Height of Hypocrisy:

Republican Ted Cruz of Texas has served in the Senate for less than six months, but thanks to a speech he delivered in the early primary state of South Carolina on Friday, there’s already talk that the tea party favorite will run for president. But how will the tea party, which helped fuel the birther conspiracy that President Obama was not born in the U.S., respond given that Cruz was born in Canada? Not surprisingly, a Ted Cruz birther movement has yet to spring up. It’s still unclear whether Cruz is even eligible, though he seems to think he passes muster for a “natural born” U.S. citizen as the Constitution requires for someone to become president (his mother, it should be noted, is a U.S. citizen). NBC News’ First Read: “But even if Cruz is able to offer up all the evidence in the world of his eligibility, it’s not tough to imagine Democratic candidates and super PACs relishing in the chance to give a Republican his comeuppance, and turn the ‘birther’ phenomenon back against a GOP hopeful.” (Read more)

Race to the Finish: For all Republican Mark Sanford has done to lose the South Carolina congressional contest, the former governor still has a shot at winning the seat that is up for grabs in Tuesday’s special election. The consensus at this point seems to be that Sanford—not Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of satirist Stephen Colbert—is gaining momentum in the campaign’s home stretch. But more than just momentum, Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog cites several reasons the race might turn out in Sanford’s favor. For starters, South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District is overwhelmingly Republican. Additionally, the ex-governor—for all his pitfalls—is still a gifted candidate who has a strong political base in Charleston, the largest of the district’s five counties. Finally, Cillizza argues, Colbert Busch simply hasn’t run a very strong campaign. Cillizza writes: “To be clear, no one is confidently predicting a Sanford victory. But the very fact that he is in the mix with less than two days left before the special election is amazing — and a testament to the fact that partisanship matters. A lot.” (Read more)

Friends in High Places: Corporate America has found a trusted ally in the nation’s Supreme Court. According to a new study, the current Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts has been friendlier to corporate interests than any in the past 65 years. The report, which was published last month in the Minnesota Law Review, analyzed the votes of the 36 justices who have served since World War II and then ranked them based on the proportion of their pro-business votes. The key finding: Five of the top 10 justices are currently on the high court. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. As The New York Times noted: “In the eight years since Chief Justice Roberts joined the court, it has allowed corporations to spend freely in elections in the Citizens United case, has shielded them from class actions and human rights suits, and has made arbitration the favored way to resolve many disputes.” (Read more)

Bravery in Action: Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was given a deserving and fitting honor Sunday when she received a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. During the awards ceremony at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Giffords, who was shot and seriously wounded in January 2011, asked Congress to show courage and enact legislation on gun control. “We all have courage inside,” she said. “I wish there was more courage in Congress. Sometimes it’s hard to express it.” Giffords’ comments come just weeks after the Senate failed to pass gun control legislation that would have expanded background checks, something that the majority in this country support. (Read more)

Video of the Day: On the latest episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher slammed conservatives who didn’t want to give Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights and sought to treat him as an enemy combatant. “Ever since the shit went down in Boston, all the usual suspects on the right have been screeching about how Dzhokhar needs to be held as an enemy combatant and how Obama doesn’t get it about fighting terrorism. No, you don’t get it,” Maher said. “We’re not dealing with evil-genius ‘Bond’ villains here. We caught them because he and his brother pulled their getaway car over to make a pit-stop for Red Bull.” Maher’s new rule: “Stop worrying that our justice system can’t be trusted to try this lowlife as a common criminal. Come on, this is the USA — we’re good at putting people in prison.”

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