WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor breaks ground for Hispanics, she is poised to add an exclamation point to another historic demographic shift: the move to a Catholic court.
Sotomayor was raised Catholic and if she is confirmed, six out of nine, or two-thirds of the justices on the court will be from the faith. Catholics make up about one-quarter of the U.S. population.
"It's most unusual," said Barbara Perry, a government professor at Sweetbriar College who was already writing a book about Catholics on the Supreme Court when Sotomayor was named as the next nominee.
"Presidents used to reserve a Catholic seat and a Jewish seat on the Supreme Court," Perry told CNN Radio. "Now we've moved from a Catholic seat on the court to a Catholic court."
Sources tell CNN Radio that billions in road and bridge money is going "farther" and being used "faster" than expected.
Two administration officials say Obama will announce that the Department of Transportation has funded 2,000 projects so far with stimulus dollars and that those projects have come in "under budget" and "ahead of schedule."
The sources did not provide any details, and it is not yet clear how the White House is judging the expected pace or costs of stimulus projects.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN spoke with Senate historian Don Ritchie earlier this month about what could happen if Gov. Rod Blagojevich were to appoint someone to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat:
"The Constitution gives the Senate the ultimate authority to decide the qualifications of any of its members," Ritchie said.
TEXT: This is under Article 1, Section 5 which states "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..."
WHEN? The Senate can only react after someone has presented a certificate of appointment. And then, refusal must of course come as a vote.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just weeks after opening shop, the Obama transition team has been flooded by what looks like an unprecedented wave of hundreds of thousands of resumes from people who want positions in the new president's administration.
"We've actually had more than 300,000 expressions of interest," Obama transition spokesman Nick Shapiro told CNN Radio.
That is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Iceland.
It dwarfs the 44,000 applicants reported by a Bush transition spokeswoman to the San Francisco Chronicle just days before George W. Bush was inaugurated in January 2001. The Clinton transition team in 1993 put its number of applicants near Inauguration Day at approximately 100,000. And the Obama boom has another month to build.
Meanwhile, it's creating a sort of business boom for job-search companies in and out of Washington.
Listen: What do bigtime headhunters think?
Listen: How the Obama job hunt is sparking new business.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Remember "drill, baby drill"? In its last weeks in office, the Bush administration is starting to make it happen by quietly starting the process of exploration and drilling off the coast of Virginia.
The move means that President-elect Barack Obama and brand new interior secretary nominee Ken Salazar - a Democratic senator from Colorado - will have to jump feet-first into the decades-old debate over offshore oil drilling. It's an issue where the two disagreed at one point.
Watch: Obama's choice for the Interior Department isn't all green, say some
The state is ground zero for the drilling debate because of possible reserves off the coast and what energy experts see as a friendlier government than elsewhere.
(CNN) – The most highly rated radio station in Tampa, Florida, temporarily renamed itself from "FLZ 93" to "Obama 93" late Tuesday afternoon as the Sunshine State was still casting votes.
WFLZ's program director Tommy Chuck told CNN Radio that the idea is in jest. "It's very light-hearted," Chuck said, "It's a spoof on the whole election thing."
Publicity stunt or not, the top 40 station was blasting "Obama 93" taglines and promotions out to a vast, highly coveted listenership. Chuck estimates that 420,000 people in the Tampa area regularly hear their broadcasts. In addition to on-air use of the phrase, "Obama 93" lined the FLZ Web site, where the station's logo was crossed out and replaced with the words.
Chuck insisted that the ClearChannel station was not trying to be partisan and said Sen. John McCain had spoken on their station several times. Asked whether FLZ had considered a similar "McCain 93" stunt, Chuck said, "We may."
McCain's final Florida rally was in Tampa on Monday and drew 1,100 people, a much smaller crowd than the thousands estimated for President Bush's campaign stop there in 2004.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As most of Congress continues its August break from the Capitol, House Republican Leader John Boehner wants to keep a rare protest in the chamber continuing for at least the next two.
In a memo sent to GOP congressmen Wednesday, Boehner urged his troops to “indicate your availability for any days during the next two weeks, August 11th through 22nd, as soon as possible.” Those dates cover weekdays up until the political conventions start with the Democratic gathering in Denver on August 25.
“We must build on this opening,” Boehner wrote, “and keep building on it until the American people have been heard.”
Meanwhile, Democrats looked to make an issue of the Republican’s leisure time activity, distributing photos of a golfing Boehner along with reports that he had spent hundreds on green fees while golfing this week, as House Republicans demanded Democrats return to address a crisis situation.
Boehner’s office told the Washington Post that details of the outing at Boehner’s home course in Ohio were unclear, but they were confident that any golfing would have been done over the weekend.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Fitness star and effervescence extreme Richard Simmons is on Capitol Hill today, tackling the issue of childhood obesity and pushing for increased school exercise programs. But as he testifies before the House Education and Labor Committee, the 60-year-old is nodding toward that celebrity siren song: political office.
In a half-serious, half-jocular tone, Simmons described his approach to the hearing, saying, "I want to have the respect of a congressman, I want to talk like a congressman, and maybe, someday, I'll be a congressman."
During three minutes of follow-up questions, Simmons displayed an almost Washingtonian flare for avoiding a direct position. "However I can be of use," he said, "If my country wants me, I'll be there for my country."
So has no plans to run?
"Well," he answered coyly, "I don't know. I may run for office. You never know."
Listen: Simmons speaks with CNN Radio about his political ambitions