, it appears those supporters were right.
"There is no comparable justice in American history," Toobin told Gut Check. "All the African American rights cases were not written by one person, all the women's rights cases were not written by one person. It is all Kennedy and that is an enormous legacy."
See the Justice’s biographies here.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Texas abortion bill dies as confusion marks end of session
The Texas legislature's special session ended in chaos and confusion early Wednesday, when a marathon filibuster failed - but so did a Republican effort to pass a bill that would have greatly restricted abortions in the state. – Ed Payne
Gut Check Full Service: Wendy Davis: From teen mom to Harvard Law to famous filibuster… The Texas state senator whose filibuster of an abortion bill became a national phenomenon has a long history of persisting against tough odds. – Josh Levs
Leading Drudge: Gay Day At High Court
A divided U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union, saying it violates the rights of married gay couples by denying them government benefits. – Greg Stohr
Leading HuffPo: Double Rainbow: Doma Dead, Prop 8 Dismissed
The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote. – Ryan J. Reilly and Sabrina Siddiqui
Leading Politico: SCOTUS gay marriage rulings reshape landscape
In a long-awaited pair of 5-4 rulings cheered by gay rights advocates, the Supreme Court Wednesday overturned the federal ban on benefits for same-sex married couples, and appeared to pave the way for same-sex marriage to resume in the state of California. – Josh Gerstein
Leading The New York Times: Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings
The court ruled unconstitutional a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples and effectively permitted gay marriage in California. – Adam Liptak
The political bites of the day
- The Clinton’s support Court’s finding on DOMA -
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AND FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON IN A WRITTEN PRESS RELEASE: “By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union. We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California. We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic victory.”
Gut Check Flashback: Remember when Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act? “I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position,” Clinton said prior to signing DOMA on Friday, September 20, 1996. “The Act confirms the right of each state to determine its own policy with respect to same gender marriage and clarifies for purposes of federal law the operative meaning of the terms ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse.’”
- Same-sex marriage in California by end of July, says Lt. Gov -
CALIFORNIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN: “I would expect, in the worst case, from my perspective scenario, by the end of July, same-sex marriages will be provided, not just here in San Francisco, but all throughout the state of California, and the best case, certainly much sooner than that.”
Gut Check Full Service: California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, is urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay on gay marriage so marriage in the state can resume ‘immediately’. As soon as they lift their stay ‘the wedding bells will ring’ said Harris. “This is a huge day for California.”
- 2016 Alert: Dean Screams ‘Remember Me!’ -
FORMER GOV. HOWARD DEAN IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “I am proud to have been the first governor in the country to sign civil unions into law and today is another step in the march towards equality and dignity for all human beings.”
- Evangelical: God is the only authority on marriage -
REV. ROB SCHENCK OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH ALLIANCE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE OUTSIDE THE SUPREME COURT: “No matter how any of us feel about the outcomes in these cases one thing is true: the Supreme Court has no authority when it comes to the nature of marriage. That authority belongs to the creator whom our founders declared is the source of all our rights. The public conversation over marriage continues and that is a good thing.”
- What brings congresswomen together? Beating the press corps -
DEMOCRATIC REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ OF FLORIDA IN A SPEECH ON THE HOUSE FLOOR: “The gentlelady from West Virginia is absolutely right – we may not always agree within the boundaries and walls of this room but I think all of us can agree that we want to defeat the common adversary that is the press corps.”
Gut Check Full Service: The Congressional Women’s Softball Game takes place Wednesday evening, pitting members of Congress against the press corps – all to raise money to fight cancer.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
Compared to Democratic Sen. Rebecca L. Felton of Georgia, Sen. Mo Cowan served an eternity in the U.S. Senate.
Felton has the high distinction of being the shortest serving U.S. senator ever – including the first women to ever serve in the legislative body.
When Georgia Gov. Thomas W. Hardwick was looking to appoint someone to an unexpectedly vacated Senate seat, his main criteria was to pick someone who would not run for reelection when the special election occurred later in the year.
Enter: Rebecca L. Felton.
Hardwick appointed Felton on October 3, 1922 but was not sworn in as the U.S. senator from Georgia until November 21, the day the Senate reconvened. For that one day in November, Felton became the first woman to serve in the Senate, the shortest serving senator ever and the oldest freshman senator at 87 years old.
On November 22, 1922 her replacement - Walter F. George - assumed the seat he won in the November election.
In her one day as senator, Felton addressed being the first woman in the legislative body.
"When the women of the country come in and sit with you, though there may be but very few in the next few years, I pledge you that you will get ability, you will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness," she said.
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Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question. Nice job on a busy day.
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