SCOTUS Rules on Genes: The Supreme Court released it latest round of decisions Thursday, and there’s still no rulings on gay marriage, affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. However, the justices did rule on a case involving genetics, reaching the unanimous decision that isolated human genes can’t be patented. The ruling is viewed as a victory for doctors and patients, who argue that patents interfere with science and health research as well as medical practice. In his majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that Myriad, which owns patents to two genes and was involved in the case, “did not create anything. … It found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.” According to The Wall Street Journal, the high court’s decision is “one of its most significant rulings in the age of molecular medicine, deciding who may own the fundamental building blocks of life.” (Read more)
Split on Syria: Former President Bill Clinton disagrees with President Obama on how the U.S. should handle the Syrian civil war. During a Q-and-A with Sen. John McCain at a closed to the media event for the McCain Institute for International Leadership this week, Clinton said he sided with the Arizona Republican over how the U.S. should handle the issue. McCain, who has been one of Obama’s most vocal critics on the issue, says the U.S. should be doing more to aid the anti-Assad rebels. “Some people say, ‘OK, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake. I agree with you about this,” Clinton told McCain. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit—like, as long as you don’t make an improvident commitment.” He also warned that Obama risked looking like a “total fool” if he follows what U.S. public opinion polls say and does not act decisively. (Read more)
Time for Transparency: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has sent a letter to Michael Froman, President Obama’s pick to head the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, asking that documents related to a new Pacific trade agreement with 10 other nations be released to the public. Warren says providing details about the negotiations to people would give them a chance to weigh in on the deal before it’s complete. “I appreciate the willingness of the USTR to make various documents available for review by members of Congress, but I do not believe that is a substitute for more robust public transparency,” Warren wrote in the letter. “If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.” (Read more)
Deal or No Deal: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says that unless gay couples are excluded from the Senate’s bipartisan compromise immigration bill that he worked on, he will no longer support it. Sen. Patrick Leahy, R-Vt., recently introduced an amendment that would allow gay Americans to petition for green cards for same-sex partners living outside the U.S., prompting Rubio’s threat. “If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said Thursday. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen.” (Read more)
Kiss of Death: Ann Coulter is bringing incendiary rhetoric yet again, but this time the target is her own party. In an anti-immigration column published Wednesday, the conservative pundit says that if the GOP is “stupid” enough to pass immigration reform, it “deserves to die.” Coulter’s rationale: Immigration reform won’t help Republicans win elections, so why should the party bother voting for it? Without citing any evidence to support anything she says, Coulter claims that Hispanics are “hopeless Democrats” who don’t want amnesty. “So Republicans have decided the path to victory is to flood the country with lots more of them!” she sarcastically writes. As The Huffington Post explains: “The article is the latest in a series since President Barack Obama’s November reelection in which Coulter paints Hispanics as lazy, poor and government-dependent, concluding that they could never vote for conservatives and immigration reform would destroy both the Republican Party and the country as a whole.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (aka “the love gov”) paid a visit to “Late Night” on Wednesday to “slow jam the news” about the Garden State’s October special Senate election with host Jimmy Fallon. During the segment, Christie defended his decision to hold the election early, something that will cost the state extra money. He was even a good sport as Fallon poked fun at his weight. The one topic he wouldn’t discuss, however: a possible 2016 presidential run.