Political Headlines March 28, 2013: President Obama Renews Plea on Gun Control: ‘I Haven’t Forgotten’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Renews Plea on Gun Control: ‘I Haven’t Forgotten’

Source: NYT, 3-28-13

President Obama hugged a group of mothers who were victims of gun violence as he urged Congress to pass measures aimed at preventing it during an event in the East Room of the White House.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama hugged a group of mothers who were victims of gun violence as he urged Congress to pass measures aimed at preventing it during an event in the East Room of the White House.

Standing with shooting victims’ mothers, President Obama scolded lawmakers for not embracing proposals he put forward after the Sandy Hook massacre….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 28, 2013: President Barack Obama on Gun Violence: ‘Shame on Us If We’ve Forgotten’ Newtown

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: ‘Shame on Us If We’ve Forgotten’ Newtown

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-28-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama on Thursday vowed that the children killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School will not be forgotten as he made a plea for Congress to take action against gun violence.

“The entire country was shocked, and the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different,” the president said as he stood in the East Room of the White House with 21 mothers working to combat gun violence in America….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 28, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Gun Violence & Safety & Protecting Our Children from Gun Violence — ‘Shame on Us If We’ve Forgotten’ Newtown

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama: We Have Not Forgotten What Happened in Newtown

Source: WH, 3-28-13

Today, President Obama promised the American people that he had not forgotten the 20 innocent chidlren and six brave educators who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary more than 100 days ago. Standing with parents and teachers of gun violence victims, he urged Congress to take action that will protect other children and families from the pain and grief these families have experienced….READ MORE

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks on gun safetyPresident Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks on gun safety in the East Room of the White House, March 28, 2013. Mothers who have lost children to gun violence join them on stage. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Remarks by the President on Gun Safety

President Obama Speaks on Protecting Our Children from Gun Violence

President Obama Speaks on Protecting Our Children from Gun Violence

Source: WH, 3-28-13 

East Room

11:58 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you, Katerina, for sharing your story.  Reema was lucky to have you as a teacher, and all of us are fortunate to have you here today.  And I’m glad we had a chance to remember her.

Katerina, as you just heard, lost one of her most promising students in Virginia Tech, the shootings there that took place six years ago.  And she and dozens of other moms and dads, all victims of gun violence, have come here today from across the country — united not only in grief and loss, but also in resolve, and in courage, and in a deep determination to do whatever they can, as parents and as citizens to protect other kids and spare other families from the awful pain that they have endured.

As any of the families and friends who are here today can tell you, the grief doesn’t ever go away.  That loss, that pain sticks with you.  It lingers on in places like Blacksburg and Tucson and Aurora.  That anguish is still fresh in Newtown.  It’s been barely 100 days since 20 innocent children and six brave educators were taken from us by gun violence — including Grace McDonnell and Lauren Rousseau and Jesse Lewis, whose families are here today.

That agony burns deep in the families of thousands — thousands of Americans who have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun over these last 100 days — including Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed on her way to school less than two months ago, and whose mom is also here today.  Everything they lived for and hoped for, taken away in an instant.  We have moms on this stage whose children were killed as recently as 35 days ago.

I don’t think any of us who are parents can hear their stories and not think about our own daughters and our own sons and our own grandchildren.  We all feel that it is our first impulse, as parents, to do everything we can to protect our children from harm; to make any sacrifice to keep them safe; to do what we have to do to give them a future where they can grow up and learn and explore, and become the amazing people they’re destined to be.

That’s why, in January, Joe Biden, leading a task force, came up with, and I put forward, a series of common-sense proposals to reduce the epidemic of gun violence and keep our kids safe.  In my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to give these proposals a vote.  And in just a couple of weeks, they will.

Earlier this month, the Senate advanced some of the most important reforms designed to reduce gun violence.  All of them are consistent with the Second Amendment.  None of them will infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners.  What they will do is keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who put others at risk.  And this is our best chance in more than a decade to take common-sense steps that will save lives.

As I said when I visited Newtown just over three months ago, if there is a step we can take that will save just one child, just one parent, just another town from experiencing the same grief that some of the moms and dads who are here have endured, then we should be doing it.  We have an obligation to try.

Now, in the coming weeks, members of Congress will vote on whether we should require universal background checks for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that criminals or people with severe mental illnesses can’t get their hands on one.  They’ll vote on tough new penalties for anyone who buys guns only to turn around and sell them to criminals.  They’ll vote on a measure that would keep weapons of war and high-capacity ammunition magazines that facilitate these mass killings off our streets.  They’ll get to vote on legislation that would help schools become safer and help people struggling with mental health problems to get the treatment that they need.

None of these ideas should be controversial.  Why wouldn’t we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun?  Why wouldn’t we want to close the loophole that allows as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases to take place without a background check?  Why wouldn’t we do that?

And if you ask most Americans outside of Washington — including many gun owners — some of these ideas, they don’t consider them controversial.  Right now, 90 percent of Americans — 90 percent — support background checks that will keep criminals and people who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun.  More than 80 percent of Republicans agree.  More than 80 percent of gun owners agree.  Think about that.  How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything?  (Laughter.)  It never happens.

Many other reforms are supported by clear majorities of Americans.  And I ask every American to find out where your member of Congress stands on these ideas.  If they’re not part of that 90 percent who agree that we should make it harder for a criminal or somebody with a severe mental illness to buy a gun, then you should ask them, why not?  Why are you part of the 10 percent?

There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get this done.  But the reason we’re talking about here today is because it’s not done until it’s done.  And there are some powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running out the clock or changing the subject or drowning out the majority of the American people to prevent any of these reforms from happening at all.  They’re doing everything they can to make all our progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration, or their assumption is that people will just forget about it.

I read an article in the news just the other day wondering is Washington — has Washington missed its opportunity, because as time goes on after Newtown, somehow people start moving on and forgetting.  Let me tell you, the people here, they don’t forget.  Grace’s dad is not forgetting.  Hadiya’s mom hasn’t forgotten.  The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we’ve moved on to other things, that’s not who we are.  That’s not who we are.

And I want to make sure every American is listening today.  Less than 100 days ago that happened, and the entire country was shocked.  And the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different.  Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.  I haven’t forgotten those kids.  Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.

If there’s one thing I’ve said consistently since I first ran for this office:  Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change.  And that’s why it’s so important that all these moms and dads are here today.  But that’s also why it’s important that we’ve got grassroots groups out there that got started and are out there mobilizing and organizing and keeping up the fight.  That’s what it’s going to take to make this country safer.  It’s going to take moms and dads, and hunters and sportsmen, and clergy and local officials like the mayors who are here today standing up and saying, this time really is different — that we’re not just going to sit back and wait until the next Newtown or the next Blacksburg or the next innocent, beautiful child who is gunned down in a playground in Chicago or Philadelphia or Los Angeles before we summon the will to act.

Right now, members of Congress are back home in their districts, and many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents.  So I want everybody who is listening to make yourself heard right now.

If you think that checking someone’s criminal record before he can check out a gun show is common sense, you’ve got to make yourself heard.  If you’re a responsible, law-abiding gun owner who wants to keep irresponsible, law-breaking individuals from abusing the right to bear arms by inflicting harm on a massive scale, speak up.  We need your voices in this debate.  If you’re a mom like Katerina who wants to make this country safer, a stronger place for our children to learn and grow up, get together with other moms like the ones here today and raise your voices and make yourselves unmistakably heard.

We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes — that we meant it.

The desire to make a difference is what brought Corey Thornblad here today.  Corey grew up in Oklahoma, where her dad sold firearms at gun shows.  And today, she’s a mom and a teacher.  And Corey said that after Newtown, she cried for days — for the students who could have been her students; for the parents she could have known; for the teachers like her who go to work every single day and love their kids and want them to succeed.  And Corey says, “My heart was broken.  And I decided now was the time to act, to march, the time to petition, the time to make phone calls, because tears were no longer enough.”  And that’s my attitude.

Tears aren’t enough.  Expressions of sympathy aren’t enough.  Speeches aren’t enough.  We’ve cried enough.  We’ve known enough heartbreak.  What we’re proposing is not radical, it’s not taking away anybody’s gun rights.  It’s something that if we are serious, we will do.

Now is the time to turn that heartbreak into something real.  It won’t solve every problem.  There will still be gun deaths.  There will still be tragedies.  There will still be violence.  There will still be evil.  But we can make a difference if not just the activists here on this stage but the general public — including responsible gun owners — say, you know what, we can do better than this.  We can do better to make sure that fewer parents have to endure the pain of losing a child to an act of violence.

That’s what this is about.  And if enough people like Katerina and Corey and the rest of the parents who are here today get involved, and if enough members of Congress take a stand for cooperation and common sense, and lead, and don’t get squishy because time has passed and maybe it’s not on the news every single day — if that’s who we are, if that’s our character that we’re willing to follow through on commitments that we say are important — commitments to each other and to our kids — then I’m confident we can make this country a safer place for all of them.

So thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
12:13 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: President Barack Obama Expects Immigration Reform Bill in April

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Expects Immigration Bill in April

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-27-13

John Gurzinski/Getty Images

President Obama expects an immigration bill to come before the Senate next month and voiced optimism that a final bill could pass through Congress this summer.

A bipartisan group of senators, known as the “Gang of Eight,” missed a self-imposed deadline to submit a comprehensive immigration reform bill by the end of March, sparking concern that the group had reached an unsolvable impasse.  But Obama said on Wednesday that the group is “actually making progress” and that they are very close to reaching a final agreement on a bill….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: President Barack Obama Says His NCAA Bracket Is ‘Busted’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Says His NCAA Bracket Is ‘Busted’

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-28-13

Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images

When asked how his March Madness bracket is doing, President Obama on Wednesday responded with one word: “busted.”

