Court Casts Its Vote:

While we await a decision on the Voting Rights Act case that the Supreme Court heard this year, the justices Monday made a ruling in another case involving voting. By a 7-2 majority, they threw out a provision of Arizona’s voter-approved law that required proof of U.S. citizenship to register before an election. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that federal law “precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself.” Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito cast the two dissenting votes. In his dissent, Thomas wrote that the Constitution “authorizes states to determine the qualifications of voters in federal elections, which necessarily includes the related power to determine whether those qualifications are satisfied.” (Read more)

Cruz Takes Control: In the wake of the high court’s ruling in the Arizona case, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says he will introduce a voter identification law as an amendment to the Senate’s immigration reform bill, set to be debated this week. On his Facebook page, Cruz criticized the decision, writing: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the federal ‘motor voter’ law preempts Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration. This hole in federal statutory law allows non-citizens to register and thereby encourages voter fraud.” Cruz vowed to take action by offering an amendment to the Senate’s bipartisan compromise bill—which he has been vocally critical of— that would allow states to require IDs to register voters. (Read more)

Taking the Plunge: President Obama’s poll numbers have dropped amid a slew of recent controversies that have plagued his administration, including the government’s massive NSA surveillance program, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status and his staffers’ response to the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. According to the latest CNN/ORC International survey, which was released Monday, Obama’s approval number has plummeted to 45 percent. That’s a drop of 8 points over the last month and his lowest approval rating in more than a year and a half. The poll also revealed that half of the American public doesn’t find Obama to be honest and trustworthy, a first since he took office. (Read more)

Family Values: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife used taxpayer money for a number of small items they should have paid for themselves, according to spending records obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request. Among the purchases the Republican’s family has billed the state for: body wash, dog vitamins, sunscreen and a “detox cleanse” for digestion. The Post also found that state employees were running personal errands for the McDonnells’ adult children, such as retrieving pants from a tailoring shop and picking up storage boxes. The McDonnells have paid the state back for some of their expenses, but the Post says it’s unclear whether they have fully reimbursed taxpayers. The few receipts reporters were able to obtain showed only partial repayments. It’s worth noting that the McDonnells are already under investigation by the FBI and a grand jury over a $15,000 catering tab for their daughter’s wedding that was paid by a campaign donor. (Read more)

He’ll Take That as a Compliment: Former Vice President Dick Cheney called NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden a “traitor” and, among other things, accused him of being a Chinese spy during an appearance on the latest installment of “Fox News Sunday.” Since the program aired, Snowden has dismissed the spy accusation and even embraced Cheney’s criticism. During a Q-and-A moderated by The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald on Monday, Snowden said being called a traitor by Cheney is “the highest honor you can give an American.” He added: “The more panicked talk we hear from people like him, [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein, and [Rep. Peter] King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.” (Read more)


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