Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Mar 29, 2013

  • Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe: Virginia Governor’s Race Holds the Eyes of the Nation

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    You might call it the off-year comeuppance: In every one of Virginia’s past nine gubernatorial contests, the Old Dominion has rejected the party of the president elected only a year before.

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Mar 28, 2013

  • Analysis: Supreme Court Seems Poised to avoid same-sex marriage tide

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    For nearly four years, proponents of same-sex marriage have been strategically building a test case aimed at convincing the conservative-leaning Supreme Court to declare that gay marriage is a constitutional right. The advocates felt they were ready.

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  • DOMA Challengers Optimistic About Outcome

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    Same-sex marriage supporters are optimistic this morning about the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act based on what Supreme Court justices said in court on Wednesday.

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  • Justices Cast Doubt on Benefits Ban in U.S. Marriage Law

    By Peter Baker and Adam Liptak, The New York Times

    The Supreme Court appeared ready on Wednesday to strike down a central part of a federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as a majority of the justices expressed reservations about the Defense of Marriage Act.

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  • Politics as 'Unusual' in Washington?

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • IMF Cites Hidden Price of Energy Subsidies

    With David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

    A new study says that reducing energy subsidies would help governments around the world cut budget deficits and go a long way toward heading off climate change.

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  • Inching toward Syria

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    Military intervention in the Muslim world seems to bring the United States nothing but grief. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya: None looks much like a success story now.

    Yet the Obama administration is edging reluctantly into a civil war in Syria, aiding rebels who are fighting to overthrow the brutal regime of Bashar Assad. And it should: The longer this war goes on, the worse it will be for the U.S. and the Syrians. Already, more than 70,000 Syrians have died; perhaps 4 million have lost their homes. The arguments against intervention are eroding fast.

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Mar 27, 2013

  • 5 Justices Seem Skeptical of Ban on Benefits to Gay Spouses

    By Peter Baker and Adam Liptak, The New York Times

    A majority of the justices on Wednesday questioned the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, as the Supreme Court took up the volatile issue of same-sex marriage for a second day.

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  • Parties Scramble to Come to Terms With Opinion Shift on Same-Sex Marriage

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    If justices on the Supreme Court sounded cautious and tentative as they addressed the issue of same-sex marriage Tuesday, it’s little wonder. Like everyone else in public life, they are operating in the middle of a political whirlwind.

    The political and legal systems are caught between past and future. Public opinion has shifted rapidly, and a majority of Americans now back legalizing same-sex marriage. Among those younger than 40, support is overwhelming. The question is when and in what form the future arrives.

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  • Analysis: Supreme Court Seems Poised to Avoid Same-Sex Marriage Tide

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    For nearly four years, proponents of same-sex marriage have been strategically building a test case aimed at convincing the conservative-leaning Supreme Court to declare that gay marriage is a constitutional right. The advocates felt they were ready.

    Read more
  • High Court Hears Federal Marriage Law

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Big Labor and Big Business Have One Big Issue: Immigration Reform

    By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

    Immigration reform has become the No. 1 policy priority at the AFL-CIO, a remarkable shift for the labor group that has in the past spent more effort trying to pass a health care law or destroying a proposal to privatize Social Security.

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  • Napolitano Expects Fees to Cover Immigration Reforms

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    At some point this spring, backers of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate are expected to unveil a bill and then defend it against conservative criticisms that millions of undocumented workers who want citizenship will eventually strain the nation’s budget.

    On Tuesday, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the costs of some of the key reforms backed by the administration would not be borne by taxpayers, but by the immigrants who opt to pursue any new pathway to citizenship enacted into law.

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  • First Woman Is Chosen to Lead Secret Service

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama on Tuesday appointed Julia A. Pierson, a longtime Secret Service agent, as the first woman to head the agency best known for protecting the president, vice president and their families.

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  • North Korea Enhances Nuclear Threats in Propaganda Video

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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Mar 26, 2013

  • Factbox: Major Supreme Court decisions on gay rights

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    The two gay marriage cases the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this week begin a new chapter in its review of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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  • Same-sex Marriage Takes Center Stage at SCOTUS

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Now in Defense of Gay Marriage, Bill Clinton

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    He had just flown across the country after an exhausting campaign day in Oregon and South Dakota, landing at the White House after dark. But President Bill Clinton still had more business before bed. He picked up a pen and scrawled out his name, turning a bill into law.

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  • Obama Expects April Senate Debate on Immigration

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    With an eye on the calendar while lawmakers are out of town for two weeks, President Obama on Monday used a White House ceremony welcoming 28 new U.S. citizens as a backdrop to urge Congress to take up immigration reform legislation next month.

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  • Rand vs. Rubio

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    The fascination with Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio is understandable. Both are young and ambitious Republicans in a party looking for its next leader. They are charismatic risk-takers who can talk to the media beyond just Fox News. Also alliteration may be destiny. Headline writers cannot resist writing Rand and Rubio combination. (See examples, here, here, here, here, and above.) Both men are also considering running for president.

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