Eleven of the president’s picks are among the Sweet 16 and his Final Four are still in the men’s NCAA tournament, but his teams in the Western division did not do as well….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: Sarah Palin Video Spotlights Sen. Ted Cruz, Prepares for 2014 Midterm Elections

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Palin Video Spotlights Sen. Ted Cruz, Prepares for Midterm Elections

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-27-13

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a video released Wednesday by Sarah Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, she revved up conservatives and Tea Party Republicans for 2014 with snippets of her Conservative Political Action Conference speech from earlier this month as well as media coverage praising the speech and her string of successful past endorsements.

[See the full video from Sarah Palin’s YouTube Channel here.]

Titled “Loaded for Bear,” the video begins with the praise from the mainstream media she is always quick to criticize as the “lamestream media.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 27, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony of Julia Pierson as the irst Female Director of the US Secret Service

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Julia Pierson Is Sworn In As First-Ever Female Director of the US Secret Service

Source: WH, 3-27-13

President Obama watches as Vice President Joe Biden administers the oath of office to incoming U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, March 27, 2013.President Barack Obama watches as Vice President Joe Biden administers the oath of office to incoming U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson during a swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office, March 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A highly respected veteran of the Secret Service was sworn in as head of that agency today in a ceremony in the Oval Office. President Obama watched as Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath to Julia Pierson, and praised her dedication, professionalism and commitment to her work….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Swearing-in Ceremony of Julia Pierson as the Director of the U.S. Secret Service

Source: WH, 3-27-13 

Oval Office

3:16 P.M. EDT

(The Vice President administers the oath to Ms. Pierson.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Congratulations.

THE PRESIDENT:  Great job.

MS. PIERSON:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Well, listen, I have to say that Julia’s reputation within the Service is extraordinary.  She’s come up through the ranks.  She’s done just about every job there is to do at the Secret Service.

Obviously, she’s breaking the mold in terms of directors of the agency, and I think that people are all extraordinarily proud of her.  And we have the greatest confidence in the wonderful task that lies ahead and very confident that she is going to do a great job.  So we just want to say congratulations.

As Joe Biden pointed out, this person now probably has more control over our lives than anyone else — (laughter) — except for our spouses.  And I couldn’t be placing our lives in better hands than Julia’s.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And my agents are excited that we picked her.

THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.  You’re going to do a great job.

Q    How did you make your decision?

THE PRESIDENT:  She has extraordinary qualifications, and I think a lot of people who have worked with Julia know how dedicated, how professional, how committed she is, and I think are absolutely certain that she’s going to thrive in this job.

Thank you, guys.

Q    How are you feeling about your bracket, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  Busted.  (Laughter.)  I think my women’s bracket is doing much better than my men’s bracket.

END
3:18 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: Ashley Judd Passes on Senate Bid in Kentucky

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Ashley Judd Passes on Senate Bid in Kentucky

Source: NYT, 3-27-13

After a high-profile flirtation with a Senate race, the actress Ashley Judd said she would not seek the 2014 Democratic nomination to run against Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: President Barack Obama to Have Dinner with Second Group of Senate Republicans

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama to Dine with Second Group of Senate Republicans

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-27-13

Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images

Look who’s coming for dinner again: Senate Republicans.

On Wednesday, April 10, President Obama will dine with a new group of 12 Republican senators.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., was tasked with organizing the second guest list for dinner, which is still being assembled, Republican aides on Capitol Hill confirm. The location of the dinner is still to be announced….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: Julia Pierson Sworn In as First Female Secret Service Director

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Julia Pierson Sworn In as First Female Secret Service Director

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-27-13

Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images

President Obama on Wednesday praised the qualifications of his pick to lead the U.S. Secret Service, as Julia Pierson was sworn in as the agency’s first female director.

“I have to say that Julia’s reputation within the service is extraordinary,” Obama told reporters. “She’s come up through the ranks, she’s done just about every job there is to do at the Secret Service.”…READ MORE

Full Text Legal Buzz March 27, 2013: Supreme Court of the United States Oral Arguments for Defense of Marriage Act Case United States v. Windsor Audio & Transcript

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

United States v. Windsor Oral Arguments

Source: SCOTUS, 3-27-13

Docket Number: 12-307

Date Argued: 03/27/13
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Background Information

No. 12-307   
Vide 12-63   
Title:    
United States, Petitioner
v.
Edith Schlain Windsor, in Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, et al.
Docketed:    September 11, 2012
Lower Ct:    United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  Case Nos.:    (12-2335, 12-2435)
  Decision Date:    October 18, 2012
    Rule 11
Questions Presented …READ MORE

~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sep 11 2012 Petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment filed. (Response due October 11, 2012)
Sep 18 2012 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including October 19, 2012, for all respondents.
Oct 10 2012 Brief of respondent Edith Schlain Windsor, in Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer in opposition filed.
Oct 18 2012 Judgment entered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Oct 19 2012 Brief of respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives in opposition filed.
Oct 26 2012 Supplemental brief of petitioner United States filed.
Oct 29 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of November 20, 2012.
Oct 29 2012 Supplemental brief of respondent Edith Schlain Windsor, in Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer filed. (Distributed)
Nov 1 2012 Supplemental brief of respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Nov 8 2012 Reply of petitioner United States filed. (Distributed)
Nov 13 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of November 30, 2012.
Dec 3 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of December 7, 2012.
Dec 7 2012 Petition for a writ of certiorari GRANTED. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: Whether the Executive Branch�s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.
Dec 11 2012 Vicki C. Jackson, Esq., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is invited to brief and argue this case, as amicus curiae, in support of the positions that the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case, and that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives lacks Article III standing in this case.
Dec 13 2012 Briefing proposal of the parties and Court-appointed amicus curiae filed.
Dec 14 2012 Upon consideration of the letter of December 13, 2012, from the Solicitor General on behalf of the litigants and the amicus curiae invited to brief and argue this case, the following briefing schedule is adopted. On the merits, the brief of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, not to exceed 15,000 words, is to be filed on or before Tuesday, January 22, 2013. The brief of the Solicitor General, not to exceed 15,000 words, is to be filed on or before Friday, February 22, 2013. The brief of Edith Windsor, not to exceed 15,000 words, is to be filed on or before Tuesday, February 26, 2013. The reply brief of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, not to exceed 6,000 words, is to be filed in accordance with Rule 25.3 of the Rules of this Court. On the jurisdictional questions, the brief of the Court-appointed amicus curiae, not to exceed 10,000 words, is to be filed on or before January 22, 2013. The briefs of the Solicitor General, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, and Edith Windsor, not to exceed 10,000 words each, are to be filed on or before Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Reply briefs of the litigants and the Court-appointed amicus curiae, not to exceed 4,000 words, are to be filed in accordance with Rule 25.3 of the Rules of this Court.
Dec 14 2012 Other amici curiae briefs shall be filed within the time allowed under Rule 37.3(a) of the Rules of this Court, except that amici curiae briefs on the merits in support of the positions of the Solicitor General and/or Edith Windsor shall be filed within 7 days after the brief of the Solicitor General on the merits is filed. The litigants, Court-appointed amicus curiae, and other amici curiae shall indicate on the cover of each brief filed which issue or issues are addressed in that particular brief in addition to the information required by Rule 37.3 of the Rules of this Court.
Jan 2 2013 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jan 7 2013 SET FOR ARGUMENT ON Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Jan 8 2013 The time to file the brief, on the jurisdictional questions, of the Court-appointed amicus curiae is extended to and including January 24, 2013.
Jan 8 2013 The time to file the briefs, on the jurisdictional questions, of the Solicitor General, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, and Edith Windsor, is extended to and including February 22, 2013.
Jan 10 2013 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for the petitioner.
Jan 22 2013 Joint appendix filed. (Distributed) (Statement of costs received.)
Jan 22 2013 Brief of respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 23 2013 CIRCULATED.
Jan 24 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Court-appointed amicus curiae (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 24 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Family Research Council (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 24 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Dr. Paul McHugh (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 24 2013 Brief amici curiae of Law Professors (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 24 2013 Brief amicus curiae of National Organization for Marriage (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 25 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Westboro Baptist Church in support of neither party (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 25 2013 Brief amici curiae of Liberty, Life and Law Foundation, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of International jurists and academics (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Manhattan Declaration (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Coalition for the Protection of Marriage (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Robert P. George, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Indiana and 16 other states (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Liberty Counsel (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Catholic Answers, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Matthew B. O’Brien (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Dovid Z. Schwartz (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of United States Senators Orrin G. Hatch, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Concerned Women for America (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Helen M. Alvare filed. (Merits) VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Foundation for Moral Law filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Social Science Professors (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of David Boyle filed. ( Merits) (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of National Association of Evangelicals (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of The Beverly LaHaye Institute, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Civil Rights Union (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 6 2013 Record from U.S.C.A. for 2nd Circuit is electronic.
Feb 13 2013 Record from U.S.D.C. for Southern District of New York is electronic.
Feb 13 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 22 2013 Brief of respondent Edith Schlain Windsor (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 22 2013 Brief of petitioner United States (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 22 2013 Brief of petitioner United States (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 22 2013 Brief of respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 26 2013 Brief of respondent Edith Schlain Windsor, in Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 26 2013 Motion for enlargement of time and divided argument filed by the parties and Court-appointed amici curiae.
Feb 26 2013 Brief amicus curiae of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LBGT Equality (Gay and Lesbian Medical Association) concerning the immutability of sexual orientation (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of 278 Employers and Organizations Representing Employers (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Utah Pride Center, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Humanist Association and American Atheists, Inc., et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Professors Nan D. Hunter, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Motion for leave to file amici brief filed by former Attorneys General Edwin Meese III and John Ashcroft in support of neither party (Jurisdiction) out of time.
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Political Science Professors filed. (Distributed).
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Constitutional Law Scholars Bruce Ackerman, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Sociological Association (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the States of California, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Family Equality Council, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Organization of American Historians, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Empire State Pride Agenda, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Jewish Committee (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Former Federal Intelligence Officer (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of OutServe-SLDN Inc. filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Cato Institute and Constitutional Accountability Center (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of National Women’s Law Center, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Family and Child Welfare Law Professors (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Anti-Defamation League, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Family Law Professors, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Gary J. Gates (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Dr. Donna E. Shalala, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Former Senior Justice Department Officials, et al. (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Former Senators Bill Bradley, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Partnership for New York City (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer, et al. (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Survivors of Sexual Orientation Change Therapies filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of 172 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 40 U.S. Senators filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Los Angeles County Bar Association, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Honorable John K. Olson (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of New York, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Scholars of the Constitutional Rights of Children (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Historians, American Historical Association, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Institute for Justice (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Honorable John K. Olson (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Constitutional Law Scholars (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Federalism Scholars (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of Hon. Lawrence J. Korb, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Bar Association (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Center for Fair Administration of Taxes (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Psychological Association, et al. (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 1 2013 Brief of Former Federal Election Commission Officials (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 4 2013 Motion for enlargement of time and divided argument GRANTED and the time is to be divided as follows: on the jurisdiction issues, the Court-appointed amicus curiae is allotted 20 minutes, the Solicitor General is allotted 15 minutes, and respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives is allotted 15 minutes. On the merits, respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives is allotted 30 minutes, the Solicitor General is allotted 15 minutes, and respondent Windsor is allotted 15 minutes.
Mar 15 2013 Motion for leave to file amici brief out of time filed by former Attorneys General Edwin Meese III and John Ashcroft GRANTED.
Mar 19 2013 Reply of respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 19 2013 Reply of respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 20 2013 Reply of Court-appointed amicus curiae (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 20 2013 Reply of respondent Edith Schlain Windsor, in Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)
Mar 20 2013 Reply of petitioner United States (Jurisdiction) filed. (Distributed)

