The Oklahoma Supreme Court today ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the state’s capitol, according to KOCO in Oklahoma City. The Court ruled that the monument, as a religious symbol, “violates the state's constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion.” The 7-2 ruling overturns a previous decision by a lower court judge. The state’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, said that the monument is historic, and that it parallels a similar monument in Texas, which the U.S. Supreme Court deemed constitutional. The Oklahoma justices said, however, that the Oklahoma monument violates their state constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. In a statement, Pruitt suggested that he will seek repeal. Discuss
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to allow nine abortion clinics in Texas to remain open, according to The New York Times. A recent law in the state effectively closed these clinics. The case in question revolves around two parts of a Texas law that establish requirements on abortion clinics: 1) abortion clinics must meet the standards of “ambulatory surgical centers,” and 2) doctors performing abortions must have "admitting privileges" at a local hospital. The Court voted 5 to 4—with Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. voting against—to stay the order while justices consider whether or not to hear an appeal to the state law. And the Court’s stay of the Texas restrictions strongly indicates that it will consider abortion rights during its next term. Discuss
President Obama gave a stirring eulogy at the funeral for the Rev. Clamenta Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston who was one of the nine people killed by a racist shooter last week at one of the church’s prayer meetings. “We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith,” Obama said. Read More
This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that same-sex couple have the right to marry in any state in the United States, according to the Associated Press. Already, gay couples can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling means remaining states will stop enforcing bans on same-sex marriages. The ruling was close—with five of the justices ruling in favor and four against. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, arguing that same-sex marriage does not "denigrate marriage," but instead, that gay and lesbian couples seek "to live their lives, or honor their spouses' memory, joined by its bond." All four dissenting justices wrote separate dissenting opinions, with Justice Antonin Scalia saying he was worried about "this court's threat to American democracy." The losing side has three weeks to ask for the court to reconsider the case before the ruling goes into effect.
In his statement on the decision this morning, President Obama said the ruling is a "victory for America." “This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land,” he said. However, he also encouraged those in support of the decision to be mindful that the different viewpoints on the issue come from places of sincere belief, in order to "revere our deep committment to religious freedom" ... Discuss
Queen Elizabeth II is on a state visit to Germany, where she’s royally waving at crowds, meeting with the country’s leaders and accepting ceremonial gifts, as monarchs are wont to do. One of said gifts, presented by German Federal President Joachim Guack, was a stylized portrait of the queen as a young girl on a blue horse being pulled by her father. “It’s a strange color for a horse,” her majesty said upon seeing it. “And that’s supposed to be my father, is it?” Apparently, everyone’s been in that awkward situation of not quite knowing what to say when presented with a strange gift, even the Queen of England ...
The race toward the 2016 presidential election is well on its way, and Rick Santorum has thrown his hat into the ring as a Republican candidate. On Monday, Santorum stopped into a restaurant in a small town in Iowa for a campaign stop, and only one person was there—Peggy Toft, the chair of the county’s Republican Party.
Santorum chatted with Toft until three other people eventually showed up. Santorum ate lunch with the group and told them what sets him apart from other candidates. He told The Des Moines Register that small events are still a good thing for his campaign: “It’s not glamorous, and you’re not out there raising money, but you’re doing what the money is ultimately supposed to do—getting votes. This is a lot more fun than being on the phone raising money” ... Discuss