On June 28 — just two days after the Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits to members of same-sex "marriages" — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified Traian Popov, a Bulgarian immigrant who lives with his American partner, that his application for a permanent visa (green card) had been approved. Popov and Julian Marsh, who has joint U.S.-Canadian citizenship, were wed in New York, where same-sex "marriage" is legal. Their “marriage” is not recognized in Florida, where they currently live.
The Senate voted 68-to-32 to pass the long-debated immigration bill on June 27, with 14 Republicans joining 52 Democrats and two independents. The extraordinary protocol for the vote highlighted its importance, with Vice President Biden presiding and the senators voting from their desks.
In a 7-1 decision made on June 24, the Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas and returned the case to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. In handing down the decision, however, the High Court vacated the circuit court’s previous decision and directed it to revisit the case and to apply a stricter level of scrutiny in deciding whether the university’s affirmative action policy is justified.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on June 24 to hear a case involving the validity of three recess appointments President Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in January that the appointments to the NLRB’s board, which normally has five members, were invalid. The court’s decision will be made during the High Court’s next term, which will start in October.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) launched a national petition on June 20 to oppose the bipartisan Senate Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. His e-mail to supporters read: "This is urgent. We must stop this Gang of 8 immigration bill, which would give amnesty to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants with no guarantee of a secure border."
Obama administration officials said on June 18 that representatives will begin formal talks with the Taliban “within a few days" at a new office in Doha, Qatar. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record, told the Associated Press that they viewed the Taliban’s opening of the office as a stepping stone to the fundamentalist Islamic movement’s repudiation of al-Qaeda.
Speaking at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington on June 12, Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) said he believes there will be a time when everyone is judged on whether they took a stand in defense of human life.
As anti-government protests that began on May 28 continued in Istanbul on June 11, hundreds of riot police breached barricades set up by protesters in the Turkish city’s Taksim Square, using non-lethal weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons to control the area. The protests started as a demonstration against the replacement of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the historic Taksim Military Barracks, then morphed into larger protests and riots across Turkey against what many regard as the authoritarian rule of Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his elected government.
President Obama will announce the appointment of Dr. Jason Furman to chair the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) Monday afternoon, according to a White House statement. Furman has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and received an MSc from the London School of Economics. He has advised Obama on economics matters since the president’s 2008 election campaign.
President Obama used his fundraising trip to California today to promote the Affordable Care Act — popularly known as ObamaCare. Obama arrived in California on Thursday evening, June 6, to attend Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) fundraisers in Palo Alto and Portola Valley.