 

Full Text Obama Presidency March 26, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Honoring the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings and MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

L.A. Kings and L.A. Galaxy Celebrate Championship Seasons at the White House

Source: WH, 3-26-13

President Obama tosses a soccer ball as he welcomes the LA Kings and the LA Galaxy to the White House, March 26, 2013President Barack Obama tosses a soccer ball as he welcomes the National Hockey League Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, left, and the Major League Soccer champion LA Galaxy to the White House to honor their 2012 championship seasons in a ceremony in the East Room, March 26, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Two of Southern California’s finest sports teams joined President Obama in the East Room to celebrate their championship seasons. The LA Galaxy was here for the second year in a row, as they repeated their dominance of the Major League Soccer in the 2012 season. The LA Kings, meanwhile, made their first visit to the White House after winning their first Stanley Cup.

And as President Obama pointed out, these teams share more than a hometown….READ MORE

Remarks by the President Honoring the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings and MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy

Source: WH, 3-26-13 

East Room

2:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Welcome to the White House.  And welcome back to the back-to-back MLS champion, the L.A. Galaxy.  (Applause.)  I was telling these guys, they’re starting to get a little comfortable around here because they just keep on coming back.

But this time they brought some company — the Stanley Cup champion, L.A. Kings.  (Applause.)

Now, it is great to have both teams here not just because they share a hometown.  I’m a little resentful coming from Chicago that L.A. seems to be getting all these championships.  But they don’t just share a hometown, they also share a pretty good comeback story.

When it comes to the Galaxy, a team with Landon Donovan on it is rarely the underdog.  But when the Galaxy was here last year, their chances of repeating as champions didn’t look all that good.  The injury bug plagued the team.  It seemed like it might be a rebuilding year.  But right after that visit, they turned things around.  And you can call it a coincidence, but I just want to point out that right after they visited with me — (laughter) — the Galaxy built the best record in the league.

In the MLS Cup Final, the Galaxy trailed at halftime, and it stayed that way until Omar Gonzalez, who is with the national team today, scored the equalizer in the 60th minute.  A few minutes after that, Landon did what he does best and scored the go-ahead goal.  And pretty soon, they were up 3-1, and then midfielder Juninho was probably dancing the samba — (laughter) — the MLS Cup belonged to L.A. for the second straight year, and that was the fourth in Galaxy history.

Now, the Kings’ story is a little bit different.  These guys were not defending champions.  In fact, before last year, L.A. had never won the Stanley Cup.  And after switching head coaches midseason — a coach, I should add, who got good training from the Chicago Blackhawks — (laughter) — squeaking into the playoffs as a number eight seed, it looked like the streak of not winning was going to continue.  No eight seed had ever won a championship in any of our professional sports.

But something happened during the playoffs — timing is everything.  And as center Jarret Stoll says, “We all came together at the right time, and we all peaked at the right time.”  With playoff MVP Jonathan Quick playing lights out in goal, these guys just kept winning game after game after game.  And eventually, the rest of the league started to take notice.

Captain Dustin Brown put it best before the final game.  He said, “I don’t know what 45 years of energy sounds like.  But if we play our game, maybe we’ll find out.”  And that night at the Staples Center, they found out.  And America found out that Southern California actually has some pretty intense hockey fans.  (Applause.)

So I’m going to be a good sport — these guys pointed out that they beat my Blackhawks last night.  I will also say that, given this season how rare it is to beat the Blackhawks, I want to congratulate them for that as well.  (Laughter.)

We also found out that both these teams are full of some pretty stand-up players and coaches.  They’re out in the community year-round.  They’re changing lives, they’re making a difference.  As Coach Arena of the Galaxy says, “The soccer is very much secondary.  If we can have an impact on the lives of young kids, we want to be a part of that.”

And that’s something we all appreciate, especially those of us who are parents.  And we are thrilled that you guys are sticking around to host a Let’s Move question-and-answer session with kids from all across the country.

So I want to give a hearty congratulations to both the Kings and the Galaxy one more time for bringing two championships to L.A. and for doing so much for your fans back in California.

And we also know that there are a couple of Galaxy players who couldn’t be here because of World Cup qualifying, so I want to wish Team USA the very best of luck as they take on Mexico tonight.  I hope both these teams have a great rest of the season.

So everybody give them a big round of applause.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)

All right, are we going to do the jerseys at the podium?  So, Landon, what do we got here?

MR. DONOVAN:  We have a ball for you, and then we’ve got a — (laughter) — and then we’ve got a jersey for you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I hope you guys caught that.  (Laughter.)  That doesn’t happen very often.

MR. DONOVAN:  And a jersey.

THE PRESIDENT:  That is a nice-looking jersey.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

So am I going to stand over here?  And what do we got here?

MR. BROWN:  Just a jersey here.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a good-looking jersey.  Forty-four — it’s a lucky number.  All right, thank you.

END
2:06 P.M. EDT

Obama Presidency March 26, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Middle East Trip to Israel & Jordan Photo Gallery

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Photo Gallery: President Obama’s Middle East Trip

Source: WH, 3-26-13

In the first foreign trip of his second term, President Obama embarked on a four-day visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

The White House Photo Office was with the President throughout his travels, and they’ve put together a collection of images from the Middle East trip, which include the President meeting with officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel, a dance performance in Ramallah, the West Bank and breathtaking shots from Petra, a World Heritage Site in Jordan. Check out the gallery below and visit our Middle East trip page for more information, including video.

The President Pauses For National Anthem
President Obama pauses during the official arrival ceremony in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President Waves To The Audience
President Obama waves at the Jerusalem Convention Center in Jerusalem. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President Visits The Hall Of Remembrance

President Obama pauses during his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The President Tours The Church Of The Nativity

President Obama tours the crypt containing the birthplace of Jesus. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Full Text Legal Buzz March 26, 2013: Supreme Court of the United States Oral Arguments for Proposition 8 Case Hollingsworth v. Perry Audio & Transcript

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Hollingsworth v. Perry Oral Arguments

Source: SCOTUS, 3-26-13

Docket Number: 12-144

Date Argued: 03/26/13
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Background Information


Title:    
Dennis Hollingsworth, et al., Petitioners
v.
Kristin M. Perry, et al.
Docketed:    August 1, 2012
Linked with 12A688
Lower Ct:    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  Case Nos.:    (10-16696, 11-16577)
  Decision Date:    February 7, 2012
  Rehearing Denied:    June 5, 2012
Questions Presented  ….READ MORE

