VOTING RIGHTS: “When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments next week about the constitutionality of a key element of the Voting Rights Act, the Obama administration and other proponents of the law will be facing five very skeptical justices.”
“At issue is the validity of Section 5 of the landmark 1965 law designed to quash voter disenfranchisement efforts such as poll taxes and literacy tests. Section 5 requires states and municipalities with a history of racial discrimination (read: mostly in the south) to seek preclearance from the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes to their voting laws.” — Talking Points Memo 2/20/13
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: “McCutcheon could be the new Citizens United.
“The Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to hear a campaign finance case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, in its next term gives the justices a chance to continue their dismantling of restrictions on money in politics, most notably with the landmark Citizens United v. FEC decision of early 2010.
“With the new case, the court could strike a blow against fundraising limits for federal candidates and political parties.” — Washington Post 2/20/13
GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM ON CLEAN ENERGY INTIATIVES (VIDEO): “Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?” TED Talks 2/28/13
“On one hand, they’re too young to retire. They may also be too old to get re-hired.
“More of the same for the nation’s long-term unemployed.
“The good news? Employers in February added jobs at a faster-than-expected pace, a further sign that the labor market is gaining vigor after years of weakness in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The bad news? Those who have been out of work the longest are still struggling.” — National Journal 3/8/13
SEQUESTER HITS INDIAN RESERVATIONS: “The Congressional Republicans who brought us the mindless budget cuts known as the sequester have shown remarkable indifference to life-sustaining government services, American jobs and other programs. So what do they make of the country’s commitments to American Indians, its longstanding obligations to tribal governments under the Constitution and treaties dating back centuries?
“Very little, it seems. The sequester will impose cuts of 5 percent across the Indian Health Service, the modestly financed agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides basic health care to two million American Indians and native Alaskans. It is underfinanced for its mission and cannot tolerate more deprivation.” — New York Times 3/20/13