(Updated at 5:25 p.m.)
Washington (CNN) - A U.S. district judge granted a preliminary injunction Monday to stop federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that he said destroys embryos, ruling it went against the will of Congress.
The ruling by Judge Royce C. Lamberth was a blow to the Obama administration, which last year issued guidelines to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Lamberth's ruling said all embryonic stem cell research involves destroying embryos, which violates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment included in federal spending bills.
"The Dickey-Wicker Amendment unambiguously prohibits the use of federal funds for all research in which a human embryo is destroyed," Lamberth's ruling said. "It is not limited to prohibit federal funding of only the 'piece of research' in which an embryo is destroyed. Thus, if ESC [embryonic stem cell] research is research in which an embryo is destroyed, the guidelines, by funding ESC research, violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment."
(CNN) - Levi Johnston filed paperwork on Friday that confirms his intent to run for office in Wasilla, Alaska – presumably for the same office Sarah Palin held until 2002.
Filing a letter of intent is typically the first step local politicians take when seeking elected office. Johnston's filing permits him to accept campaign contributions.
In the Alaska Public Offices Commission form letter, Johnson filled out a blank stating he intends to run for office in the "City of Wasilla 2011" election but did not declare an office. But, Stone & Company Entertainment confirmed to CNN on August 10 that it is actively shopping a show that will feature Johnston running for mayor.
Washington (CNN) - A group of conservative activists slammed the Obama administration Monday for allegedly planning to use its administrative authority to undercut immigration restrictions in the wake of congressional inaction on a comprehensive reform bill.
In a letter sent to the White House, leaders of 17 conservative grass-roots organizations cited reports that the administration is considering using its executive power "to effectively legalize significant numbers of illegal aliens."
"We strongly urge that you refrain pursuing that tactic," they wrote. "We believe that such an abuse of power would further polarize the immigration issue, which already is so controversial that reasonable discussion is confounded."
Only Congress, they argued, "possesses plenary power over making our immigration policy. The administrative branch has limited discretion for dealing with aliens and quite limited policymaking authority."
Vineyard Haven (CNN) - Like a tree falling in the forest, it's the First Family's island vacation with very few witnesses. The Obama's have so far managed to spend almost five days on Martha's Vineyard out of the public's eye.
As bad weather rolled in Sunday and stretched into Monday, the Obamas have remained holed up on the 28 acre Blue Heron farm, in Chilmark, Massachusetts.
The pool of reporters typically assembled each day to follow the President around, were sent packing early Monday and told that there might be some movement late in the afternoon. But don't hold your breath that if they are re-assembled, they'll actually catch a glimpse of the President, let alone get any video to document it.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Some U.S. states facing steep budget gaps have resorted to tax policies that could be harmful over the long term, a non-profit research group said Monday.
In a review of 2010 changes in state tax policy, the Tax Foundation said certain states have targeted tax increases on high-income earners, smokers and out-of-state business transactions. These taxes may be politically convenient, but the foundation said that relying too heavily on such sources can lead to problems over the long run.
"Relatively high taxes on high-income individuals, smokers and out-of-state business transactions can make a state less attractive and create more volatility in an already uncertain economic climate," said Joseph Henchman, director of state projects at the Tax Foundation.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Joe Sestak, the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee, is picking up an endorsement from an unlikely source: a former Republican senator from the state of Nebraska.
Chuck Hagel, a former two-term Republican senator, will announce his endorsement of Sestak on Tuesday, Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin confirmed to CNN.
Hagel, who did not seek reelection in 2008 and was rumored to be a candidate for several top White House jobs after choosing not to seek the Republican presidential nomination, will announce his endorsement at two events scheduled for Tuesday in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
At Tuesday's events, Hagel is expected to "speak about Joe's independence and focus on doing what's right not for Wall Street or Washington special interests but for Pennsylvania's working families," the Sestak campaign said in a statement.
(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden delivered an optimistic assessment of the political situation in Iraq on Monday, predicting the successful formation of a new unity government in Baghdad and declaring that attempts by al Qaeda to inflame sectarian tensions have "utterly failed."
Biden also dismissed the impact of alleged Iranian attempts to manipulate and control the Iraqi political process. He declared Iranian influence in Iraq to be "minimal" and "greatly exaggerated."
He asserted that the overall level of violence in Iraq has now declined to the point that some early U.S. veterans of the conflict "would not recognize" the country today. The roughly 650,000-member Iraq security force is "already leading the way to defend and protect [the] country," he said.
The vice president's remarks, delivered at a gathering of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Indianapolis, Indiana, came a little over a week before the August 31 deadline for the conclusion of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.
President Obama’s motorcade travels through West Tisbury, Massachusetts over the weekend. The First Family is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard until Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
CNN Radio Political Notebook: CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian, with President Obama on Martha's Vineyard, talks with CNN's Bob Costantini about the future of Iraq and a planned speech by the president next week.
(CNN) - Long before last week's revelation that a large and growing chunk of Americans believe that the President is Muslim – and that only about one in three Americans correctly identify him as Christian – Barack Obama was battling misperceptions about his religion.
In early 2008, right as Obama was in desperate need of a win in the South Carolina primaries – he'd beaten Hillary Clinton in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses but lost to her in subsequent contests in New Hampshire and Iowa – false rumors swirled that he was Muslim.
Obama's father was raised in a Muslim household, though the presidential candidate had repeatedly called him an agnostic, and Obama had spent time attending an Indonesian school where most students were Muslim. An e-mail smear campaign alleged that the White House hopeful was disguising his true faith.