~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jul 30 2012 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due August 31, 2012)
Aug 2 2012 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for respondents Perry, Stier, Katami, and Zarillo.
Aug 3 2012 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for petitioners Hollingsworth, Knight, Gutierrez, Jansson, and ProtectMarriage.com
Aug 10 2012 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for respondent City and County of San Francisco.
Aug 24 2012 Brief of respondents Kristin M. Perry, Sandra B. Stier, Paul T. Katami, and Jeffrey J. Zarrillo in opposition filed.
Aug 24 2012 Brief of respondent City and County of San Francisco in opposition filed.
Aug 30 2012 Brief amici curiae of Judge Georg Ress, and The Marriage Law Foundation filed.
Aug 30 2012 Brief amici curiae of William N. Eskridge, Jr., et al. filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amicus curiae of Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amici curiae of Public Advocate of the United States, et al. filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amici curiae of National Association of Evangelicals, et al. filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amicus curiae of American Civil Rights Union filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amici curiae of Judicial Watch, Inc., et al filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amicus curiae of Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, Inc. filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amicus curiae of Foundation for Moral Law filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amici curiae of Indiana, et al. filed.
Aug 31 2012 Brief amici curiae of Declaration Alliance & United States Justice Foundation filed.
Sep 4 2012 Reply of petitioners Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. filed.
Sep 5 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of September 24, 2012.
Oct 29 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of November 20, 2012.
Nov 13 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of November 30, 2012.
Dec 3 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of December 7, 2012.
Dec 7 2012 Petition GRANTED. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: Whether petitioners have standing under Article III, �2 of the Constitution in this case.
Dec 12 2012 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for the petitioners
Dec 12 2012 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for the respondent City and County of San Francisco.
Jan 7 2013 SET FOR ARGUMENT ON Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Jan 7 2013 Application (12A688) for leave to file petitioners’ brief on the merits in excess of the word limit, submitted to Justice Kennedy.
Jan 11 2013 Application (12A688) denied by Justice Kennedy.
Jan 18 2013 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for respondents Perry, Steir, Katami, and Zarillo
Jan 18 2013 Record from U.S.C.A. for 9th Circuit is electronic.
Jan 21 2013 Brief amici curiae of Coalition of African American Pastors USA, et al.( 2nd REPRINT) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 22 2013 Joint appendix filed. (2 Volumes and Supplement). (Distributed) (Statement of costs filed)
Jan 22 2013 Brief of petitioners Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 23 2013 CIRCULATED.
Jan 23 2013 Brief amici curiae of David Benkof, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 24 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Family Research Council filed. (Distributed)
Jan 24 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Dr. Paul McHugh (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 25 2013 Brief amici curiae of Scholars of History and Related Disciplines filed. (Distributed)
Jan 25 2013 Brief amici curiae of Liberty, Life and Law Foundation, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 25 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Westboro Baptist Church in support of neither party filed. (Distributed)
Jan 25 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Professor Daniel N. Robinson, Ph.D. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of International Jurists and Academics (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Thomas More Law Center and Chuck Storey, Imperial County Clerk (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of National Association of Evangelicals, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of thirty-seven scholars of federalism and judicial restraint filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of High Impact Leadership Coalition filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Concerned Women for America filed. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Lighted Candle Society filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Record from U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of California. (10 Boxes)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Coalition for the Protection of Marriage (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Foundation for Moral Law filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Citizens United’s National Committee for Family, Faith and Prayer, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Patrick Henry College filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, Inc. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Robert P. George, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Indiana, et al. filed. (Distributed).
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Judicial Watch, Inc., et al filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Liberty Counsel, Inc. and Campaign for Children filed.
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Catholic Answers, et al. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Catholics for the Common Good and the Marriage Law Project filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Pacific Legal Foundation, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of National Association of Evangelicals, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Matthew B. O’Brien (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Leon R. Kass, Harvey C. Mansfield and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Michigan filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Ethics and Public Policy Center filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Minnesota for Marriage filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Helen M. Alvare (Merits) (Distributed). filed. VIDED.
Jan 29 2013 Brief amici curiae of Social Science Professors. (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of David Boyle (Merits) filed. (Distributed)
Jan 29 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Civil Rights Union (Merits) filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 18 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Rev. Rick Yramategui, et al. filed.
Feb 21 2013 Brief of respondents Kristin M. Perry, Sandra B. Stier, Paul T. Katami, and Jeffrey J. Zarrillo filed. (Distributed)
Feb 21 2013 Brief of respondent City and County of San Francisco filed. (Distributed)
Feb 26 2013 Brief amicus curiae of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality (Gay Lesbian Medical Association) concerning the immutability of sexual orientation filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Utah Pride Center, et al. filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Humanist Association and American Atheists, Inc., et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Columbia Law School Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Hon. Judith S. Kaye (Ret.), et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Marriage Equality USA filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Beverly Hills Bar Association, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Edward D. Stein, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amicus curiae of California filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amicus curiae of National Center for Lesbian Rights filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 27 2013 Brief amici curiae of Jonathan Wallace, Meri Wallace, and Duncan Pflaster filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of International Human Rights Advocates filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Kenneth B. Mehlman, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Walter Dellinger filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Psychological Association, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Dr. Maria Nieto filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Cato Institute and Constitutional Accountability Center filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of the United States filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Motion of the Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument filed.
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Anthropological Association, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Political Science Professors filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Anti-Defamation League, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Adoptive and Child Welfare Advocates filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Gary J. Gates filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Organization of American Historians and the American Studies Association filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Equality California filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of National Organization for Women Foundation and the Feminist Majority Foundation filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Southern Poverty Law Center filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Foreign and Comparative Law Experts Harold Hongju Koh, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Massachusetts, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Survivors of Sexual Orientation Change Therapies filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of William N. Eskridge, Jr., et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of California Professors of Family Law filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Women’s Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the State of California, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of California Council of Churches, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of American Companies filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of California Teachers Association, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Constitutional Law Scholars Bruce Ackerman, et al. filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Sociological Association filed. VIDED (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Family Equality Council, et al. filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of National Women’s Law Center, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure Professors Erwin Chermerinsky and Arthur Miller filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of American Jewish Committee filed. VIDED. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amici curiae of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2013 Brief amicus curiae of Garden State Equality filed. (Distributed)
Mar 15 2013 Motion of the Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED.
Mar 19 2013 Reply of petitioners Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Mar 26 2013 Argued. For petitioners: Chalres J. Cooper, Washington, D. C. For respondents: Theodore B. Olson, Washington, D. C.; and Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General, Department of Justice, Washington, D. C. (for United States, as amicus curiae.)

Political Headlines March 26, 2013: President Barack Obama hosts White House Seder dinner on first night of Passover

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama hosts White House Seder dinner on first night of Passover

The first family planned to use a Seder plate given to First Lady Michelle Obama from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara.

Source: AP, 3-26-13

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held a Passover Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House on Monday for family, staff and friends.

Pete Souza/The White House

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held a Passover Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House on Monday for family, staff and friends.

President Barack Obama marked Monday night’s start of Passover with a private Seder at the White House.

Obama started the tradition as a presidential candidate in 2008 when he joined Jewish staffers celebrating on the campaign trail. He’s continued it every year since with a small group of aides and friends. He told Israelis during a visit last week he wanted the tradition at the White House so his daughters could experience it.

SEDER27N_2_WEB

Pete Souza/The White House

President Obama began hosting an annual Seder dinner for his Jewish staff when he was on the campaign trail in 2008….READ MORE

Obama Presidency March 25, 2013: President Barack Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Establishes Five New National Monuments

Source: WH, 3-25-13

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio

Today, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments that celebrate our nation’s rich history and natural heritage. The monuments, located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, and also help protect natural resources and supporting economic growth in local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation….READ MORE

President Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

Source: WH, 3-25-13 

National Monuments Will Generate Tourism and Economic Benefits for Local Economies, Honor African-American History, Mark Delaware’s first National Park Site

President Obama today signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, using his authority under the Antiquities Act, which celebrate our nation’s rich history and natural heritage. The monuments, located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans. The designations were made with bi-partisan support from congressional, state and local officials, local businesses and other stakeholders and are expected to promote economic growth in the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation.
“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” said President Obama.  “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”

“From the treasured landscapes of northern New Mexico and Washington, to the historic sites in Delaware, to the sites that show our nation’s path from Civil War to civil rights, these monuments help tell the rich and complex story of our nation’s history and natural beauty,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “There’s no doubt that these monuments will serve as economic engines for the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation – supporting economic growth and creating jobs.”

According to the National Parks and Conservation Association study in 2006 each federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public. National parks are responsible for $13.3 billion dollars of local, private-sector economic activity nationwide, supporting 267,000 private-sector jobs.  Outdoor recreation alone generates $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs in the United States each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

The monuments are:

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio. The monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of Colonel. Young also served as one of the early Army superintendents of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, before the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916.  The national headquarters of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, of which Col. Young was a member, made the property available for acquisition by the federal government for the purpose of establishing the national monument commemorating Young’s life and accomplishments. The monument, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

First State National Monument in Delaware. The monument will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as Delaware’s role as the first state to ratify the Constitution.  The park is comprised of three historic areas related to Delaware’s rich history:  the Dover Green, the New Castle Court House complex (including the courthouse, Green and Sheriff’s House), and the Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley.  The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. The monument commemorates the life of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom.  The new national park, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad.  The park includes Stewart’s Canal, dug by hand by free and enslaved people between 1810 and the 1830s and where Tubman learned important outdoor skills when she worked in the nearby timbering operations with her father. Lands that are part of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, although part of the new national monument, will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others.  The monument will also partner with the State of Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center when it opens in 2015.  The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico. Located northwest of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau. The area is known for its spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities – like rafting, fishing and hiking – and serves as important habitat for many birds and wildlife. The monument is also home to a dense collection of petroglyphs and extraordinary archaeological and cultural resources dating from the Archaic Period to the more recent passage of Hispanic settlers.  The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which currently manages the more than 240,000 acres of the monument.

San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington. Home to bald eagles, orca whales, harbor seals and other rare species, the San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles.  Located in Washington State’s Puget Sound, the archipelago provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape. A number of historic lighthouses are located on the islands, as well as cultural resources and fossils dating back 12,000 years. The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

President Obama has previously designated four monuments using the Antiquities Act. These include the César E. Chávez National Monument in California, Chávez’ home and the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America since the early 1970s when Chávez was its president; Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia, a former Army post integral to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military; Fort Ord National Monument in California, a former military base that is a world-class destination for outdoor recreation; and Chimney Rock, which is located in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado and offers a spectacular landscape rich in history and Native American culture.

First exercised by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, the authority of the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents since 1906 to protect unique natural and historic features in America, such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients.

The designation of the monuments builds on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which fosters a 21st century approach to conservation that responds to the priorities of the American people.

