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March 27th, 2013
07:06 AM ET

Supreme Court to hear DOMA case in day two of same-sex marriage arguments – Shannon Travis reports


Washington (CNN) - Day Two of the culture wars at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage, and another opportunity for the justices to give political and legal clarity to a contentious issue.

This all further intensifies interest in Wednesday's arguments on the constitutionality of a federal law that, like California, defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

But a practical impact of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act means federal tax, Social Security, pension, and bankruptcy benefits, and family medical leave protections - do not apply to gay and lesbian couples.

The appeal centers on that element and involves Edith "Edie" Windsor, who was forced to assume an estate tax bill much larger than other married couples would have to pay. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

Shannon Travis previews the DOMA case arguments before the Supreme Court on "Early Start" this morning.

READ MORE: Day Two of same-sex marriage at Supreme Court

Filed under: DOMA • Same sex marriage • SCOTUS
March 26th, 2013
07:44 AM ET

Possible outcomes in SCOTUS prop 8 case – Shannon Travis explains


Washington (CNN) - The meaning of marriage.

It's an issue that does not get more basic, yet the complexity surrounding the legal, social, and political implications of expanding that right to gays and lesbians is now squarely before the Supreme Court.

The justices launch an epic public dialogue on Tuesday when they hear oral arguments in the first of two appeals to state and federal laws restricting same-sex marriage. The second round will be on Wednesday.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Shannon Travis looks at three possible outcomes in the case before the Supreme Court.

READ MORE: Same-sex marriage: A potential Supreme Court blockbuster

Filed under: Same sex marriage • SCOTUS
October 10th, 2012
06:25 AM ET

Affirmative action case before the US Supreme Court today – Joe Johns explains

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN) – Heman Marion Sweatt and Abigail Noel Fisher both wanted to attend the University of Texas at Austin.

Both claimed their race was a primary reason for their rejection. Both filed civil rights lawsuits, and the Supreme Court ultimately agreed to hear their separate appeals – filed more than half a century apart.

Their cases share much in common – vexing questions of competition, fairness, and demographics – and what role government should play when promoting political and social diversity. But it is the key difference between these plaintiffs – separated by three generations and a troubled road to "equality" – that now confronts the nation's highest court: Sweatt was black, Fisher is white.

Sweatt's 1950 case produced a landmark court ruling that set the stage for the eventual end of racial segregation in public facilities.

Fisher's case will be heard by the justices Wednesday. The question here could come down to whether a majority on the bench believes affirmative action has run its course – no longer necessary in a country that has come far to confront its racially divisive past, a country that has a president who is African-American.

On "Early Start" this morning, CNN's Joe Johns explains the arguments in the current case before the Supreme Court.

READ MORE: Justices to re-examine use of race in college admissions

Filed under: Affirmative action • SCOTUS
October 1st, 2012
09:49 AM ET

CNN Foreign Reporter Elise Labott on Syrian Foreign Minister's address at U.N. General Assembly

Syria’s Foreign Minister is slated to address the U.N. General Assembly this morning. The annual meeting wraps up today with Syria on the agenda while the crisis there has been the focal issue for world leaders throughout the session. CNN’s Foreign Reporter Elise Labott joins Zoraida Sambolin on “Early Start” this morning with details on what to expect from the speech.

Labott expects the minister “is going to make a vigorous defense of the regime’s activities.” Labott says throughout the session Syria’s foreign minister has been “lumping all the opposition, even the peaceful protestors, in with these rebels and insurgents that have been bombing a lot of regime facilities.” She expects him to say, “‘Listen, We need to crack down on terrorism. And you need to crack down on states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia who are funding these guys.'”

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Filed under: SCOTUS • Syria • U.N. General Assembly
September 18th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

CNN's Jeffrey Toobin's book reveals never-heard-before details of the relationship between Obama and the Supreme Court

In his new book entitled, "The Oath: The Obama White House And The Supreme Court," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin reveals never-heard-before details of the relationship between the president and the supreme court.

This morning on "Early Start," Toobin shares information from his book regarding Chief Justice John Roberts' flub during Obama's nauguration. Toobin explains, John Roberts "prepared a version of the oath marking off where the breaks would be and his assistant emailed that to the secretary at the congressional inaugural committee. That secretary never opened the attachment and never forwarded it to Obama's office."

Toobin's book also takes a closer look at what he calls the current competing visions of president Obama and Chief Justice Roberts. Toobin argues that there is an ideological battle between Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts concluding that one believes in change and the other believes in stability.

Filed under: Book • SCOTUS
March 28th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Texas Rep. Michael Burge says health care mandate "a problem"

Rep. Michael Burge (R-Texas) on the issues with the health care case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Filed under: Health care • SCOTUS • Supreme Court
March 27th, 2012
03:51 PM ET

Can Congress regulate health care? Scotusblog.com's Tom Goldstein explains

SCOTUSblog.com's Tom Goldstein on the central arguments for and against the health care case before the Supreme Court. He also explain the misinformation surrounding the case.

Filed under: Health care • SCOTUS