Waiting on Brewer: Associated Press: "Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was holding a series of private meetings Wednesday with opponents and proponents of legislation adding protections for people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays, a proposal that has focused national attention on the state as business groups, gay rights supporters and even many fellow Republicans urged her to use her veto power. The governor faces a Saturday deadline to either sign Senate Bill 1062 or use her veto stamp. In a tweet from her official twitter account late Tuesday, the governor said: 'I assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the State of Arizona.' Brewer has been under increasing pressure to veto the proposal passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The proposal passed with support from all but three House Republicans and all 17 GOP state senators. Three of those senators, however, reversed course Monday and called for the governor to veto the SB1062."
Why the Wait, Part 1: USA Today: "The legislation landed on her desk Monday, and as each day has passed, emotions surrounding the debate have heightened. Many are questioning why Brewer is taking so long to act. Speculation is that the governor will veto the bill no later than Friday evening. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is among the business groups strongly opposed to the bill, is scheduled to honor her then. Some political insiders believe Brewer has allowed furor over the legislation to build to thwart social conservatives' attempts to push a similar bill later. SB 1062 bill shields businesses from being sued if they deny service to individuals based on sincerely held religious beliefs."
Why The Wait, Part 2: Washington Post: "Because she’s still thinking about her own electoral future. Brewer took over the governorship after her predecessor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, left in 2009 to become President Obama’s first Secretary of Homeland Security. She won a full term on her own in 2010, when she beat Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard by a wide 55-42 percent margin. Arizona’s constitution originally omitted any mention of term limits. ... In 1970, Arizona governors began serving four-year terms. In 1992, Arizona voters passed a constitutional amendment limiting governors to two consecutive terms. ... Brewer, though, has argued that she doesn’t meet the two-term requirement, because she served less than one half of Napolitano’s unexpired term. .... To this day, Brewer hasn’t formally ruled out challenging the state constitution and running for a second elected — and third overall — term."
Messing With Texas: Associated Press: "A federal judge declared a same-sex marriage ban in deeply conservative Texas unconstitutional on Wednesday, but will allow the nation's second-most populous state to enforce the law pending an appeal that will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. His ruling is the latest in a tangled web of lawsuits across the country expected to end up in the Supreme Court next year."
Slate Flashback: David S. Cohen and Dahlia Lithwick discuss marriage equality's perfect record post-Windsor, and why gay marriage can't lose in the courts.
More From the Lone Star State: New York Times: "While significant, Judge Garcia’s ruling will have no immediate effect on gay and lesbian couples wishing to marry in Texas. The judge issued a stay on his decision pending a likely appeal by the state’s lawyers to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, which is known as one of the country’s s most conservative appeals panels. ... The ruling by Judge Garcia, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, was the latest in a series of legal reversals that have overturned bans or lifted restrictions on same-sex marriage in several states, some in the South and the Bible Belt. A federal judge overturned Virginia’s ban early this month, a day after Kentucky was ordered to honor same-sex marriages performed in other states. In Oklahoma, the state’s amendment barring same-sex marriage was recently ruled unconstitutional, while a federal judge in Utah reached the same conclusion about that state’s amendment."
A Reminder the Olympics Are Over: Reuters: "Ukraine's protest leaders on Wednesday named ministers they want to form a new government following the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, as Russia put troops on high alert in a show of strength. President Vladimir Putin's order to 150,000 troops to be ready for war games near Ukraine was the Kremlin's boldest gesture yet after days of sabre rattling since its ally Yanukovich was ousted at the weekend. Moscow denied that the previously unannounced drill in its western military district was linked to events in its neighbor but it came amid a series of increasingly strident statements about the fate of Russian citizens and interests."
Business Insider: American Military Dominance in One Staggering Chart
"Innocence of Muslims": San Jose Mercury: "Google must take down a controversial anti-Muslim video on YouTube that sparked protests across the Muslim world because keeping it on the website violates the rights of an actress who sued after she was duped into appearing in the film, a divided federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Google's arguments that being forced to take down the video, 'Innocence of Muslims,' would be a prior restraint that would violate the company's First Amendment protections. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia proved the need to remove the video from YouTube, the appeals court concluded, in part because of ongoing death threats since it sparked violent protests after being first aired by Egyptian television in 2012."
Missouri Execution: CBS News: "A Missouri inmate was executed early Wednesday for abducting, raping and killing a Kansas City teenager as she waited for her school bus in 1989, marking the state's fourth execution by lethal injection in as many months. Michael Taylor, 47, was pronounced dead shortly at 12:10 a.m. at the state prison in Bonne Terre. Federal courts and the governor had refused last-minute appeals from his attorneys, who argued that the execution drug purchased from a compounding pharmacy could have caused Taylor inhumane pain and suffering. .... As the process began, he took two deep breaths before closing his eyes for the last time. There were no obvious signs of distress. ... In their appeals, Taylor's attorneys questioned Missouri's use of an unnamed compounding pharmacy to provide the execution drug, pentobarbital. They also cited concerns about the state executing inmates before appeals were complete and argued that Taylor's original trial attorney was so overworked that she encouraged him to plead guilty."
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