Full Text Legal Buzz March 25, 2013: Filings & Briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States’s Defense of Marriage Act & California’s Proposition 8 Cases

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Filings in the Defense of Marriage Act  and California’s Proposition 8 cases

Source: SCOTUS

Listed below are live links to the orders, case filings, and other information pertaining to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 cases.  Click on each item to access further information.

Orders
12-7-12 Grant Order
12-11-12 Amicus Appointment Order
12-14-12 Briefing Schedule
Case Filings
12-144 Dennis Hollingsworth, et al., v. Kristin M. Perry, et al.
Petition for Writ of Certiorari
Brief in Opposition filed by Kristin M. Perry
Brief in Opposition filed by City and County of San Francisco
Reply Brief
Brief of Petitioner on the Merits
Brief of Respondents Kristin M. Perry, Sandra B. Stier, Paul T. Katami, and Jeffery J. Zarrillo
Brief of Respondent City and County of San Francisco
Reply Brief of Petitioners Dennis Hollingsworth, et al.
12-307 United States v. Edith Schlain Windsor, In Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, et al.
Petition for Writ of Certiorari
Brief in Opposition of Edith Schlain Windsor
Brief in Opposition of Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group
Supplemental Brief of United States
Supplemental Brief of Edith Schlain Windsor
Supplemental Brief of Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group
Reply Brief
Brief on the Merits for Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the
United States House of Representatives
Brief for Court Appointed Amicus Curiae Addressing Jurisdiction
Brief of Respondent Edith Windsor (Jurisdiction)
Brief of Petitioner United States (Jurisdiction)
Brief of Petitioner United States (Merits)
Brief of Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Jurisdiction)
Brief of Respondent Edith Windsor (Merits)
Reply Brief of Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Jurisdiction)
Reply Brief of Respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (Merits)
Reply Brief of Court appointed amicus curiae (Jurisdiction)
Reply of Respondent Edith Windsor (Jurisdiction)
Reply Brief of Petitioner United States (Jurisdiction)

Full Text Obama Presidency March 25, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members and Civilians Pushes Congress to Move on Immigration Reform Bill

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama to new citizens: “In each of you, we see the true spirit of America”

Source: WH, 3-25-13

Watch this video on YouTube

Today, President Obama spoke at a at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House. He welcomed 28 new American citizens to our nation of immigrants and called for reforms to our immigration system that will help harness the talent and ingenuity of all those like them who want to work hard and find a place here in America….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members and Civilians

President Obama Speaks at a Naturalization Ceremony

President Obama Speaks at a Naturalization Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-25-13

East Room

11:36 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, good morning, everybody.  Secretary Napolitano, thank you for administering the oath and making it official.  Director Mayorkas, distinguished guests, family and friends, it is a great pleasure to have you here at the White House.  And it is an honor to be among the first to greet some of my fellow citizens of the United States.

Today, here in the people’s house — a house designed by an Irish immigrant — we welcome 28 men and women, immigrants themselves, who from this day forward have earned the precious right to call this country home.

And I know this is an incredibly special moment for you and your families, but I have to say, it’s a special moment for the rest of us as well.  Because as we look out across this room, we’re reminded that what makes somebody American isn’t just their bloodlines, it’s not just an accident of birth.  It’s a fidelity to our founding principles, a faith in the idea that anyone, anywhere, can write the next great chapter in this American story.

That’s the promise of America.  And today we know it’s alive and well in each and every one of you.

At first glance, of course, it would be easy to define this group by their differences.  They all hail from different corners of the world — from Nigeria to Nicaragua, from the Philippines to Peru.  They arrived here in different ways.  Some of you came here as children, carried by parents who wished for them a life that they had never had.  Others came as adults, leaving behind everything you knew to seek a new life.  But what binds you together — what binds us all together — is something more meaningful than anything of that.  A love for this country and all that it represents — that’s what unites each and every one of you.

For Nikita Kirichenko — there’s Nikita right here — that love runs so deep it led him to enlist in our military.  Nikita came here at the age of 11 from Ukraine.  His mother saw America as the one place on Earth where her son could do anything he wanted.  And a few years ago, Nikita decided that he wanted to join the Air Force so that, in his words, “I could give back to a country that took me in and gave me a better life.”  Thank you, Nikita.  Today, we proudly salute him not just as a member of our military but also as a citizen of our country.

Today, we salute Elrina Brits.  Where did Elrina go?  There she is.  Elrina was born in South Africa, came here as a child, grew up in Washington State.  When Elrina decided to join the Navy, somebody told her that she wouldn’t be able to cut it.  But even though she wasn’t yet American on paper, she had that American quality of being defiant when somebody says you can’t do something.  (Laughter.)  So she proved them wrong.  She deployed twice to the Middle East, once to Haiti, showcasing another quintessentially American impulse, and that’s helping others in need.  And as a new citizen, Elrina hopes to serve her country in a new way -– as a police officer.  So, congratulations, Elrina.

Elrina, Nikita, every member of the military with us have shown incredible patriotism; a willingness to risk their lives in defense of a nation that was not yet their own.  And that’s a remarkable act.  And it made each of them one of us.  It made each of them in some ways American even before it was official.  Because that kind of service and sacrifice has defined our nation for more than two centuries.

In America, we look out for one another.  We see citizenship not just as a collection of rights but also as a set of responsibilities.  That’s who we are.  And that’s what brought so many to our shores, including Kingsley Elebo.  Kingsley came here at the age of 35 from Nigeria, pursued his master’s in information technology.  He’s now pursuing his doctorate.  He wants to become a professor so he can help America lead the world in high-tech industries of tomorrow.  And what Kingsley said is, “What makes this country great is that if you’re a citizen you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”  And he’s right.  And we’re glad that, as of today, Kingsley is part of it, too.

We’re also glad to welcome Pertula George-Redd.  Pertula arrived in America from St. Lucia at the age of 23, leaving behind her parents and seven siblings.  She came here to study international development.  She stayed, for over a decade now, to work at non-profits that teach our kids about sustainable foods and how to live a healthier life by eating well — which I know Michelle is very happy about.  Today, she also has the gratitude of her new nation.  So, thank you so much.

We are so proud of everybody here.  In each of you, we see the true spirit of America.  And we see a bit of ourselves, too, because most of our stories trace back to moments just like this one.  To an ancestor who -– just like the men and women here today –- raised their right hand and recited that sacred oath.

And the point is that unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else.  That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants.  And we’ve always been better off for it.  The promise we see in those who come from all over the world is one of our greatest strengths.  It’s kept our workforce young.  It keeps our businesses on the cutting edge.  It’s helped to build the greatest economic engine that the world has ever known.  And you think about the drive and the determination that it took for each of these 28 men and women to reach this moment.  Imagine how far they’ll go from here, the kind of difference that they’ll be making on behalf of this country.

Immigration makes us a stronger.  It keeps us vibrant.  It keeps us hungry.  It keeps us prosperous.  It is part of what makes this such a dynamic country.  And if we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest that the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them.  We’ve known for years that our immigration system is broken, that we’re not doing enough to harness the talent and ingenuity of all those who want to work hard and find a place here in America.  And after avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all.  The time has come for a comprehensive, sensible immigration reform.

Now, a couple months ago in Nevada — and then last month again in my State of the Union Address — I talked about how Republicans and Democrats were ready to tackle this problem together.  And the good news is that since then, we’ve seen some real action in Congress.  There are bipartisan groups in both the House and the Senate working to tackle this challenge, and I applaud them for that.  We are making progress, but we’ve got to finish the job, because this issue is not new.

Everyone pretty much knows what’s broken.  Everybody knows how to fix it.  We’ve all proposed solutions and we’ve got a lot of white papers and studies.  And we’ve just got, at this point, to work up the political courage to do what’s required to be done.  So I expect a bill to be put forward.  I expect the debate to begin next month.  I want to sign that bill into law as soon as possible.

We know that real reform means continuing to strengthen our border security and holding employers accountable.  We know that real reform means providing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the shadows — a pathway that includes passing a background check and paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English and then, going to the back of the line behind everyone else who is trying to come here legally.

We know that real reform requires modernizing the legal immigration system so that our citizens don’t have to wait years before their loved ones are able to join them in America, and so that we’re attracting the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that are going to help create good paying jobs and grow our economy.

So let’s get this done, and let’s do it in a way that keeps faith with our history and our values.  And no other country on Earth welcomes as many new arrivals as us.  And as long as the promise of America endures, as long as we continue to stand tall as a beacon of hope and opportunity, then the world’s hardest workers, the hungriest entrepreneurs, the men and women who are willing to make enormous sacrifices to get a better life — not just for themselves but for their children and their grandchildren, they’re going to keep on coming.

And like the millions who came before — and like the 28 Americans who are here today — they will bring with them new hopes and new dreams, new ideas and new optimism about our future.  That will make us stronger.  That’s how we’ll make sure that our best days are ahead of us and not behind us.

So I want to thank each and every one of you for allowing me the opportunity to share in this incredible moment.  One of the best things I get to do as President of the United States is to address all of you as fellow citizens.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

And we now have one last piece of business to conclude the ceremony.  I’d like to ask one of our newest citizen, Julian de la Valle, from Colombia, to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Julian.

(The Pledge of Allegiance is recited.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Congratulations.  Congratulations to all of you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

And now, enjoy the White House, all right?  (Laughter.)  Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:47 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 25, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Passover Message

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement from the President on Passover

Source: WH, 3-25-13

As we prepare for our fifth Seder in the White House, Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world.

Tonight, Jewish families will gather with family and friends to celebrate with songs, wine, and food. They will read from the Haggadah, and retell the story that makes this holiday so powerful.

Last week, I visited the state of Israel for the third time, my first as President. I reaffirmed our countries’ unbreakable bonds with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres. I had the chance to speak directly with young Israelis about the future they wanted for their country, their region, and the world. And I saw once again how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah, lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzeinu, “To be a free people in our land.”

Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won. But even as we give thanks, we are called to look to the future. We are reminded that responsibility does not end when we reach the promised land, it only begins. As my family and I prepare to once again take part in this ancient and powerful tradition, I am hopeful that we can draw upon the best in ourselves to find the promise in the days that lie ahead, meet the challenges that will come, and continuing the hard work of repairing the world. Chag sameach.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a Passover Seder Dinner for family, staff and friends, in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, March 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Political Headlines March 22, 2013: President Barack Obama Ends Israel Trip with Nods to Christianity, Judaism

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Ends Israel Trip with Nods to Christianity, Judaism

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-22-13

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Concluding his three-day trip to Israel, President Obama got an unplanned look at the political realities plaguing the peace process during a visit to Bethlehem Friday afternoon.

The president was supposed to fly by helicopter to Bethlehem but a windstorm forced him to travel by motorcade instead.  The change in plans was cheered by Palestinians because the president drove past the large concrete wall erected by the Israelis, giving Obama a direct look at the hostilities facing the region on a daily basis….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 22, 2013: President Barack Obama Tours Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Tours Holocaust Memorial in Israel

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-22-13

Pool photo/Peter Maer/CBS News

On his third day in the Middle East, President Obama toured Vad Yashem, Israel’s memorial for Jews killed in the Holocaust during World War II.

“You could come here a thousand times and each time our hearts would break for here we see the depravity to which man could sink,” Obama said on Friday….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Hall of Children, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem Transcript

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at the Hall of Children, Yad Vashem

Source: WH, 3-22-13 

Yad Vashem
Jerusalem

10:22 A.M. IST

THE PRESIDENT:  “Unto them I will give my house and within my walls a memorial and a name…an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Chairman Shalev, Rabbi Lau — thank you for sharing this house, this memorial, with me today.  And thank you to the people of Israel for preserving the names of the millions taken from us, of blessed memory — names that shall never be forgotten.

This is my second visit to this living memorial.  Since then, I’ve walked among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald.  Rabbi Lau told me of his time there, and we reminisced about our good friend, Elie Wiesel, and the memories that he shared with me.  I have stood in the old Warsaw ghetto, with survivors who would not go quietly.  But nothing equals the wrenching power of this sacred place, where the totality of the Shoah is told.  We could come here a thousand times, and each time our hearts would break.

For here we see the depravity to which man can sink; the barbarism that unfolds when we begin to see our fellow human beings as somehow less than us, less worthy of dignity and of life.  We see how evil can, for a moment in time, triumph when good people do nothing, and how silence abetted a crime unique in human history.

Here we see their faces and we hear their voices.  We look upon the objects of their lives — the art that they created, the prayer books that they carried.  We see that even as they had hate etched into their arms, they were not numbers.  They were men and women and children — so many children — sent to their deaths because of who they were, how they prayed, or who they loved.

And yet, here, alongside man’s capacity for evil, we also are reminded of man’s capacity for good — the rescuers, the Righteous Among the Nations who refused to be bystanders.  And in their noble acts of courage, we see how this place, this accounting of horror, is, in the end, a source of hope.

For here we learn that we are never powerless.  In our lives we always have choices.  To succumb to our worst instincts or to summon the better angels of our nature.  To be indifferent to suffering to wherever it may be, whoever it may be visited upon, or to display the empathy that is at the core of our humanity.  We have the choice to acquiesce to evil or make real our solemn vow — “never again.”  We have the choice to ignore what happens to others, or to act on behalf of others and to continually examine in ourselves whatever dark places there may be that might lead to such actions or inactions.  This is our obligation — not simply to bear witness, but to act.

For us, in our time, this means confronting bigotry and hatred in all of its forms, racism, especially anti-Semitism.  None of that has a place in the civilized world — not in the classrooms of children; not in the corridors of power.  And let us never forget the link between the two.  For our sons and daughters are not born to hate, they are taught to hate.  So let us fill their young hearts with the same understanding and compassion that we hope others have for them.

Here we hope.  Because after you walk through these halls, after you pass through the darkness, there is light — a glorious view of the Jerusalem Forest, with the sun shining over the historic homeland of the Jewish people; a fulfillment of the prophecy: “you shall live again…upon your own soil.”  Here, on your ancient land, let it be said for all the world to hear:  The State of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust.  But with the survival of a strong Jewish State of Israel, such a Holocaust will never happen again.

Here we pray that we all can be better; that we can all grow, like the sapling near the Children’s Memorial — a sapling from a chestnut tree that Anne Frank could see from her window.  The last time she described it in her diary, she wrote: “Our chestnut tree is in full bloom.  It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.”  That’s a reminder of who we can be.  But we have to work for it.  We have to work for it here in Israel.  We have to work for it in America.  We have to work for it around the world — to tend the light and the brightness as opposed to our worst instincts.

So may God bless the memory of the millions.  May their souls be bound up in the bond of eternal life.  And may each spring bring a full bloom even more beautiful than the last.

END
10:29 A.M. IST

Political Headlines March 21, 2013: President Barack Obama Stands Firm on Mideast Two-State Solution in Israel Speech

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Stands Firm on Mideast Two-State Solution

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-21-13

Yin Dongxun-Pool/Getty Images

Speaking before a young Israeli audience in Jerusalem, President Obama Thursday delivered an impassioned plea for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peaceful two-state solution while he affirmed the “unbreakable bonds of friendship” between the United States and Israel.

“The only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine,” President Obama said at the Jerusalem Convention Center. “Peace is necessary, but peace is also just.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 21, 2013: President Barack Obama & President Shimon Peres of Israel’s Speeches at State Dinner

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President and President Peres of Israel at State Dinner

Source: WH, 3-21-13

President’s Residence
Jerusalem

8:15 P.M. IST

PRESIDENT PERES:  I think that’s the President’s remarks.  Mr. President, can I read your speech?  (Laughter.)  They are mistaken.  (Laughter.)

President Barack Obama, my dear friend, let me say first, Bravo.  Bravo, President.  (Applause.)

It is my great pleasure to welcome you tonight.  I was moved the way in which you spoke to the heart of our young Israelis.  Our youngsters, in time of need, are always willing to stand up and defend their country.  Today, you have seen how much the same young people long for peace.  How enthusiastic they were, how engaged they were, listening to the vision of peace, which you beautifully delivered and moved the heart.

Mr. President, this morning several rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip towards civilian targets in Israel, including Sderot that you have visited.  From here, in the name of all us, I want to convey our love to the inhabitants of the south around Gaza who carry this heavy burden courageously and continue to plow their land, plant their trees, raise their children.  It is an inspiration to each of us.  Today, the enemies of peace spoke in the only language they know — the language of terror.  I am convinced that together we shall defeat them.

Dear Barack, your visit here is a historic event.  We are so happy to receive you and your distinguished delegation.  I am very glad to see Secretary John Kerry — an old friend.  John, I know you are and I know you will be successful.  I’m not sure that the prophets have had speechwriters — (laughter) — but if they had, I imagine Isaiah would have said — but actually he has said on that occasion — and I’m quoting him, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation.” Well, you have to be satisfied with my language — I cannot speak like him.  (Laughter.)

It is my privilege to present you with our country’s highest honor — the Medal of Distinction.  This award speaks to you, to your tireless work to make Israel strong, to make peace possible. Your presidency has given the closest ties between Israel and the United States a new height, a sense of intimacy, a vision for the future.

The people of Israel are particularly moved by your unforgettable contribution to their security.  You are defending our skies — to you, revelation in the name of intelligence, which is the right way to preempt bloodshed.  The diplomatic and the military bonds between us have reached an unprecedented level.

When I visited you in Washington, I thought in my heart, America is so great and we are so small.  I learned that you don’t measure us by size, but by values.  Thank you.  When it comes to values, we are you, and you are us.  On occasions when we were alone you stood with us, so we were not alone.  We were alone together.  We shall never forget it.

During your previous visit to Israel, you asked me if I had any advice to offer.  Well, it’s not my nature to let questions go unanswered.  (Laughter.)  So just that while people say that the future belongs to the young, it is the present that really belongs to the young.  Leave the future to me.  I have time.  (Laughter and applause.)

I think I was right, because the moment you came into office, you immediately had to face daunting and demanding challenges day in, day out.  I prayed that you would meet them with wisdom and determination, without losing hope, without allowing others to lose hope.  The prayers were answered — after all, they came from Jerusalem and they came to us as a great message.  It is a tribute to your leadership, to the strength of your character, to your principles, that you have never surrendered to hopelessness.  You stood and stand firmly by your vision.  Your values serve your nation.  They serve our nation as well.

So I know that you will never stop to strive for a better world, as you said today in a good Hebrew — tikkun olam.  We have a rich heritage and a great dream.  As I look back, I feel that the Israel of today has exceeded the vision we had 65 years ago.  Reality has surpassed the dreams.  The United States of America helped us to make this possible.

Still the path to tomorrow may be fraught with obstacles.  I believe that we can overcome them by our determination and by your commitment.  I’m convinced that you will do whatever is necessary to free the world’s horizons and the skies of Jerusalem from the Iranian threat.  Iran denies the Shoah and calls for a new one.  Iran is building a nuclear bomb and denies it.  The Iranian regime is the greatest danger to world peace.  History has shown time and again that peace, prosperity and stable civil society cannot flourish when threats and belligerency abound.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the Iranian people are celebrating their New Year.  I wish them from the depths of my heart a happy holiday and a real freedom.

Israel will seize any opportunity for peace.  Being small, we have to maintain our qualitative edge.  I know that you responded and will respond to it.  The strength of Israel is its defense forces.  They afford us the ability to seek peace.  And what America has contributed to Israel’s security is the best guarantee to end the march of folly, the march of terror and bloodshed.

