PM Note: Washington Split Screen With Rosa Parks, Voting Rights, An Interview With Eric Holder, ‘Spare Me’ Sequestration

Feb 27, 2013 7:06pm

Washington Split Screen – Rosa Parks at the Capitol, Voting Rights Act at the Court –  It was a strange day of confluences in Washington and on the two sides of 1st St., N.E.

While conservatives on the Supreme Court expressed deep skepticism about a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, suggesting it was no longer necessary… literally across the street at just about exactly the same time the President and Congressional leaders were unveiling a statue to honor Rosa Parks, an icon of the civil rights movement.

“She defied the odds. she defied injustice,” said President Obama of Parks. House Speaker John Boehner shed a tear. http://abcn.ws/YFetkA

With Parks’ victory in the bus boycott, said Obama, “…the entire edifice of segregation, like the ancient walls of Jericho, began to slowly come tumbling down.”

Across the street, they weren’t memorializing a hero, but discussing the future of a 48-year-old law. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was talking about the continued Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation first passed about a decade after Parks refused to stand up.

Scalia was talking about the unanimous vote to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006.

“I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

“And I am fairly confident it will be re-enacted in perpetuity unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution,” he continued. “You have to show, when you are treating different states differently, that there’s a good reason for it. ”

Scalia said, “That’s the concern that those of us who have some questions about this statute have. It’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress.”

If their questioning is any indication, conservatives like Scalia on the court seem poised to overturn a key part of the law, which requires states to pre-clear newly drawn legislative boundaries with the Justice Department  - More from Ariane de Vogue – http://abcn.ws/VaY3Av

Read more here about statues in Congress – http://abcn.ws/Va7IHz

More from Thomas’s Interview with Holder –
Holder Remembers Newtown, His Worst Day on the Job – As the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, Eric Holder is briefed daily on terrorist threats. He attends meetings in the White House situation room, and he decides when to ask judges for the death penalty. At night, Holder says, he worries about terrorist threats.
http://abcn.ws/15jwx5P

Holder: Home-Grown Terrorist Threat Rivals Overseas – After years of security briefings and thwarting terrorist plots, national security still keeps Eric Holder awake. “I still worry at night,” the U.S. attorney general told ABC’s Pierre Thomas in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview on Wednesday.  http://abcn.ws/15jBrj9

Eric Holder Sounds the Sequester Alarm – The looming budget sequestration will make Americans less safe, Eric Holder says—and anyone who says otherwise isn’t telling the truth. http://abcn.ws/YALM6x

Counterpoint – Bloomberg on Sequester: ‘Spare Me’ - “There’s a lot of posturing — ‘I’m going to lay off my employees today unless you do something. We’re going to close the hospitals down. We going to take all the prisoners from jail and put them on the street.  Spare me. I live in that world. I mean come on,” Bloomberg said, mocking the warnings coming from the administration. http://abcn.ws/YFJip7

President Obama to Meet Congressional Leaders Friday-.His first working meeting with Boehner since December – http://abcn.ws/VNiUcd

Maybe They’ll Figure Something Out by March 27th, the date you should really be worried about – .http://abcn.ws/VNGbe3 (Chris Good)

When Does the Sequester Go Into Effect?-It had been widely assumed that the dreaded across-the-board spending cuts would go into effect at midnight on Thursday — as the calendar turns to March 1.http://abcn.ws/WiqSg6 (Jonathan Karl)

Pre-Sequester Pink Slips? Duncan Stretches Impact on Teachers
http://abcn.ws/ZBHk8g (Devin Dwyer, Mary Bruce)

An Alternative to Furlough? – TSA Head Suggests Possible Hiring Freeze – http://abcn.ws/12bFUH1 (Julie Percha)

Feds Deny DHS Official’s Departure Tied to Immigrant Releases
A federal agency denied on Wednesday that a Homeland Security official’s departure was connected a controversial decision to release immigration detainees in the face of mandatory budget cuts. The Associated Press reported that Gary Mead, who is in charge of enforcement and removal operations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told colleagues on Tuesday that he would leave the agency, just after the releases were announced.
But ICE called the report “inaccurate and misleading,” saying that Mead’s departure had been planned weeks in advance. http://abcn.ws/VOiQZK (Jordan Fabian)

Biden Invokes Untold Horror at Sandy Hook in Gun-Control Plea – With hearings underway on Capitol Hill over the Obama administration’s proposed gun-control measures, Vice President Joe Biden today described what he said was untold horror from Sandy Hook Elementary in an appeal to the nation’s attorneys general for help.
http://abcn.ws/YYeNHR (Devin Dwyer)

Newtown Parent Sobs at Senate Gun Hearing-A father who lost his son in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School wept openly today as he testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a proposed assault weapons ban.http://abcn.ws/Xbh85R(Arlette Saenz)

Europe Welcomes Blunt Kerry, Who Says Americans Have ‘Right to Be Stupid,’ Speaks French - Newly minted  Secretary of State John Kerry is making friends, as well some waves on his first European tour as America’s top diplomat.http://abcn.ws/XiCtsv (Dana Hughes)

Rubio ‘Only Member of the Hip-Hop Caucus’-Is there a love of hip hop in the U.S. Senate?  Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says he doesn’t find many other senators to discuss the history and trends of hip-hop with.http://abcn.ws/YXKDnX (Arlette Saenz)

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