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Where 2016 GOP Presidential hopefuls stand on immigration, gay marriage

Major developments on immigration reform and gay marriage offer an early preview of potential lines of division among a group of Republicans who are viewed as potential White House candidates in 2016. Here’s a look at where they stand on the issues. ___ IMMIGRATION REFORM — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: Bush, a longtime advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, said in a statement that the Senate vote was a “strong step for meaningful immigration reform and encouraging legal immigration for those that want to contribute to a better America.” He said the legislation “secures our borders and allows the 11
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U.S. now tries to rationalize spying on allies

The U.S. says it gathers the same kinds of intelligence as other nations to safeguard against foreign terror threats, pushing back on fresh outrage from key allies over secret American surveillance programs that reportedly installed covert listening devices in European Union offices. Facing threatened investigations and sanctions from Europe, U.S. intelligence officials plan to discuss the new allegations — reported in Sunday’s editions of the German newsweekly Der Spiegel — directly with EU officials. But “as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” concluded a
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Uncertain future for immigration bill in House

The immigration debate is shifting to the Republican-led House, where lawmakers have shown little appetite for the large-scale, comprehensive approach their Senate colleagues embraced last week. The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Sunday that any attempt at comprehensive immigration legislation cannot offer a “special pathway to citizenship” for those in the United States illegally. Democrats have called that position a deal-breaker. Meanwhile, both parties eyed the politics that could yield electoral victories or irrelevance among the growing Hispanic voting bloc. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who leads the House Judiciary Committee, said he does not foresee
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Justice Kennedy halts another California attempt to stop gay marriage

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has denied a request from Proposition 8 supporters in California to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the nation’s most populous state. Kennedy turned away the request on Sunday with no additional comment. Same-sex marriage opponents asked him to step in on Saturday, a day after the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages to go forward. Numerous weddings were performed at San Francisco City Hall following the court decisions. The opponents said the appeals court had acted about three weeks too soon. Proposition 8 supporters could continue their efforts to
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Biden rips Virginia GOP as tea-party shills

Vice President Joe Biden continued a busy political pace Saturday, appearing with Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate at the swing state’s premier party fundraiser and ridiculing this fall’s conservative Republican statewide ticket as extreme captives of tea party ideology. Biden brought about 1,000 Democrats to their feet repeatedly at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner barely four months ahead of the nation’s only competitive governor’s race. His appearances at state fundraisers haved evoked speculation that he is laying his footing for a 2016 presidential bid. “Ladies and gentlemen, we stand for equal rights and women’s rights,” Biden said. “With virtually zero support from the
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Pelosi says Republicans need immigration reform to win White House

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says immigration reform is the right thing for congressional Republicans “if they ever want to win a presidential race.” The wide-ranging immigration bill approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate last week faces tough opposition in the Republican-controlled House. In the Senate, 14 Republicans joined all Democratic senators and independents in the 68-32 vote. In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Pelosi linked GOP support for the immigration overhaul with future success of Republicans in political races, particularly for the White House. “We wouldn’t even be where we are right now had it
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Roberts: Too many questions from the Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts says he and his colleagues have become too aggressive in questioning lawyers who argue before the Supreme Court. Roberts says the justices “overdo it a bit” in posing questions to lawyers who are arguing their cases without giving the attorneys the chance to respond. The chief justice says one reason is that the justices have not discussed the case among themselves before the argument. Roberts says they use the typically hour-long session to debate each other through the lawyers. Justice Clarence Thomas, who hasn’t asked a question in seven years, has made the same criticism. Roberts
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Conflicting decisions from a historic Supreme Court term

A historic Supreme Court term ended with a flourish of major rulings that marked a bitter defeat for racial minorities and a groundbreaking victory for gay rights, all in the space of a day. The justices struck down parts of two federal laws — the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act — that were passed with huge bipartisan majorities of Congress. Yet only one justice at the center of this conservative-leaning court, Anthony Kennedy, was on the winning side both times. Kennedy joined the four more conservative justices on voting rights and he was with his liberal
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Obama puts climate change front and center

President Barack Obama is urging Americans to make climate change a political litmus test, asking them to declare they won’t vote for any politicians who don’t protect future generations from environmental devastation. Obama says Americans are already paying the price for climate change, including in lost lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. He says America will be judged as a people and a nation by how it responds. “If you agree with me, I’ll need you to act,” Obama says, appealing to Americans to spread the word to their family, friends and classmates. “Remind everyone who represents you, at
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Supreme Court ruling will help gay military spouses

For Stewart Bornhoft, who completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, the Supreme Court’s decision granting federal benefits to married, same-sex couples means that he and his spouse, Stephen McNabb, can one day be buried together at Arlington National Cemetery. For Joan Darrah, who served nearly 30 years in the Navy and lived through the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, the decision means her spouse, Lynne Kennedy, can join her more generous, less expensive health plan. Just two years ago, gays and lesbians were prevented from serving openly in the military. Now, with the Supreme Court ruling this week, same-sex
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