We watch with admiration the way you lead the United States of America, the way you have stayed true time and again to your bonds of friendship with us.  Your commitment and deeds speaks volumes about the principles that guides America.  To strive for freedom and democracy at home, but also all over the world, you send the boys to fight for the freedom of others.  What is uplifting is that the United States brought freedom not only to its own people, but never stops, and never will stop, to help other people to become free.

You represent democracy at its best.  You have deepened its meaning — namely that democracy is not just the right to be equal, but the equal right to be different.  Democracy is not just a free expression, but is self-expression as well.

You exemplify the spirit of democracy by striving for justice and equality and opportunity in the American society.  As the world has now become global and yet remains individual, and you offer those principles.  You have shown global responsibility and individual sensitivity.

On Monday night, Mr. President, we shall celebrate Passover, the Festival of Freedom, the Celebration of Spring.  The Celebration of Spring means our journey from the house of slaves to the home of the free that started more than 3,000 years ago. We remember it every year.  We are commended to feel as though each of us personally participated in that journey.  We shall not forget where we came from.  We shall remember always where we are headed, too, which is to make the Promised Land a land of promise, a land of freedom, justice and equality.

While reality calls for vigilance, Passover calls to remain believers.  Israel is an island in a stormy sea.  We have to make our island safe and we wish that the sea will become tranquil.  We converted our desert into a garden.  It was achieved by the talents of our people and the potential of science.  What we have done, Mr. President, can be done all over the Middle East, as you have rightly said tonight.  Israel is described as a start-up nation.  The Middle East can become a start-up region.

Dear President, you noted in your address today that peace is the greatest hope for the human being.  I share your vision.  Your call to reopen the peace process may pave the way for the implementation of the two-state solution agreed by all of us — as you said, a Jewish state, Israel; an Arab state, Palestine.

If I’m not wrong, next to you sits our Prime Minister who was just reelected.  He opened his address in the Knesset by reiterating his commitment to the two-state solution.  Dear friends, I have seen in my life I earned the right to believe that peace is attainable.  As you felt today, I know, this is the deep conviction of our people.  With our resolve and your support, Barack Obama, we shall win and it will happen.

Mr. President, I am privileged to bestow upon you the Medal of Distinction.  It was recommended by a committee of seven prominent Israeli citizens, headed by our former Chief of Justice Meir Shamgar, and includes our former President Yitzhak Navon.  It was my view and I was glad to accept their recommendation.  You inspired the world with your leadership.  Toda raba, Mr. President.  Toda from a grateful nation to a very great leader.

God bless America.  God bless Israel.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  President Peres; Prime Minister Netanyahu and First Lady Sara; distinguished guests and friends.  This is a extraordinary honor for me and I could not be more deeply moved. And I have to say, after the incredible welcome I’ve received over the past two days and the warmth of the Israeli people, the tribute from President Peres, the honor of this medal — I mean, as you say, dayenu.  ((Applause.)

Now, I’m told that the Talmud teaches that you shouldn’t pronounce all the praises of a person in their presence.  And, Mr. President, if I praised all the chapters of your remarkable life, then we would be here all night.  (Laughter.)  So let me simply say this about our gracious host.

Mr. President, the State of Israel has been the cause of your life — through bitter wars and fragile peace, through hardship and prosperity.  You’ve built her.  You’ve cared for her.  You’ve strengthened her.  You’ve nurtured the next generation who will inherit her.

Ben Gurion.  Meir.  Begin.  Rabin.  These giants have left us.  Only you are with us still — a founding father in our midst.  And we are so grateful for your vision, your friendship, but most of all, for your example, including the example of your extraordinary vitality.  Every time I see your President I ask him who his doctor is.  (Laughter.)  We all want to know the secret.

So, with gratitude for your life and your service, and as you prepare to celebrate your 90th birthday this summer — and since I’m starting to get pretty good at Hebrew — (laughter) — let me propose a toast — even though you’ve taken away my wine
— (laughter.)  Come on.  Bring another.

How are you?

SERVER:  Here you are, sir.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  A toast — ad me’ah ve’esrim.  L’chaim! (Applause.)  Mmm, that’s good wine.  (Laughter.)  Actually, we should probably get this out of the photograph.  All these people will say I’m having too much fun in Israel.  (Laughter.)

Just a few more words, Mr. President.  You mentioned that this medal is presented in recognition of progress toward the ideals of equality and opportunity and justice.  But I am mindful that I stand here tonight because of so many others, including the example and the sacrifices of the Jewish people.

In a few days, as we do at every Seder, we’ll break and hide a piece of matzoh.  It’s a great way to entertain the kids.  Malia and Sasha, even though they are getting older, they still enjoy it — and there are a lot of good places to hide it in the White House.  (Laughter.)  But on a much deeper level, it speaks to the scope of our human experience — how parts of our lives can be broken while other parts can be elusive; how we can never give up searching for the things that make us whole.  And few know this better than the Jewish people.

After slavery and decades in the wilderness and with Moses gone, the future of the Israelites was in doubt.  But with Joshua as their guide, they pushed on to victory.  After the First Temple was destroyed, it seemed Jerusalem was lost.  But with courage and resolve, the Second Temple reestablished the Jewish presence.  After centuries of persecution and pogroms, the Shoah aimed to eliminate the entire Jewish people.  But the gates of the camps flew open, and there emerged the ultimate rebuke to hate and to ignorance — survivors would live and love again.

When the moment of Israel’s independence was met by aggression on all sides, it was unclear whether this nation would survive.  But with heroism and sacrifice, the State of Israel not only endured, but thrived.  And during six days in June and Yom Kippur one October, it seemed as though all you had built might be lost.  But when the guns fell silent it was clear — “the nation of Israel lives.”

As I said in my speech earlier today, this story — from slavery to salvation, of overcoming even the most overwhelming odds — is a message that’s inspired the world.  And that includes Jewish Americans but also African Americans, who have so often had to deal with their own challenges, but with whom you have stood shoulder to shoulder.

African Americans and Jewish Americans marched together at Selma and Montgomery, with rabbis carrying the Torah as they walked.  They boarded buses for freedom rides together.  They bled together.  They gave their lives together — Jewish Americans like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner alongside  African American, James Chaney.

Because of their sacrifice, because of the struggle of generations in both our countries, we can come together tonight, in freedom and in security.  So if I can paraphrase the Psalm — they turned our mourning into dancing; they changed our sack cloths into robes of joy.

And this evening, I’d like to close with the words of two leaders who brought us some of this joy.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in Poland and lost his mother and sisters to the Nazis.  He came to America.  He raised his voice for social justice.  He marched with Martin Luther King.  And he spoke of the State of Israel in words that could well describe the struggle for equality in America.  “Our very existence is a witness that man must live toward redemption,” he said, and “that history is not always made by man alone.”

Rabbi Joachim Prinz was born in Germany, expelled by the Nazis and found refuge in America, and he built support for the new State of Israel.  And on that August day in 1963, he joined Dr. King at the March on Washington.  And this is what Rabbi Prinz said to the crowd:

“In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor.  Neighbor is not a geographic concept.  It is a moral concept.  It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity.”

President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, friends — our very existence, our presence here tonight, is a testament that all things are possible, even those things that, in moments of darkness and doubt, may seem elusive.  The stories of our peoples teach us to never stop searching for the things — the justice and the peace — that make us whole.  And so we go forward together, with confidence, we’ll know that while our countries may be separated by a great ocean, in the realm of the spirit we will always be neighbors and friends.

I very humbly accept this award, understanding that I’m accepting it on behalf of the American people, who are joined together with you.

May God bless you and may He watch over our two great nations.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
8:44 P.M. IST

Full Text Obama Presidency March 21, 2013: President Barack Obama & Israel President Shimon Peres’s Speeches at State Dinner

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President and President Peres of Israel at State Dinner

Source: WH, 3-21-13

President’s Residence
Jerusalem

8:15 P.M. IST

PRESIDENT PERES:  I think that’s the President’s remarks.  Mr. President, can I read your speech?  (Laughter.)  They are mistaken.  (Laughter.)

President Barack Obama, my dear friend, let me say first, Bravo.  Bravo, President.  (Applause.)

It is my great pleasure to welcome you tonight.  I was moved the way in which you spoke to the heart of our young Israelis.  Our youngsters, in time of need, are always willing to stand up and defend their country.  Today, you have seen how much the same young people long for peace.  How enthusiastic they were, how engaged they were, listening to the vision of peace, which you beautifully delivered and moved the heart.

Mr. President, this morning several rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip towards civilian targets in Israel, including Sderot that you have visited.  From here, in the name of all us, I want to convey our love to the inhabitants of the south around Gaza who carry this heavy burden courageously and continue to plow their land, plant their trees, raise their children.  It is an inspiration to each of us.  Today, the enemies of peace spoke in the only language they know — the language of terror.  I am convinced that together we shall defeat them.

Dear Barack, your visit here is a historic event.  We are so happy to receive you and your distinguished delegation.  I am very glad to see Secretary John Kerry — an old friend.  John, I know you are and I know you will be successful.  I’m not sure that the prophets have had speechwriters — (laughter) — but if they had, I imagine Isaiah would have said — but actually he has said on that occasion — and I’m quoting him, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation.” Well, you have to be satisfied with my language — I cannot speak like him.  (Laughter.)

It is my privilege to present you with our country’s highest honor — the Medal of Distinction.  This award speaks to you, to your tireless work to make Israel strong, to make peace possible. Your presidency has given the closest ties between Israel and the United States a new height, a sense of intimacy, a vision for the future.

The people of Israel are particularly moved by your unforgettable contribution to their security.  You are defending our skies — to you, revelation in the name of intelligence, which is the right way to preempt bloodshed.  The diplomatic and the military bonds between us have reached an unprecedented level.

