By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER: After months of waiting, the Supreme Court is set to hand down decisions in two cases concerning gay marriage. The first is Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging California’s ballot initiative, known as Prop. 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and the second, United States v. Windsor, which challenges a section of federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The law denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in their states. Unlike the Prop. 8 case, the DOMA challenge does not address whether there is a fundamental right under the Constitution to same-sex marriage. WATCH ABC’s TERRY MORAN weigh in on both cases on “Good Morning America”: http://abcn.ws/1205Y1g And ABC’s Supreme Court watcher ARIANE DE VOGUE outlines several possible outcomes in each case below.
- HOW THE COURT COULD RULE ON PROP. 8: During the Supreme Court’s oral arguments, it didn’t seem likely that the Court was ready for a broad ruling that would say that all bans on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution. The Court could strike down Prop. 8 on narrower grounds and say, for example, that California could not give gay couples all the benefits of a robust domestic partnership law, but strip them of the word “marriage.” Such a ruling could affect at least six other states with similar laws. The Court could also issue an opinion specific to California’s history with the gay marriage. The Court could, of course, uphold Prop. 8, which would allow states to continue to pass bans on gay marriage. Keep in mind, there is a real chance the Court might decide that the original proponents of Prop. 8 who stepped in to defend the law when state officials refused to do so did not have the legal right to be in Court. Such a ruling would mean the District Court ruling that struck down Prop. 8 on broad grounds would most likely hold. Legal experts are divided on the implications of such a ruling, but many believe that same-sex marriage will most likely resume. http://abcn.ws/12peOpe
- HOW THE COURT COULD RULE ON DOMA: At oral arguments, key swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed skeptical of the constitutionality of the law. But instead of pressing equal protection concerns, he focused on federalism and states’ right issues. If the court finds that the law is unconstitutional, then same-sex couples who are legally married in their state, would be able to get federal benefits currently available to opposite sex couples. If the court upholds the law, then the current status quo remains. http://abcn.ws/12peOpe
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: This is how a political star is born in 2013. Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’ victory in stopping an anti-abortion measure may be short-lived, if Gov. Rick Perry calls another session where the GOP majority will wave it through. But Davis’ political celebrity is likely to last longer. The 50-year-old Democrat from Fort Worth is a remarkable personal story – the daughter of a single mom who became a teenage single mom herself, and went on to put herself through Harvard Law School before entering politics. Now she’s the face of efforts to block new abortion restrictions, and a top trend on Twitter and Google to boot. Watch for her on the national fundraising circuit soon — and on a statewide ballot in Texas soon after that.
ABC’s ANDREW SPRINGER: There were more #StandWithWendy tweets than there were tweets about the Supreme Court or the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death yesterday. According to TopsyPro, a social media tracking service, in the past 24 hours there have been 509,981 mentions of the hashtag #StandWithWendy, which continued to trend into this morning. Over the same period of time, there have only been 352,489 mentions of terms related to the Supreme Court and the Voting Rights decision. Those half a million tweets for Wendy Davis even topped the King of Pop — mentions of “Michael Jackson” for past twenty-four hours topped out at 437,000. President Obama tweeted the hashtag and got 15,000 re-tweets.
ABC’s ABBY PHILLIP: Remember 2010 when conservative Tea Party insurgent candidates threatened Republican incumbents in primaries across the country? Yesterday, the Tea Party Patriots, the largest Tea Party organization in the country, officially threatened senators who back the comprehensive immigration reform bill with the possibility of primary challenges in 2014. But the truth is, the Tea Party has little sway over a majority of Senators—even in the Republican Party. (The threat of a primary challenge didn’t stop Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., from working on a immigration reform bill.) But in the House, the threat is very real and will likely resonate there, making it more difficult for moderate Republicans – not to mention more conservative Representatives who are already skeptics of the bill—to back immigration reform legislation bearing any resemblance to the Senate’s proposal.
