The fight for same-sex marriage in California has been a long one. In 2004, Gavin Newsom surprised the state by opening marriage licenses to all couples, gay or straight. It was quickly shut down, but it opened up a flood of lawsuits. In June 2008, the California Supreme Court overturned the same-sex marriage ban. However, just a few months after, on November 8, a ballot measure called proposition 8 was passed by 52 percent of voters, and it officially defined marriage in California as between a man and a woman.
This week, we discuss two big stories, each of which considers the original intent of the 14th Amendment. Known as the "Reconstruction Amendment," as it passed in the aftermath of the Civil War, this clause of the Constitution guarantees U.S. citizenship for anyone born in the United States. It prohibits state governments from depriving anyone of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," and mandates "equal protection of the laws" for all citizens.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in California ruled Proposition 8, the voter-backed ballot measure to prohibit same-sex marriage, unconstitutional based on "due process" and "equal protection" grounds: both clauses in the 14th Amendment.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, several Republican senators are proposing to repeal or change the Amendment. They say we should no longer automatically give citizenship to American-born children of illegal immigrants.
A federal judge has overturned Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The measure passed with 52 percent of votes in November 2008. Yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled it unconstitutional on 14th Amendment grounds of due process and equal protection under the law.
In a decision that ran more than 100 pages, Judge Vaughn Walker stated that "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples."
In wartime, there is at least one clear moral imperative: spare civilian life. This is a strategic imperative as well. A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that by sparing civilian lives in Afghanistan, U.S. and NATO forces will suffer fewer revenge attacks by insurgents.
Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April, 205.8 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the latest estimates by federal scientists. (Imagine a cube filled with oil, where each side is as long as an American football field.) In the months since the explosion, BP has made more than a dozen attempts to stop the flow of oil. Last night BP started a "static kill," a procedure that could permanently seal the well.
What have scientists learned from this spill? Can we prevent this from happening again?
At the beginning of his presidency, President Obama pledged to cease combat operations in Iraq by August 31st, 2010. As we near that deadline, Obama seems on track to keep his promise. By the end of this month, combat operations will cease, and only 50,000 support troops will remain in Iraq. By the end of 2011, the president says, they will all come home.
Over 130,000 people have filed for damages due to the Gulf Oil Spill. They include shrimpers, realtors, deckhands, rig workers, restaurant owners and fish distributors from every Gulf State, and seven states beyond. Getting their checks from BP has been difficult. Only a third of the 130,000 claims against BP have been paid out. The rest are stuck in an whirlpool of red tape.
Jorge Ramos is an anchor on the Spanish language television network Univision, and author of A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto. A familiar face in Hispanic households across America, Ramos regularly covers the immigration debate. Ramos talks about Arizona's hobbled law, and where immigration reform can go from here. He says that the time is right for immigration reform, "but that nobody has the political courage in Congress to do something about it."
Today an FDA advisory panel meets with lawmakers to hammer out voluntary best practices for doctors who prescribe opiates. The regulation of opioid drugs like Oxycontin has loosened in recent years, as patient advocates asked for powerful narcotic painkillers for end-of-life care and cancer treatments. But in loosening restrictions for such cases, the FDA opened a window for wider prescriptions — and for abuse.
Yesterday, just one day before Arizona's controversial immigration law was to go into effect, a federal judge put a last-minute hold on some of the most controversial parts of the law, including the requirement for immigrants to carry papers at all times, and the directive for officers to check the immigration status of people they detain for other reasons.
For civil rights groups who oppose the law, it's a last-minute reprieve. For law enforcement agencies who supported it, it's a disappointing setback. It's been a long three months for supporters and opponents alike since Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law on April 23rd.
People go to great lengths to fabricate military service. 4 out of 5 people claiming they served in Vietnam did not. Pulitzer Prize winning historian Joseph Ellis was famously exposed in 2001 for claiming to have served in Vietnam although he never even went. The Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 law which made it a federal misdemeanor to wear, manufacture or claim unearned military medals, was recently ruled unconstitutional by a Denver judge. But what drives people to lie about military service?
92,000 cryptic reports that offer an hour-by-hour, and sometimes a minute-by-minute, look at the U.S. Army’s actions in Afghanistan were leaked this Sunday by WikiLeaks, a European news organization devoted to uncovering secrets of all kinds. The documents were shared with The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel weeks ago, and made public in those papers, and on the Internet, on Sunday.
Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan come from hill towns and farm country all across America – and when they return home, they bring their combat injuries with them. Traumatic brain injuries and missing limbs require sophisticated and constant treatment, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has a duty to treat them. But when roads are blocked by snow, or the nearest VA facility is hours away, giving veterans the care they’ve been promised can be a challenge.
The New Orleans Police Department is in trouble with the law. The department is under at least eight federal criminal investigations, including several cases in which police killed civilians. The details revealed in the investigations are horrific. n the Danziger Bridge case, a mentally handicapped man was shot in the back of the head, and police stomped on his body. In the Glover case, a man was killed and his body was torched inside his car.
The number of foreclosures on houses in the United States is growing at a rapid rate. The signs of a broken housing market have permeated nearly the entire country. With the federal government now in control of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is it fair to blame the feds for the crisis?
It's been four days since BP put a cap on the Deepwater Horizon oil well and, with cautious optimism, people have begun talking about recovery. But just because the oil has stopped gushing doesn't mean the damage is done. In fact, say some scientists, more harm is soon to come.
The statistics are staggering. Nearly 528,000 homes were taken over by lenders in the first half of this year and the country is on track to see the repossession of one million homes by the end of 2010. By comparison, in years past, lenders have historically taken over approximately 100,000 homes every year.
Grosse Pointe, Michigan resident, David Fleig sees signs of the damaged housing market everyday in his neighborhood. Fleig says, "The 'For Sale' signs are like weeds." He and his neighbors joke that all houses are "50 percent off."
A handful of countries are emerging from the recent economic crisis with what looks like the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel" in their sights. Canada, Germany and Australia are three countries that appear to be rebounding quickly from the recession. Why did these three countries recover so rapidly, and is there anything the United States can take away from their strategies to help us recover?
Explosions in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, killed at least 74 soccer fans watching the World Cup final on Sunday. Eyewitnesses described the carnage: chairs covered in blood and abandoned cars littering the scene.
On Friday, in federal court, The League of United Latin American Citizens filed a suit against Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The lawsuit is the seventh to have been filed against the state since Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law on April 23rd. This suit objects to the guidelines themselves, saying that they welcome officers to question someone’s legal status based on “vague and ill-defined factors."