Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”
In Session Anchor
Today, the California Supreme Court heard arguments on whether to overturn Proposition 8, the state initiative that outlawed gay marriage last November.
Gay marriage is one of those polarizing issues in American life — like abortion and gun control. People stake out a position and they don’t want to hear what anyone on the other side has to say. But I am here to tell you that, even if you are opposed to gay marriage, even if you voted for Prop 8, you want to listen up; because this case isn’t just about gay marriage. It’s much bigger than that.
This case is about the civil rights of all Californians, and by extension, all Americans. With the ban on gay marriage, California did something that no other state in the history of this country has done: It took away an already established civil right. Imagine someone suddenly telling you your marriage is no longer valid – for whatever reason.
I have said before that Prop 8 was mean-spirited and it was. But more to the point, it was unprecedented. And it’s not the kind of precedent we want in America. This country was founded on the principal that the majority, well intentioned or not can’t simply erase the rights of the minority. That’s just plain un-American.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and actor Brad Pitt speak to the media following a meeting to discuss the 'Make it Right' project on March 5, 2009 in Washington, DC.
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Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about what Tony Perkins has to say about Prop 8 on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
President of the Family Research Council
The oral arguments before the California Supreme Court are quite interesting. While I am sure there are a number of poker players on the court, their line of questioning seems to be showing deference to the people of California.
The Attorney General's office, which is supposed to defend state laws, attempted to argue that the amendment should be overturned by the court. Christopher Krueger argued this not because the amendment was a "revision" of the constitution as the other opponents claimed, but because you cannot take away an inalienable right. Mr. Krueger, however, could not provide a definition for "inalienable."
The justices' questions to Krueger seemed to have a sharp edge leaving him somewhat flustered.
Ken Starr is concluding his arguments now for the validity of the constitutional amendment.
Whether you agree with her family’s politics or not, it’s tough to deny that Barbara Bush has not evolved over the years into a national symbol of familial fortitude. America’s grandmother, if you will. Her hospitalization has prompted me to reflect on my own grandmothers: their love, their support and their passion for gambling in international waters.
On my father’s side I have Grammie. Grammie is a Massachusetts native whose ancestors go back many generations in New England. They were the ones at that first Thanksgiving in Plymouth saying, “That’s a beautiful centerpiece, but where’s the bar?”
Grammie is amongst the most kind-hearted and generous people I’ve ever known. I remember her this past Christmas, sitting down at the head of the table and saying, “I hope you all enjoy your roast beef. I’m just going to sit here and eat this plate full of lobster in front of you.”
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear the latest news about the Proposition 8 in CA. on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
The California Supreme Court began hearing arguments Thursday in a case that could determine the fate of same-sex marriage in the state, as well as the validity of about 18,000 same-sex marriages.
The court is tackling the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a measure banning same-sex marriage that voters approved in November.
Its opponents are seeking to have the amendment nullified. They maintain Proposition 8 alters the state constitution and therefore, under state law, is a revision that requires a constitutional convention.
The state Supreme Court ruled in May that the California Constitution allows same-sex couples to marry.
Arguments on Thursday took place in a packed courtroom. Because of heavy interest in the hearing, officials installed big-screen televisions to accommodate onlookers in the court auditorium, which seats about 200.
More than 60 friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed in the case, a court spokeswoman said.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in San Francisco's Castro District on Wednesday night to push for the court to reinstate same-sex marriage in California.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear the latest news about Chris Brown's arrest on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
The argument that led to singer Chris Brown's arrest on felony assault charges began when his girlfriend found a text message on his cell phone from "a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with," according to a sworn police statement.
Authorities charged Brown on Thursday with felony counts of assault and making criminal threats, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.
The charges are in connection with an alleged attack last month on "his girlfriend," the office said.
It identified the woman only as Robyn F., but sources close to the couple have told CNN the alleged victim was singer Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
Brown was scheduled to appear in court later Thursday.
Rihanna, 21, was allegedly attacked by Brown on February 8 on a Los Angeles street before the two were to perform at the Grammys.
Brown apologized for the incident last month.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the violence in Mexico from Gary Tuchman on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
My sister has an old photograph from our childhood and it always reminds me of my life and the Mexico I love. It’s a picture of my grandfather, my sister and our cousin in the mid-1970’s just south of the California/Mexico border enjoying the beaches of Tijuana.
Our grandfather died a few years after that day on the beach. When I look at that photograph, it reminds me of those days in Mexico, going to the beach or roller-skating not far from there. He didn’t have to take us, we had beautiful beaches where we lived in San Diego County, but I am so happy he did.
Last Wednesday, federal regulators announced that they were beginning the so-called stress tests on the country’s largest banks. One thing that hasn’t been entirely clear: exactly which banks are getting the treatment. Based on the criteria announced by the Treasury Department and publicly available data, we’ve compiled a list of those 19 banks below.
Some, like GMAC and American Express, weren’t banks until a few months ago, when they converted to bank holding companies in order to be eligible for Treasury Department programs. All but one, the insurance company MetLife, which qualifies because it’s a bank holding company, have already received billions from the Treasury. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said the test will be used to assess how much more (if any) in bailout billions these institutions need.
A GMAC spokeswoman confirmed the company was among those participating in the stress tests, but declined to comment further. A MetLife spokesman declined to comment on the tests and referred questions to the Treasury. Spokespeople from both the Treasury and the Federal Reserve declined to comment.
Pedro A. Noguera
Special to CNN
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama's stimulus package, could serve as a historic investment in our children's future, an initiative that could very well change the course of our nation.
It is an opportunity that cannot be squandered.
However, there is good reason for concern that the funds made available for education under the act will not result in the change we need.
Over the past eight years, educational progress in the United States has been modest at best. According to a national study by the Gates Foundation ("The Silent Epidemic," 2006), dropout rates in many of our nation's largest cities are 50 percent or higher.