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Democrat Ed Markey’s victory over Republican Gabriel Gomez in last night’s U.S. Senate special election in Massachusetts preserves a kind of “normalcy” in the Bay State. Democrats have a significant voter registration advantage over Republicans in Massachusetts and longtime political observer and Tufts professor of political science, Jeffrey Berry says that explains Rep. Markey’s victory more than anything else. “The overwhelming reason Gabe Gomez lost is because he’s a Republican and for every Republican there are more than three Democrats and the obstacles facing Gomez were daunting,” Berry said. Markey’s win shows he may not have needed the extra firepower he brought into the race, despite being a 37-year veteran of the House at a time Congress couldn’t be disliked more. President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden all came to campaign for him, not taking anything for granted despite the Democratic landscape. But the fact that Markey didn’t totally blow Gomez out of the water may be good news for the Republican candidates’ political future, Berry said. It could also mean at least some hand-wringing and second-guessing for the GOP. Outside groups didn’t pour money into the race, despite Gomez being the type of candidate national Republicans have said they want to support.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
UNDOCUMENTED: THE FACES BEHIND THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE. In many ways, Jose Antonio Vargas is an American success story. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker. There’s only one problem: he didn’t immigrate to the United States legally. When Vargas was 12 years old, his mother sent him from the Philippines to live with his grandparents, who are naturalized U.S. citizens, in the United States. It wasn’t until he applied for a driver’s permit four years later that he learned he was living in the country undocumented. “I went to the DMV to get a driver’s permit, like any 16 year old, and that’s when they found out that the green card that my grandfather gave me was actually fake,” Vargas tells ABC’s JIM AVILA. “And then I went home, confronted my grandfather, and that’s when he said to me, you know, ‘what are you doing showing that to people?’” To hear more about Vargas’ story and his upcoming documentary, including what he says the immigration debate is really about from his perspective, check out this episode of Power Players. http://yhoo.it/11MVrHU
THE NEXT SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS: ED MARKEY. Democrat Rep. Ed Markey won the Massachusetts special election to fill the Senate seat vacated when John Kerry became secretary of state, defeating businessmen and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. Markey was leading 55 percent to 45 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. Markey told his cheering supporters he will “seek consensus wherever possible. Like you, I am tired of gridlock. But I will never compromise on our principles.” “I am going to the U.S. Senate to build a bold and bright future filled with optimism and opportunity for every family in the state of Massachusetts and across our great country,” Markey said in his victory speech. Gomez also thanked his supporters, but noted his uphill battle. “In the military you learn one thing, I guess, that not every fight is a fair fight,” Gomez said in his concession speech. “Sometimes you face overpowering force. We were massively overspent. We went up against literally the whole national Democratic party and its allies and the machine. But in the face of this great adversity, we could not have fought a better fight.” http://abcn.ws/11ZiTka
WENDY WEDNESDAY: HOW IT ALL STARED: At 11:18 a.m. CT Tuesday morning, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis donned hot pink sneakers and began what she hoped would be a 13-hour filibuster to block a bill that would heavily limit women’s access to abortions in her state, ABC’s ALISA WIERSEMA writes. And, as the Texas Tribune reported early this morning, Davis “and hundreds of impassioned reproductive rights advocates stalled proceedings and ultimately defeated controversial abortion legislation in a storm of screams and shouts as the clock struck midnight.” At its core, the bill in question would have banned all abortions after the 20-week pregnancy mark and required clinics to adhere to stricter regulations. Some of these regulations include upgrading facilities and reclassifying the clinics as surgical centers, which could prove to be expensive in rural areas. “I am overwhelmed, honestly,” Davis said after her filibuster of the legislation, Senate Bill 5. Davis had to stand the entire time she held the floor and was not permitted to lean on the podium, eat or use the bathroom — or stray off topic. As the Tribune reported: “Republican senators made a last-ditch effort to approve SB 5, voting 19-10, but by then the clock had ticked past midnight. Under the terms of the state Constitution, the special session had ended, and the bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to the governor.” http://abcn.ws/1aLvQWF
WASHINGTON WATCHDOG: CONGRESS SPENT MILLIONS ON COFFEE, PASTRIES. Most Americans start their day with at least one cup of coffee, maybe paying $2 to $5, but many might be surprised to know they also treat their members of Congress to some joe and a bagel or two, as well, ABC’s DAVID KERLEY reports. The Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group advocating for government transparency, crunched the numbers for ABC News and found that the House of Representatives spent nearly $2 million on coffee and food in 2012 for events in and around the Capitol. “Congress is spending an awful lot of money to entertain their members,” said Bill Allison, the foundation’s editorial director. “[It's] coffee and doughnuts and then some very nice catering places in Washington, D.C., as well.” The money is part of lawmakers’ representational allowances, which can be used to pay for everything from sending mail to constituents to entertaining visitors. The foundation did not know who the visitors were. The Sunlight Foundation found that expensive catering was truly a bipartisan effort, with leaders hosting their own members. Republican House Speaker John Boehner spent $64,000. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spent $61,000. and No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer spent $52,000. The biggest spender in the House was No. 3 Republican Kevin McCarthy of California. On his Facebook page, pictures of meetings include fruit, bagels, croissants and coffee. McCarthy’s 2012 grand total – $95,000, with an additional $4,000 being spent on bottled water – was enough to pay the salaries of two mid-level staffers on Capitol Hill. http://abcn.ws/15D4RXq
