Slatest PM: One Down, Two to Go For SCOTUS

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 24 2013 5:11 PM

Slatest PM: One Down, Two to Go For SCOTUS

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People wait to enter the U.S. Supreme Court building on June 24, 2013

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

SCOTUS (In)Action: The Supreme Court on Monday ruled on one of the long-awaited Big Three cases remaining on its docket—affirmative action—but the high court essentially passed on issuing a sweeping opinion and instead sent the issue back to a lower court. The court is slated to release the next batch of opinions tomorrow at 10 a.m., when all eyes will again be on D.C. as the nation awaits a ruling on gay marriage and voting rights.

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In Broad Strokes: Washington Post: "The Supreme Court brokered a compromise on affirmative action in college admissions Monday, telling courts to look more closely at the justifications for such programs but keeping alive for now the use of race to achieve diversity. The court voted 7 to 1 to send the University of Texas’s race-conscious admissions plan back for further judicial view, and told the lower court to apply strict scrutiny, the toughest judicial evaluation of whether a government’s action is allowed."

Striking a Compromise: New York Times: "The brief decision, issued eight months after the case was argued, was almost surely the product of intense negotiation among the justices. The compromise they reached was at least a reprieve for affirmative action in higher education, and civil rights groups that had feared for the future of race-conscious admission programs breathed a sigh of relief. For now, the Texas program and other affirmative action programs can continue without changes."

Affirmative Action 2.0: Richard D. Kahlenberg in Slate: "The Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas won’t end race-based affirmative action. The court made it harder for schools to defend their policies but not impossible. ... Still, this decision could—and should—lead to a smarter kind of affirmative action that is mostly based on class rather than race. ... The new affirmative action, based primarily on economic disadvantage, better addresses the glaring inequities students face." More from Kahlenberg here (including charts!), and more from the rest of Slate's legal experts here.

Picking Their Spots: Atlantic Wire: "The conservative justices ... and their doubling down with the new Michigan case indicated at the time that the Fisher case didn't provide the right opportunity. ... So today's ruling is now something of a prelude to Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.... The Supreme Court's Michigan case has the potential to be more sweeping, as it would affect every public school in Michigan — and perhaps sets a precedent across the country — while Fisher's suit would have only applied to students at the University of Texas's main campus in Austin." More here.

Happy Monday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and wondering where our weekend went. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

A Dash More SCOTUS News: NBC News: The court "has agreed to decide when a president can use the recess appointment power to fill vacancies in the cabinet and other government positions. The justices will settle a long-standing dispute between Congress and the White House about whether a president can use the power during brief breaks in Senate sessions, as presidents of both parties have done in the past. In 2012, President Obama infuriated Senate Republicans by naming Richard Cordray to be director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and putting three new members on the NLRB, the National Labor Relations Board."

Where in the World is He? New York Times: "Intrigue deepened on Monday over the whereabouts of Edward J. Snowden ... when he did not leave Moscow on a planned flight to Havana, one day after Hong Kong frustrated his American pursuers by allowing him to fly out of the territory. Mr. Snowden’s vacant seat on the Havana flight raised the possibility that the Russian government had detained him, either to consider the demands by the Obama administration to intercept him and return him to the United States or perhaps to question him for Russia’s own purposes."

Next Stop Could Be Ecuador: CBS News: "Ecuador's foreign minister said Monday his country would act not on its interests but on its principles as it considers an asylum request from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, wanted for revealing classified U.S. secrets. Speaking to reporters in Hanoi, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he could not comment on Snowden's location after the U.S. fugitive appeared not to have boarded a flight from Moscow to Cuba on which he was booked."

Immigration Vote: Associated Press: "President Barack Obama campaigned from the White House for immigration legislation on Monday in advance of a Senate test vote on a bill calling for more than $30 billion worth of new security measures along the border with Mexico and offering a chance at citizenship for millions living in the country illegally. Far outnumbered, conservative critics attacked without letup in speeches and electronic appeals. ... After three weeks of desultory debate, the end game was at hand in the Senate for the most ambitious attempt to overhaul the nation's immigration system in decades."

Mandela in Critical Condition: Washington Post: "Nelson Mandela remained in critical condition for a second straight day, South African President Jacob Zuma said Monday. ... The anti-apartheid icon has been hospitalized in the capital, Pretoria, for a recurring lung infection since June 8. Zuma provided few details Monday about Mandela’s condition, which deteriorated to a critical state over the weekend, and doctors were not made available to discuss his health. Zuma described the former South African president as being asleep when he visited him Sunday evening."

Zimmerman Trial Gets Underway: ABC News: "The George Zimmerman murder trial began with a prosecutor telling the jury that Zimmerman killed teenager Trayvon Martin 'because he wanted to,' while Zimmerman's lawyer told the court it was a 'sad case' but that ‘there are no monsters here.’ The jury heard several tapes, including Zimmerman's initial call to police as well as 911 calls made by people who heard a fight outside with someone in the background screaming for help. Trayvon Martin's mother abruptly left the courtroom when the tape with the screams was played in court."

Iraqi Death Toll: Reuters: "Ten car bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital on Monday, killing nearly 40 people in markets and garages on the evening of a Shi'ite Muslim celebration, police and medical sources said. Some of the attacks targeted districts where Shi'ites were commemorating the anniversary of the birth of a revered Imam, but there also were explosions in mixed neighborhoods and districts with a high population of Sunnis. The violence reinforced a growing trend since the start of the year, with more than 1,000 people killed in militant attacks in May alone, making it the deadliest month since the sectarian bloodletting of 2006-07."

Silvio Found Guilty, But Prison's Still a Long Way Off: CBS News: "A Milan court on Monday convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi of paying for sex with an underage prostitute during infamous 'bunga bunga' parties at his villa and then using his influence to try to cover it up. Berlusconi, 76, was sentenced to seven years in prison and barred from public office for life—a sentence that could mean the end of his two-decade political career. However, there are two more levels of appeal before the sentence would become final, a process that can take months."

Zoo Finds the Red Panda It Lost: Washington City Paper: "Rusty, the red panda who was reported missing from the National Zoo this afternoon, has been caught. City Paper intern Dan Singer reports from the scene at the 1900 block of Biltmore Street NW that Rusty has been found by employees of the National Zoo, the Humane Society, and the Metropolitan Police Department and is now en route back to the zoo."

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