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!

Jun 27, 2013

  • Ruling Opens Immigration System To Gay Couples

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    Gay and lesbian couples will for the first time be able to secure green cards for their foreign spouses after the Supreme Court struck down a section of federal law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

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  • Court Rulings on Gay Marriage and Voting Rights Test GOP Makeover

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    House Speaker John Boehner spent at least $2.3 million to defend the federal law banning same-sex marriage -- a cause dear to the Republican base -- but you couldn't tell from his muted reaction when the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down.

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  • Texas State Senator Wendy Davis Filibusters Her way To Democratic Stardom

    By Karen Tumulty and Morgan Smith, The Washington Post

    Wendy Davis strode onto the floor of the Texas Senate chamber on Tuesday in rouge-red running shoes, and came off it early Wednesday morning as the Democratic Party’s newest star.

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  • African Terrorist Threat Not Far From Obama’s Mind

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    When President Obama lands in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, next week, he will see a city that reflects the rapid changes that are reshaping Africa. The traffic-snarled streets are a riot of bright color, with buildings painted in splashes of pink and orange sherbet, and pedestrians dressed in blaring red dresses and screaming yellow soccer shirts. On the shoreline, large container ships will be stacked to the horizon of the Indian Ocean, bespeaking the economic miracle that has brought Africa’s average economic growth rate on par with Asia’s at nearly 6 percent.

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Jun 26, 2013

  • With Snowden in Middle, U.S. and Russia Joust, and Cool Off

    By David Herszenhorn, Ellen Barry and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Tuesday appeared to rule out sending Edward J. Snowden back to the United States to face espionage charges, leaving him in limbo even as Moscow and Washington seemed to be making an effort to prevent a cold-war-style standoff from escalating.

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  • Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act, paves way for gay marriage to resume in California

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    In a pair of landmark decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case.

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  • Analysis: U.S. chief justice realizes longstanding vision in voting-rights case

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    For an often enigmatic figure at the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts spoke to the essence of his legal philosophy on Tuesday in eliminating a voting-rights provision enacted to protect blacks and other minorities. His opinion for the court marks the culmination of an effort by conservatives, many of whom, like Roberts, cut their teeth in the Ronald Reagan administration, to ensure that federal voting requirements on the states be limited and race-based rules fade in contemporary America.

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  • Congress unlikely to act on voting rights ruling

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    A divided Congress has no clear path to heed the call of Chief Justice John Roberts and President Obama to legislate in response to Tuesday's 5-4 Supreme Court decision that invalidated a portion of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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  • Try, Try Again

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    On Tuesday, President Obama tried two presidential adaptation strategies. The first was holding a White House meeting with congressional leaders about immigration reform. The second was an end-run around those same leaders with a speech announcing that the Environmental Protection Agency will regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants.

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  • Obama South Africa Visit Completes World Awakening From Mandela

    By Julianna Goldman and Margaret Talev, Bloomberg News

    The only meeting between the first black presidents of the U.S. and South Africa lasted only a few minutes and almost didn’t happen. In May 2005, Barack Obama, a new U.S. senator, was riding to a Washington event when his office called. Nelson Mandela, whose decades-long fight against apartheid and efforts at racial reconciliation had inspired Obama to become engaged in politics, was in town and asking to see him. Obama seized the chance.

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Jun 25, 2013

  • High Court Eliminates Voting Map

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

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  • Analysis: Supreme Court Takes Small Step to Bridge Ideological Divide

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    It may never be clear what happened behind the scenes at the U.S. Supreme Court to yield Monday's compromise decision upholding university affirmative action. The case was heard in October, the first month of the term, and as the months went by and the justices deliberated in secret, the suspense grew.

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  • Immigration bill passes key hurdle in Senate

    By Alan Gomez, USA Today

    The Senate took a major step toward overhauling the nation's immigration laws Monday when it cleared the way for an amendment to bolster border security on a 67-27 vote.

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  • Gang of 70

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    Later this week, the Senate will pass comprehensive immigration reform, and that’s supposed to give the bill momentum in the House. "We’re working to get a very substantial bipartisan majority," said Republican Sen. John Hoeven. "That’s going to help in terms of actually getting the bill all the way through the House and into law." Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Gang of Eight that has crafted the bill, and also a former member of the House, says that, "Having a significant number of Republicans will change the dynamic in the House."

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  • Russia Rebukes U.S., Insisting Snowden Not Within Border

    By David M. Herszenhorn and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia offered the first direct confirmation on Tuesday that Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American national security contractor, was in a transit area at a Moscow airport, and he appeared to rule out American requests for his extradition to the United States.

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  • President Obama in the Doldrums

    By John F. Harris, Jake Sherman and Elizabeth Titus, Politico

    Not yet six months into his second term, Barack Obama’s presidency is in a dead zone.

    A combination of familiar Washington intransigence and a more recent run of bad news and political setbacks have left him with less influence over his circumstances — and more buffeted by factors beyond his control — than at any time in his five years in office.

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Jun 24, 2013

  • Supreme Court Raises Bar for Affirmative Action in College Admissions

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

     

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  • Plane for Havana Leaves Moscow Without Snowden

    By David M. Herszenhorn, Ellen Barry and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Edward J. Snowden, the former national security contractor accused of espionage, did not leave Moscow as expected on a flight to Havana on Monday, raising questions about what, if any, alternative travel plans he may have made.

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  • GOP’s Divide on Immigration Best Explained By Two Senators Named Jeff

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    One easy way to grasp the challenges facing the Republican Party on immigration reform is to map the political distance between two GOP senators who have been working diligently on the package that the Senate is expected to vote on this week. The problems begin with the fact that they have not been working together.

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  • Two Bills, Two Lessons for GOP Hopefuls

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Republicans contemplating a run for the White House in 2016 must be thinking hard about what transpired on Capitol Hill this past week and what it says about the gap between winning their party’s nomination and winning a general election.

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