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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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Retired general suspected of leaking classified data

A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is under investigation for allegedly leaking classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to media reports. Retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright has been told he is a target of the probe, NBC News and The Washington Post reported Thursday. A “target” is someone a prosecutor or grand jury has substantial evidence linking to a crime and who is likely to be charged. The Justice Department referred questions to the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore, where a spokeswoman, Marcia Murphy, declined to comment. The investigation of
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Obama trys to downplay Snowden’s relevance

The last thing President Barack Obama wants to do is turn Edward Snowden into a grand enemy of the state or a Daniel Ellsberg-type hero who speaks truth to power. In the shifting narrative of the Obama administration, the man whose leaks of top-secret material about government surveillance programs have tied the national security apparatus in knots and brought charges under the Espionage Act has now been demoted to a common fugitive unworthy of international intrigue or extraordinary pursuit by the U.S. government. A “29-year-old hacker,” in the words of Obama; fodder for a made-for-TV movie, perhaps, but not much
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Immigration focus shifting to the House

Attention is shifting to the House and its conservative majority after the Senate passed a landmark immigration bill opening the door to U.S. citizenship to millions while pouring billions of dollars into securing the border with Mexico. The bill’s prospects are highly uncertain in the Republican-led House, where conservatives generally oppose citizenship for immigrants living in the country unlawfully. Many also prefer a step-by-step approach rather than a comprehensive bill like the legislation the Senate passed Thursday on a bipartisan vote of 68-32. Following the Senate vote, President Barack Obama, who’s made an immigration overhaul a top second-term priority, called
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Senate passes immigration overhaul bill

With a solemnity reserved for momentous occasions, the Senate passed historic legislation Thursday offering the priceless hope of citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in America’s shadows. The bill also promises a military-style effort to secure the long-porous border with Mexico. The bipartisan vote was 68-32 on a measure that sits atop President Barack Obama’s second-term domestic agenda. But the bill’s prospects are highly uncertain in the Republican-controlled House, where party leaders are jockeying for position in advance of expected action next month. Spectators in galleries that overlook the Senate floor watched expectantly as senators voted one by one
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Lots to still work out on gay marriage issues

Two landmark Supreme Court rulings that bolster gay marriage rights don’t remove all barriers to same-sex unions by a long shot. Where gay couples live still will have a lot to do with how they’re treated. Some questions and answers about Wednesday’s court rulings: Q: Can you boil down these two big rulings — 104 pages in all — to the basics? A: In one case, the court said legally married gay couples are entitled to the same federal benefits available to straight couples. In the other, it cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California, where voters
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