CLINTON, OBAMA SLIP IN POPULARITY; HIGH UNCERTAINTY ABOUT RUBIO. Hillary Clinton has lost some ground in personal favorability this year, but continues to outpace both Barack Obama and, by a wide margin, Marco Rubio — like Clinton, a possible successor to Obama — in this basic measure of public popularity. Six in 10 Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll see Clinton favorably, down 6 percentage points from her career high in January, ABC’s GREG HOLYK notes. Obama’s seen favorably by 53 percent, down 7 points from January and back to his pre-re-election level across most of 2012. Rubio, a Republican U.S. senator from Florida involved in the immigration reform effort, is far less known on the national stage. Half of Americans express no opinion of him at all, similar to its level last August, when he first was being mooted as a possible presidential candidate. The rest divide evenly on Rubio in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. http://abcn.ws/12jAZkZ
ANALYSIS: The single-digit comedowns for Obama and Clinton are unsurprising. Since his re-election, the president’s waded into contentious policy areas such as gun control and immigration, while dealing with the Internal Revenue Service and National Security Administration controversies. Obama’s job approval likewise is off from his post-election high in ABC/Post polls. Clinton, for her part, has stepped away from her popular role as secretary of state and may be seen in an increasingly partisan light given wide discussion of her possible candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. http://abcn.ws/12jAZkZ
HARRY REID CALLS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ‘CRAZIES’. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a word for conservative House Republicans: “Crazies.” At his weekly press availability, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD reports, Reid was asked how House Speaker John Boehner will handle immigration reform – specifically, what Senate Republican leaders voting against it will mean for future action in the GOP-controlled House. “You’re asking me?” Reid asked. “The speaker has said, within a period of a little over 24 hours, we’re going to pass an immigration bill. We’re going to have Democratic votes to do it. As soon as his crazies heard that, I guess they talked to him and he – the next day he came back and he said, ‘I will only pass it if I have a majority of the majority.’” Reid was referring to Boehner’s insistence that he will only bring an immigration bill to the floor if a majority of House Republicans support it. http://abcn.ws/10j6D1t
WHAT WE’RE READING
“ANTHONY WEINER LEADS IN N.Y. MAYOR POLL,” by Politico’s Maggie Haberman. “Anthony Weiner, poll leader. The former congressman and New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful has vaulted to the front of the pack, leading former frontrunner Christine Quinn in the race to replace Mike Bloomberg, a new poll shows. The NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted by Marist College, shows Weiner at 25 percent versus 20 percent for Quinn, the City Council Speaker vying to become the first woman and first openly gay mayor. Last month, Quinn was ahead in the survey by five points. Weiner is edging up with voters who say they would back him, and those who oppose him has decreased. … It’s the first time Weiner, whose middle class message has been little touted by others, has been in front. The poll was conducted June 17-June 21 among 689 registered Democratic voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.” http://politi.co/11YTib2
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX
–NATIONAL DEMOCRATS MARK 100 DAYS SINCE GOP’S 2012 ‘AUTOPSY’. To mark the 100-day anniversary of the Republican National Committee’s review of the 2012 election (also known as the GOP “autopsy”) the Democratic Governors Association today released a new video and memo from Communications Director Danny Kanner detailing how, according to the DGA, “100 days after their highly publicized self-critique, Republican governors stand as symbols of a truly unchanged party.” Kanner writes, “[Despite] being hailed as the saviors of their party and paying lip service to the changes they needed to make, Republican governors have since demonstrated that they’re not the solution to the party’s electoral woes — they’re the problem. On issue after issue – from undermining women’s health and economic security, to advocating for policies hostile toward Latinos and gay Americans, to demanding tax giveaways for the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and investments we need to grow – Republican governors and candidates for governor have failed to heed the advice of their own Chairmen.” MEMO: http://bit.ly/1ae7fef VIDEO: http://bit.ly/14sw140 Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is out with a video of its own to mark the occasion as well as a website, SameOldParty.com, “to track and respond to the Same Old Party’s rhetoric and legislation. As part of that effort, Democrats across the country will highlight Republicans’ rebrand failings on Twitter using the hashtags #GOPrebrand and #SameOldParty.” VIDEO: http://youtu.be/j2bIK1_MUJE
–TAXPAYERS GROUP BLASTS OBAMA’S ENVIRONMENTAL PROPOSALS: Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the conservative National Taxpayers Union, which advocates for tax reform, weighed in on President Obama’s climate change speech yesterday: “Affordable, abundant energy can help propel our economy to a stronger, broad-based recovery, but only if elected officials have the foresight to advocate sensible tax and regulatory policies. Unfortunately, today’s proposal from President Obama still falls short of those goals. In the past, the Administration and its allies have advocated everything from a cap-and-trade regulatory regime, to higher taxes on traditional energy producers, to stifling regulations that drive up the cost of powering the nation. Its latest soft-sell strategy will still lead to hard choices among electricity generation firms, whose consequences could show up in higher utility bills at a time when consumers and businesses desperately need more, not less, financial security.” http://bit.ly/19qnWns
@ThePlumLineGS: BIG: Darrell Issa now claims he never said White House or Obama campaign were behind IRS targeting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/06/26/the-morning-plum-darrell-issa-backtracks-on-irs-scandal/ …
@PhilipRucker: Tremendous @PostRoz @CarolLeonnig scoop: Donor gives Va. Gov McDonnell a $6,500 Rolex at urging of First Lady http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donor-bought-rolex-watch-for-virginia-gov-mcdonnell-people-familiar-with-gift-say/2013/06/25/72ddffa2-ddd2-11e2-b197-f248b21f94c4_story.html …