The White House filed a brief yesterday urging the Supreme Court to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage.
But did the administration also ask the high court to nullify Rhode Island's civil unions law? It certainly looks that way.
The brief argues that California's voter-approved ban is unconstitutional, in part, because it denies gays and lesbians the right to marry while leaving intact many of the substantive benefits of marriage they enjoy through the state's domestic partnership law.
My new cover story, sizing up the 2014 gubernatorial race, discusses the early jockeying for labor's support, among other topics. And my basic conclusion is this: public employee unions have no "fair-haired child" in the race, as one Chafee aide put it.
All the leading contenders have ticked off union leaders in one way or another in the last couple of years.
Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has ordered negotiations over a union lawsuit challenging the state's landmark pension reform bill.
I'd be surprised, though, if there's a pre-trial settlement.
Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who pushed the bill through the General Assembly and built a national reputation as a can-do pol in the process, has just released a statement saying she'll negotiate in "good faith."
Sometimes it's nice having a fancy Ivy League school in town. At least for nerdbombs like me.
Pretty good run of speaker at Brown in the coming days. Today at 4 pm, sociologist Charles Murray - he of the controversial Bell Curve and the fascinating Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 - speaks at MacMillan Hall.
Last week's Supreme Court decision upholding health care reform yielded a flurry of statements from Rhode Island pols, including the three contenders in the state's marquee race this cycle: Congressman David Cicilline, his Democratic challenger Anthony Gemma, and Republican candidate Brendan Doherty.
In the swirl of events, it seemed likely that the issue would become a significant one in the campaign.
Rhode Island public employee unions filed a lawsuit today seeking to overturn last year's big pension overhaul. The outcome, of course, will have a big impact on workers' retirement and the state's long-term fiscal health. But what of the political ramifications?
Treasurer Gina Raimondo was the architect of the overhaul, of course.
Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has an interesting post today voicing some surprise at all the hullabaloo, in the run-up to the Supreme Court's big decision on healthcare reform, about the politicized court.
As an institution, the court is insulated from party politics, but the
men and women who serve on it are increasingly selected through an
intensely political process meant to insure that they don’t disappoint
the party that promoted them.
We've got a remarkable story from contributor James Robinson in the new issue of the Phoenix that raises questions about the 40-year-old conviction of Clarence Spivey on charges of rape, kidnapping, and assault.
Spivey, one of Rhode Island's longest-serving inmates, was at the center of a racially charged case involving a young white woman dragged from a hospital parking lot by a black man and brutally raped in a nearby vacant apartment.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has caused quite a stir with its demand that the city of Woonsocket take down a World War I and World War II memorial, featuring a cross, on city land.
Public opinion in Rhode Island is clearly pro-monument. And every pol who can plausibly lay claim to the case - from Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine to Attorney General Peter Kilmartin - is wrapping himself in the cloak of the Good Lord.
In the "in case you missed it" category:
Interesting item in the Wall Street Journal this week - it had appeared on wsj.com's Law Blog a week earlier - focused on Rhode Island US Attorney Peter Neronha, who brought a big case against Google for knowingly running ads for rogue online pharmacies. It resulted in a $500 million settlement.
Of all the pontificating about what the Supreme Court will do on Obamacare - Kennedy and Scalia as swing votes, Chief Justice Roberts seeking the broadest majority possible - one of the more interesting takes comes in the form of a survey of high court insiders.
The right-leaning American Action Forum and the left-leaning Blue Dog Research Forum conducted a poll of former Supreme Court clerks and lawyers who have argued before the court.
An appellate court in Illinois issued a surprise ruling today booting former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel off the ballot for Chicago mayor, finding that he did not meet the residency requirement.
Rhode Island's flare for high drama in politics, once again, finds an equal in the Windy City.
Attorney General-elect Peter Kilmartin has announced that he is hanging on to some key staffers from the Patrick Lynch era - Deputy Attorney General Gerald Coyne, civil division chief James Lee, and criminal division chief Stacie Veroni.
But Kilmartin will face some pressure to differentiate from Lynch, whose gubernatorial ambitions leant a political feel to the office and whose ties to disgraced Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau raised embarassing questions, fair or not, about the office's willingness to go after public corruption.
From the Associated Press - a warning from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that Republicans may be crossing the line in their opposition to Rhode Islander Jack McConnell's nomination as a federal judge:
Democrats said Thursday that Republicans were preventing votes on some of
President Barack Obama's U.S. district court nominees, a game-changing tactic
that would bring retaliation against a GOP president some day.
This just in: the Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended approval of Rhode Island lawyer Jack McConnell's nomination to the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island on a 13-6 vote. The nomination now goes to the Senate floor for a vote by the full chamber.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has mounted an unusually high-profile campaign against McConnell, a major Democratic donor who was involved in the historic $248-billion tobacco settlement and high-profile lead paint litigation in Rhode Island.