Trending In Our News Feeds – SCOTUS to issue gay marriage opinions today. The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to move its final day of opinions to Wednesday, meaning the court will rule on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 at 10:00 a.m. this morning. New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak has an excellent post explaining the cases and their possible outcomes.
The DOMA case, U.S. v. Windsor, pits Edith Windsor against representatives of the federal government. Windsor was forced to pay $360,000 in taxes after her wife died under a section of DOMA that defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal benefits. If the court strikes down DOMA, gay couples will begin receiving benefits. If the law is upheld, the status quo on gay marriage will continue.
In the second case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the court will decide whether California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage violates the federal Constitution. The justices could rule in three ways: They could leave Prop 8 in place, overturn the law with a narrow ruling that only allows gay marriage in California, or issue a broader ruling legalizing gay marriage across the U.S.
While you wait for the SCOTUS opinions, check out two PolicyMic op-eds from leading gay rights advocates. NFL linebacker Brendon Ayabadejo argues athletes have an obligation to stand up for equal rights, and Murray Lipp of Gay Marriage USA tears down the ten most common arguments against gay marriage.
We’ll be liveblogging SCOTUS’ landmark opinions, so be sure to follow along live.
Supreme Court neuters Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court struck down one section of the Voting Rights Act and neutered another in a 5-4 ruling on the case of Shelby County v. Holder. Representatives of Alabama’s Shelby County filed the case against Attorney General Eric Holder on the grounds that it is unconstitutional for the Voting Rights Act to require states with a history of discrimination to get government permission to change their voting laws. The Supreme Court didn’t rule on Section 5, the part of the law that requires federal oversight for changes to voting laws, but did strike down the section that determines which states should be monitored. Until Congress can create a new formula to determine which states should be covered, the Voting Rights Act is effectively struck down.
PolicyMic co-founder Jake Horowitz says the court’s decision is a disaster for American democracy. While working at the Justice Department, Jake personally experienced why the U.S. still needs the Voting Rights Act. He tells the story of a precinct that wanted to move its polling location to a stuffy club far away from public transportation. “If not for Section 5, [black] voters would simply have been disenfranchised,” he says.
While it may be necessary for the Voting Rights Act to be updated to reflect current voting practices, we cannot afford to neuter the law until Congress can make a decision. Because we all know how quickly Congress decides important issues, right?
Texas Senator defeats state abortion bill. Texas State Senator Wendy Davis successfully defeated a controversial state abortion bill Tuesday night after filibustering for almost 13 hours. Davis’ herculean filibuster delayed the vote on Senate Bill 5 until just after the state’s legislative session ended at midnight. Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewherst declared the bill dead at three in the morning. Davis tweeted, “Thanks to the powerful voices of thousands of Texans, #SB5 is dead.” SB5 would have banned abortions after twenty weeks and enacted regulations that would have shut down most of Texas’ abortion centers.
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Must Reads From PolicyMic – 10 Reasons Florida is the Weirdest State in America (Michael Luciano, @policymike) – With the George Zimmerman trial under way, it’s time to reflect on the things that have made Florida the nuttiest state in the union.
[30 Mics, 18 Comments, 118 Shares]
An Open Letter to Clarence Thomas From an Angry Black Woman (Uchechi Kalu, @chechkalu) – Justice Clarence Thomas is the only black Supreme Court justice, and yet he just voted to strike down our nation’s signature civil rights legislation. How could this happen?
[22 Mics, 49 Comments, 51 Shares]
11 Easy Ways You Can Live a Healthier Life (Hannah Loewentheil, @hrl792) – Everyday obligations make it hard to carve out the time to diet or go to the gym. But here are eleven small changes that go a long way towards improving both your physical and mental health.
[7 Mics, 4 Comments, 5 Shares]
How Many Soldiers' Suicides Will It Take For the U.S. to Change Its Foreign Policy? (Robert Taylor, @Westernerd) – The suicide letter of Iraq War veteran Daniel Somers is a grim reminder of the largely ignored plight of veterans and a severe indictment of the U.S.’ militaristic foreign policy.
[6 Mics, 16 Comments, 21 Shares]
5 Secrets For Success From 5 Wildly Successful Women (Shanthi Marie Blanchard) – I reached out to five successful women to get their advice for those who are just starting out on their career paths. Here’s what they had to say.
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What We’re Sharing – Did feminists overreact to Ken Hoinsky’s seduction guide, or is it really a rape manual? (Awl, NY Mag)
Are Instagram videos too real for their own good? (NY Times)
Love at first sight may have a biological basis (Washington Post).
Meet the man with a battery operated brain (NPR).
Why brainteasers don’t belong in job interviews (New Yorker).
How mental illness can make you incredibly successful (Slate).
Check out Earth’s most stunning transformations (TIME).
These are the 25 most popular tourist attractions in the world (Business Insider).
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