THIS JUST IN: All Men Not Created Equal

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LOS ANGELES TIMES: The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law. The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights activists say they may ask voters to repeal the marriage ban as early as next year, and opponents have pledged to fight any such effort. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote. Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May. MORE

scotus-pick.thumbnail.pngALSO: Sonia Sotomayor, the career jurist nominated by President Obama, would be the first Hispanic justice — and only the third woman justice — in the history of the nation’s highest court. Those distinctions make Sotomayor’s confirmation by the Democratic-majority Senate virtually certain, analysts say. They also note that Republican President George H.W. Bush first nominated Sotomayor as a federal judge, indicating broad political appeal. A senior White House official told CNN that Sotomayor was “nominated by George [H.W.] Bush — then Bill Clinton — [and has] more judicial experience than anyone sitting on the court had at the time they were nominated.” MORE

obama_shep_print_final2.thumbnail.jpgPOTUS: First and foremost is a rigorous intellect — a mastery of the law, an ability to hone in on the key issues and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.  Second is a recognition of the limits of the judicial role, an understanding that a judge’s job is to interpret, not make, law; to approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice; a respect for precedent and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand. These two qualities are essential, I believe, for anyone who would sit on our nation’s highest court.  And yet, these qualities alone are insufficient.  We need something more.  For as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”  Experience being tested by obstacles and barriers, by hardship and misfortune; experience insisting, persisting, and ultimately overcoming those barriers.  It is experience that can give a person a common touch and a sense of compassion; an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live.  And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of justice we need on the Supreme Court.

Senior Military Interrogator Calls Bullshit On Darth Cheney

not-torture.thumbnail.jpgHUFFPO: A former top interrogator is responding forcefully to the case Dick Cheney made on Thursday in favor of torture (what the former VP and his allies refer to as “enhanced interrogation methods.”) Brave New Films released a short video Tuesday of Matthew Alexander taking apart Cheney’s argument piece by piece. Alexander, who uses a pseudonym for security reasons, was a 14-year military interrogator who oversaw more than a thousand interrogations and conducted more than 300 in Iraq himself. He led the interrogation team that scored one of the United States’ most high-profile captures, that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and he did it using traditional methods. MORE

not-torture.thumbnail.jpgWORTH REPEATING: I love how, to some of these posters, supporting torture is simply a reasonable right-wing “position” like any other, like being for tax breaks. Why not offer a column to a neo-nazi on how the holocaust was a good thing? I mean that was a German policy position right? Decades from now, Republicans are going to look back and wonder what conservatives were thinking when they embraced and defended torture, drowning out the conservatives of principle like Andrew Sullivan who have loudly denounced it. The irony is that the tactics they defend were used by the Communist Chinese to extract false confessions. They were also used by Pol Pot as he committed genocide in Cambodia. They are indisputably illegal under American law. They are war crimes. MORE

not-torture.thumbnail.jpgHUFFPO: General David Petraeus said this past weekend that President Obama’s decision to close down Gitmo and end harsh interrogation techniques would benefit the United States in the broader war on terror. In an appearance on Radio Free Europe on Sunday, the man hailed by conservatives as the preeminent military figure of his generation left little room for doubt about where he stands on some of Obama’s most contentious policies. MORE

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gunfiring.gifASSOCIATED PRESS: A trial is under way for 12 activists arrested in demonstrations at a Philadelphia gun store. The defendants say Colosimo’s Gun Center’s owner won’t sign a pledge to follow ethical gun-sale rules. The defendants are part of an interfaith group concerned about gun violence and include several ministers. The group, called Heeding God’s Call, has continued to hold demonstrations outside the shop since the arrests in January. Defendant Sam Caldwell, a 61-year-old grandfather from Media, says he sees evidence of racism in the nation’s alleged tolerance of gun violence because many victims are black. MORE

INQUIRER EDITORIAL: If there’s any justice in a courtroom in Philadelphia today, a judge will find 12 faith-based activists not guilty of trespassing charges. The defendants are surely guilty. They are guilty of trying to stem the bloody tide of gun violence in the city. They were arrested in January at Colosimo’s Gun Center on Spring Garden Street, where they attempted to get owner James Colosimo to sign a code of conduct to reduce “straw purchases” of handguns. Colosimo has refused. MORE

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