Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Recess!

June 29, 2009

USA/There’s a real school’s-out feeling around Washington today. Congress left town last week after the House voted for bill to curb climate change, and most lawmakers won’t be back until after the July 4 holiday weekend. The Supreme Court issues its last rulings of the term, with a full sheaf of decisions expected — but then the justices will be gone for the summer.

President Barack Obama’s hosting Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at the White House, with a joint appearance in the afternoon. In addition to a full plate of U.S.-Colombian issues, the two leaders could address last weekend’s military coup in Honduras. Obama has already called for peaceful resolution of “tensions and disputes” but he may have more to say.

Later in the day, Obama celebrates the accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans at a White House reception. This community has criticized the president for what they see as foot-dragging on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and says states need not recognize gay marriages performed in another state — and the U.S. military’s Don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy.

On Capitol Hill, even though most members of Congress are back home, there’s one decision most will be interested in — a possible ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court on just who has won a hotly contested Senate seat: Republican Norm Coleman or Democrat Al Franken. If Franken is declared the winner, it would give Democrats a 60-vote majority, which means Republicans can’t delay legislation with a jaw-fest called a filibuster.

Outside Washington, questions still swirl around the death of Michael Jackson, with lawyers, doctors, relatives and others opining on morning television about the circumstances of the pop star’s demise, and the fate of his three children.

There was plenty of attention focused on an expected day of reckoning set for a New York City courtroom, too: the sentencing of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. Legal experts suggest he’ll get a virtual life term.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young. A cyclist rides past magnolias in bloom on Capitol Hill, March 3, 2009

Comments
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Actually, while it is possible that the Minnesota Supreme Court can rule that Franken won, they CANNOT rule that Norm Coleman won. The best that Coleman can hope for is that the Supreme Court will send it back to have additional votes counted. Even then, he probably would only have a 50-50 chance of prevailing.

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