When I visited you in Washington, I thought in my heart, America is so great and we are so small.  I learned that you don’t measure us by size, but by values.  Thank you.  When it comes to values, we are you, and you are us.  On occasions when we were alone you stood with us, so we were not alone.  We were alone together.  We shall never forget it.

During your previous visit to Israel, you asked me if I had any advice to offer.  Well, it’s not my nature to let questions go unanswered.  (Laughter.)  So just that while people say that the future belongs to the young, it is the present that really belongs to the young.  Leave the future to me.  I have time.  (Laughter and applause.)

I think I was right, because the moment you came into office, you immediately had to face daunting and demanding challenges day in, day out.  I prayed that you would meet them with wisdom and determination, without losing hope, without allowing others to lose hope.  The prayers were answered — after all, they came from Jerusalem and they came to us as a great message.  It is a tribute to your leadership, to the strength of your character, to your principles, that you have never surrendered to hopelessness.  You stood and stand firmly by your vision.  Your values serve your nation.  They serve our nation as well.

So I know that you will never stop to strive for a better world, as you said today in a good Hebrew — tikkun olam.  We have a rich heritage and a great dream.  As I look back, I feel that the Israel of today has exceeded the vision we had 65 years ago.  Reality has surpassed the dreams.  The United States of America helped us to make this possible.

Still the path to tomorrow may be fraught with obstacles.  I believe that we can overcome them by our determination and by your commitment.  I’m convinced that you will do whatever is necessary to free the world’s horizons and the skies of Jerusalem from the Iranian threat.  Iran denies the Shoah and calls for a new one.  Iran is building a nuclear bomb and denies it.  The Iranian regime is the greatest danger to world peace.  History has shown time and again that peace, prosperity and stable civil society cannot flourish when threats and belligerency abound.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the Iranian people are celebrating their New Year.  I wish them from the depths of my heart a happy holiday and a real freedom.

Israel will seize any opportunity for peace.  Being small, we have to maintain our qualitative edge.  I know that you responded and will respond to it.  The strength of Israel is its defense forces.  They afford us the ability to seek peace.  And what America has contributed to Israel’s security is the best guarantee to end the march of folly, the march of terror and bloodshed.

We watch with admiration the way you lead the United States of America, the way you have stayed true time and again to your bonds of friendship with us.  Your commitment and deeds speaks volumes about the principles that guides America.  To strive for freedom and democracy at home, but also all over the world, you send the boys to fight for the freedom of others.  What is uplifting is that the United States brought freedom not only to its own people, but never stops, and never will stop, to help other people to become free.

You represent democracy at its best.  You have deepened its meaning — namely that democracy is not just the right to be equal, but the equal right to be different.  Democracy is not just a free expression, but is self-expression as well.

You exemplify the spirit of democracy by striving for justice and equality and opportunity in the American society.  As the world has now become global and yet remains individual, and you offer those principles.  You have shown global responsibility and individual sensitivity.

On Monday night, Mr. President, we shall celebrate Passover, the Festival of Freedom, the Celebration of Spring.  The Celebration of Spring means our journey from the house of slaves to the home of the free that started more than 3,000 years ago. We remember it every year.  We are commended to feel as though each of us personally participated in that journey.  We shall not forget where we came from.  We shall remember always where we are headed, too, which is to make the Promised Land a land of promise, a land of freedom, justice and equality.

While reality calls for vigilance, Passover calls to remain believers.  Israel is an island in a stormy sea.  We have to make our island safe and we wish that the sea will become tranquil.  We converted our desert into a garden.  It was achieved by the talents of our people and the potential of science.  What we have done, Mr. President, can be done all over the Middle East, as you have rightly said tonight.  Israel is described as a start-up nation.  The Middle East can become a start-up region.

Dear President, you noted in your address today that peace is the greatest hope for the human being.  I share your vision.  Your call to reopen the peace process may pave the way for the implementation of the two-state solution agreed by all of us — as you said, a Jewish state, Israel; an Arab state, Palestine.

If I’m not wrong, next to you sits our Prime Minister who was just reelected.  He opened his address in the Knesset by reiterating his commitment to the two-state solution.  Dear friends, I have seen in my life I earned the right to believe that peace is attainable.  As you felt today, I know, this is the deep conviction of our people.  With our resolve and your support, Barack Obama, we shall win and it will happen.

Mr. President, I am privileged to bestow upon you the Medal of Distinction.  It was recommended by a committee of seven prominent Israeli citizens, headed by our former Chief of Justice Meir Shamgar, and includes our former President Yitzhak Navon.  It was my view and I was glad to accept their recommendation.  You inspired the world with your leadership.  Toda raba, Mr. President.  Toda from a grateful nation to a very great leader.

God bless America.  God bless Israel.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  President Peres; Prime Minister Netanyahu and First Lady Sara; distinguished guests and friends.  This is a extraordinary honor for me and I could not be more deeply moved. And I have to say, after the incredible welcome I’ve received over the past two days and the warmth of the Israeli people, the tribute from President Peres, the honor of this medal — I mean, as you say, dayenu.  ((Applause.)

Now, I’m told that the Talmud teaches that you shouldn’t pronounce all the praises of a person in their presence.  And, Mr. President, if I praised all the chapters of your remarkable life, then we would be here all night.  (Laughter.)  So let me simply say this about our gracious host.

Mr. President, the State of Israel has been the cause of your life — through bitter wars and fragile peace, through hardship and prosperity.  You’ve built her.  You’ve cared for her.  You’ve strengthened her.  You’ve nurtured the next generation who will inherit her.

Ben Gurion.  Meir.  Begin.  Rabin.  These giants have left us.  Only you are with us still — a founding father in our midst.  And we are so grateful for your vision, your friendship, but most of all, for your example, including the example of your extraordinary vitality.  Every time I see your President I ask him who his doctor is.  (Laughter.)  We all want to know the secret.

So, with gratitude for your life and your service, and as you prepare to celebrate your 90th birthday this summer — and since I’m starting to get pretty good at Hebrew — (laughter) — let me propose a toast — even though you’ve taken away my wine
— (laughter.)  Come on.  Bring another.

How are you?

SERVER:  Here you are, sir.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  A toast — ad me’ah ve’esrim.  L’chaim! (Applause.)  Mmm, that’s good wine.  (Laughter.)  Actually, we should probably get this out of the photograph.  All these people will say I’m having too much fun in Israel.  (Laughter.)

Just a few more words, Mr. President.  You mentioned that this medal is presented in recognition of progress toward the ideals of equality and opportunity and justice.  But I am mindful that I stand here tonight because of so many others, including the example and the sacrifices of the Jewish people.

In a few days, as we do at every Seder, we’ll break and hide a piece of matzoh.  It’s a great way to entertain the kids.  Malia and Sasha, even though they are getting older, they still enjoy it — and there are a lot of good places to hide it in the White House.  (Laughter.)  But on a much deeper level, it speaks to the scope of our human experience — how parts of our lives can be broken while other parts can be elusive; how we can never give up searching for the things that make us whole.  And few know this better than the Jewish people.

After slavery and decades in the wilderness and with Moses gone, the future of the Israelites was in doubt.  But with Joshua as their guide, they pushed on to victory.  After the First Temple was destroyed, it seemed Jerusalem was lost.  But with courage and resolve, the Second Temple reestablished the Jewish presence.  After centuries of persecution and pogroms, the Shoah aimed to eliminate the entire Jewish people.  But the gates of the camps flew open, and there emerged the ultimate rebuke to hate and to ignorance — survivors would live and love again.

When the moment of Israel’s independence was met by aggression on all sides, it was unclear whether this nation would survive.  But with heroism and sacrifice, the State of Israel not only endured, but thrived.  And during six days in June and Yom Kippur one October, it seemed as though all you had built might be lost.  But when the guns fell silent it was clear — “the nation of Israel lives.”

As I said in my speech earlier today, this story — from slavery to salvation, of overcoming even the most overwhelming odds — is a message that’s inspired the world.  And that includes Jewish Americans but also African Americans, who have so often had to deal with their own challenges, but with whom you have stood shoulder to shoulder.

African Americans and Jewish Americans marched together at Selma and Montgomery, with rabbis carrying the Torah as they walked.  They boarded buses for freedom rides together.  They bled together.  They gave their lives together — Jewish Americans like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner alongside  African American, James Chaney.

Because of their sacrifice, because of the struggle of generations in both our countries, we can come together tonight, in freedom and in security.  So if I can paraphrase the Psalm — they turned our mourning into dancing; they changed our sack cloths into robes of joy.

And this evening, I’d like to close with the words of two leaders who brought us some of this joy.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in Poland and lost his mother and sisters to the Nazis.  He came to America.  He raised his voice for social justice.  He marched with Martin Luther King.  And he spoke of the State of Israel in words that could well describe the struggle for equality in America.  “Our very existence is a witness that man must live toward redemption,” he said, and “that history is not always made by man alone.”

Rabbi Joachim Prinz was born in Germany, expelled by the Nazis and found refuge in America, and he built support for the new State of Israel.  And on that August day in 1963, he joined Dr. King at the March on Washington.  And this is what Rabbi Prinz said to the crowd:

“In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor.  Neighbor is not a geographic concept.  It is a moral concept.  It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity.”

President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, friends — our very existence, our presence here tonight, is a testament that all things are possible, even those things that, in moments of darkness and doubt, may seem elusive.  The stories of our peoples teach us to never stop searching for the things — the justice and the peace — that make us whole.  And so we go forward together, with confidence, we’ll know that while our countries may be separated by a great ocean, in the realm of the spirit we will always be neighbors and friends.

I very humbly accept this award, understanding that I’m accepting it on behalf of the American people, who are joined together with you.

May God bless you and may He watch over our two great nations.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
8:44 P.M. IST

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