PM Note: SCOTUS Prep, Democrats Rush to Ditch DOMA, Marco Rubio Defends His Bracket

By Z. Byron Wolf @zbyronwolf

NCAA Political Strategy - Marco Rubio tells Chris Good why he's rooting for Florida over Florida Gulf Coast -

Welcome to ABC News, Jeff Zeleny (And Goodbye Tim Johnson) - A first post from our newest correspondent on the retirement of Sen. Tim Johnson and the changing face of the Senate as some old bulls head out to pasture -

Michele Bachmann Campaign Probed - Russell Golman reports: "Bachmann has not been formally accused of any wrong doing, but staffers said they had been questioned by federal authorities. The investigators are working on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics." The development was first reported by The Daily Beast. "Among those allegations are that Bachmann's onetime Iowa campaign chair, state Sen. Kent Sorenson, received money under the table for his support. Sorenson's position in the Legislature prohibits him from receiving payments from the campaign."

The View from the Line at the Supreme Court - Where Mary McGuire reports they have come from around the country, waited through two days of wet snow, and are in line to see the Prop 8 arguments -

John Roberts' Lesbian Cousin Joins Marriage Debate - Chief Justice John Roberts' cousin, flying in from California, doesn't have to wait in that line. She'll get a seat from her powerful relative. But she has advocated for marriage equality.

Portman's Son Describes Coming Out - Yale Daily News column describes how he overnighter mom and senator dad a written letter - (Jilian Fama)

Democrats Abandon 'Discriminatory' DOMA Before Supreme Court Arguments - Hillary Clinton wasn't the only Democrat with some last-minute changing to do -

Ariane de Vogue's Cheat Sheet for Prop 8 Arguments - For starters - The Supreme Court will explore whether the proponents have the legal right to be in court. If the court finds that the original sponsors have no "standing," then the case comes to a screeching halt, and the court will not reach the merits of the case.

Obama Wants Congress to 'Finish the Job' on Immigration - Fusion's Jordan Fabian reports - Obama called on lawmakers to rustle up the "political courage" to work through divisive issues and put forth an immigration bill, one of his top second-term priorities. The president's comments came on the heels of reports that negotiations in the Senate have hit a roadblock over how to address an issue that has long divided crucial business and labor union interests: the future flow of immigrant workers.

And a second take from ABC's Mary Bruce - .

Assault Weapons Ban is Dead in the Senate, But White House Wants a Vote Anyway - From Jim Avila and Mary Bruce - The Obama Administration says despite Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to exclude the assault weapons ban from comprehensive gun control for lack of votes, the President still supports it and urges the Senate to vote publicly on the proposal to eliminate "military-style weapons" from American streets as an amendment.

Super Bowl Champ Interning for Rep. Cummings-Torrey Smith is a man of many hats, or maybe helmets. Not only is he a star wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens and a new Super Bowl champion, he is also an intern for Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. (Jilian Fama)

President Obama Criticized for Designating New National Monuments- President Obama today unilaterally designated five new national monuments, sparking criticism from at least one Republican who is questioning the timing and cost of the decision. Obama used his executive authority under the Antiquities Act to create Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state. (Mary Bruce)

Marriage Equality: Too Much, Too Soon?- Ariane de Vogue reports: Many gay rights advocates, who have worked behind the scenes for years, initially disagreed with (Ted) Olson's strategy to take a challenge to a state ban (Prop 8, California) on gay marriage to the Supreme Court. They thought he was asking for too much too soon. Last week Linda Greenhouse, who won a Pulitzer prize for her New York Times coverage of the Court, said Olson was right, that his lawsuit has in fact had the effect of "speeding and enhancing public understanding" and support for marriage equality. She says this is due in part to the fact that the lower court held a trial on the issue and gave people the time to think through the issues. When asked about the early schism between gay rights advocates on a conference call last week, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said the disagreement "is really water under the bridge." . (Ariane de Vogue)

Sad Endnote - Read This - Wounded Iraq Vet Prepares to Die, Saying He's 'Ready to Go'- Tomas Young is "ready to go" as he puts it. After nine years of suffering and with his body quickly deteriorating he has decided to end his struggle. Young, 33, was paralyzed from the chest down by a sniper's bullet in a battle in Sadr City, Iraq on April 4, 2004, less than a week after he got to the country. He had joined the Army just two days after September 11, 2001 and assumed he would be sent to Afghanistan. Now nine years after that battle he is choosing to end his suffering. He is in hospice care and getting ready to die. (Shushannah Walshe)

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