By Tracy Bloom
Fate of 8: The Supreme Court justices Tuesday morning heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative that prohibits same-sex couples from marrying. Based on the line of questioning, legal experts have hypothesized a number of different outcomes. Among them: The court could ultimately decide to dismiss the case as “improvidently granted,” meaning the lower court ruling would stand (in this case, same-sex couples would be granted the right to marry in California), but the case would have zero real significance outside of the state; the justices could rule the initiative is invalid; they could decide the proponents “lack the right” to defend Proposition 8, setting the stage possibly for a new challenge; or they could send it back to the lower courts, which could then use the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act case—which the justices will hear Wednesday—as a guide. (Read more)
United They Stand: Add another name to the list of Democratic senators who now support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana announced Tuesday that he too favors legalizing gay marriage. “Montanans believe in the right to make a good life for their families,” Tester wrote on Facebook. “How they define a family should be their business and their business alone. I’m proud to support marriage equality because no one should be able to tell a Montanan or any American who they can love and who they can marry.” Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia and Mark Begich of Alaska all threw their support this week behind marriage equality. (Read more)
Wedded to the Idea: Number cruncher Nate Silver is using his forecast model on same-sex marriage, predicting that a national referendum on legalizing gay marriage would have failed if it had been put to a vote last year, 48 percent to 52 percent. However, The New York Times blogger says that by 2016, 32 states would be willing to back same-sex marriage, and that figure will shoot up to 44 states in 2020. Silver concludes: “Even if one prudently assumes that support for same-sex marriage is increasing at a linear rather than accelerated pace ... the steady increase in support is soon likely to outweigh all other factors. In fact, even if the Supreme Court decision or some other contingency freezes opinion among current voters, support for same-sex marriage would continue to increase based on generational turnover, probably enough that it would narrowly win a national ballot referendum by 2016.” (Read more)
Body Blow: North Dakota is slowly stripping away a woman’s right to choose. On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed three strict, abortion-limiting bills that essentially outlaw the legal procedure in the state after just six weeks. Critics argue the measures are unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, and the governor himself has acknowledged that he expects the legislation to be challenged in court. Accordingly, Dalrymple has told lawmakers to set aside money for the likely legal fight. And Republicans still wonder why they’ve been accused of waging a so-called war on women? (Read more)
Agent of Change: President Obama appointed Julia Pierson on Tuesday as the first female director of the U.S. Secret Service. The veteran Secret Service agent is currently the agency’s chief of staff. The Secret Service has been embroiled in controversy the last year, stemming from a scandal in April in which agents brought prostitutes to their hotel in Colombia as they prepared for President’s Obama arrival for a summit of the hemisphere’s leaders. Mark Sullivan, the service’s last director, announced his retirement in February after issuing an apology for the scandal. (Read more)
Video of the Day: Jim Carrey’s viral anti-gun satirical music video (which you can watch here) has earned him the ire (to say the least) of many on the right, including conservative commentators and non-funny people Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. The pair went off on the comedian during Hannity’s Fox News program Monday night. If their reaction is any indication, Carrey should consider the Funny or Die music video a smashing success.