The group blog of The New Republic

June 26, 2013

Last night Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, filibustered SB 5, a bill that would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks and shut down most of the state’s abortion providers. With over 100,000 people watching the Senate’s live feed as the bill’s vote missed its deadline, Davis is poised to go down in filibuster history. But how does her filibuster stack up against the other recently famous filibuster, a less dramatic—but no less impressive—performance from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul back in March?

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It’s been a couple of hours now since the Supreme Court handed down its decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Do you know what really happened? I don’t, not precisely. I know the court struck down DOMA as unconstitutional, which means that the federal government cannot deny benefits to members of same-sex marriages, although it does not mean that anybody in America can marry somebody of the same sex—that still depends on which state you would like to do it in.

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What a difference a day makes. The Supreme Court on Wednesday morning struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The ruling, as expected, does not establish a universal right to same-sex marriage. But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a five-to-four majority, eschewed a narrow opinion that threw out the law simply on federalism grounds. Instead, Kennedy and the four liberal justices declared that DOMA deprives same-sex couples of “equal protection” under the law.

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Despite occasional fears of a close race, Democrat Ed Markey defeated Republican Gabrielle Gomez by 10 points in last night’s special election. The results aren't a surprise, since non-partisan polls showed Markey up by a similar margin. And no one should have been surprised by Markey’s clear lead, since he outspent his Republican opponent in one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country.

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Back in 1989, Andrew Sullivan looked at an issue not unlike the ones decided upon by the Supreme Court today: the right of a gay man to remain in his deceased partner’s apartment.

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When the Supreme Court announced yesterday that it had eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley had an interesting reaction. “What it tells me is after 45 years, the Voting Rights Act worked,” Grassley said, “and that’s the best I can say. It just proves that it worked.”

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For anyone who has been following the news for the past 24 hours, watching the “Today” show this morning was a surreal experience. It was easy to forget that the main event of the broadcast was still—hours after a state senator had heroically talked nonstop for half a day to thwart a bill in Texas—the umpteenth apology of Paula Deen.

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The skirmishes between book reviewers and authors usually make the latter look petty. They write in to complain about some small misrepresentation, coming across as defensive.

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June 25, 2013

Putin: Snowden Is a "Free Man"

Edward Snowden's going to stay in Russia, just you wait

Edward Snowden's going to stay in Russia, just you wait

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Sorry Seems to Be the Easiest Word

What's the point of public apologies?

Any toddler knows how to feign just enough contrition to get out of trouble. Theoretically, what they are demonstrating are “manners,” but if you have ever heard a three-year-old mutter an unfeeling, transactional “sorry” as an automatic, easy get-out-of-timeout card, it is hard not to think he is a sociopath.

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