Slatest PM: SCOTUS Is Ready To Talk Gay Marriage

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 7 2012 4:37 PM

Slatest PM: SCOTUS Ready To Talk Gay Marriage

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Jane Abbott Lighty, left, and Pete-e Petersen embrace after receiving the first same-sex marriage license in Washington state at the King County Recorder's Office on December 6, 2012 in Seattle, Washington

Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images.

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Wait Is Over: New York Times: "The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman. One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions."

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Now the Wait Begins: Politico: "The pair of moves greatly increase the chances that the justices will rule this term on whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. However, it’s still possible the high court could dispose of both cases without squarely addressing that central issue." Oral arguments are expected in March, with a ruling by late June if all goes well.

The Cases: California's Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Washington Post: "The court will examine a key section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The Obama administration announced in 2011 it was abandoning defense of the law, and a string of lower courts has said it is unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in the states where they live while offering them to opposite-sex married couples. ... The court also said it would review a lower court’s decision to overturn Proposition 8, in which California voters in 2008 amended the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. That case offers the court a more direct path to deciding whether the fundamental constitutional right to marry may be limited based on sexual orientation. But because of the way the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decided the case, such a finding is not required."

Hooray, It's Friday! You made it; we all did. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

GOP Kept Pouring Money Into Akin's Campaign Until the Very End: Washington Post: "After pledging not to spend a penny on his race, the National Republican Senatorial Committee helped Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) out with a $760,000 cash infusion in early November. FEC reports filed Thursday show two transfers from the NRSC to the Missouri Republican Party, one for $360,000 on Nov. 1 and one for $400,000 on Nov. 2. In the wake of Akin’s comments on 'legitimate rape' in an August interview, national Republicans urged him to drop out of the race. Worried that involvement with Akin would reflect badly on other candidates, the NRSC said that it would spend nothing to help him win."

While We're Digging Through FEC Filings: The final tallies from Obama and Romney's campaigns are staggering.

Job Numbers: Wall Street Journal: "America's employers added jobs at a slow pace in November, easing fears that uncertainty about U.S. budget policies would stifle hiring, but fueling concerns about the robustness of the economic recovery. The Labor Department's latest snapshot of the job market said employers added 146,000 jobs last month. That is an improvement from the previous two months, but below the average job growth per month of about 150,000 over the past two years. Payroll growth in September and October also was revised down by about 50,000 jobs." Matthew Yglesias explains what's so puzzling about those numbers.

Because Every PM Needs a Cliff Update: NBC News: "House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, emerged Friday to say that 'no progress' had been made on resolving the impending 'fiscal cliff.' Capitol Hill's top Republican said that talks with President Barack Obama toward resolving the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for the beginning of next year continued to stall; Boehner renewed his demand that Obama submit a new plan for evaluation by lawmakers. 'This isn't a progress report because there's no progress to report,' the speaker said at a brief press conference Friday morning on Capitol Hill."

And one from Syria: Associated Press: "Growing fear that war in Syria could unleash the world's first use of chemical weapons in nearly three decades is based on two grim scenarios—neither considered likely but both carrying risks of civilian massacre and a major escalation of violence. The first is that President Bashar Assad, in a last-ditch effort to save his regime, would order chemical attacks—either as a limited demonstration to the rebels of his willingness to use the internationally banned weapons, or in a large-scale offensive designed to turn the tide of a conflict that already has killed tens of thousands. The second is that some portion of Assad's arsenal could be moved to Iran or Lebanon or fall into the hands of foreign fighters with ties to terrorist groups who are helping Syrian rebels."

And one from Egypt: Reuters: "Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters surged around the presidential palace on Friday and the opposition rejected President Mohamed Mursi's call for dialogue to end a crisis that has polarized the nation and sparked deadly clashes. The Islamist leader's deputy said he could delay a December 15 referendum on a constitution that liberals opposed, although the concession only partly meets a list of opposition demands that include scrapping a decree that expanded Mursi's powers."

More Quick Hits From Slate—

A Parting Gift: Zero Dark Fever. (Trust us.) See you back here Monday. But, until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

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