TPM News

In a major setback for opponents of same-sex marriage, the law firm of King and Spalding is withdrawing from its agreement the House Republican leadership to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

The motion to withdraw was filed in federal court on Monday by Richard A. Cirillo on behalf of King and Spalding, as first noted by the Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel. Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who headed up King & Spalding's appellate practice, had been set to defend DOMA on behalf of House Republican leadership after the Justice Department said it would not defend the 1996 law because it determined provisions of the law were unconstitutional.

Clement submitted his resignation letter to King and Spalding on Monday morning. He will continue to represent the House, according to House Speaker John Boehner's office.

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Ratings for Donald Trump's NBC series The Apprentice have sagged the last couple of weeks, prompting a wave of speculation among the pundit class that his birther crusade is turning off the show's viewership. In fact, his viewership has fluctuated wildly over the past several years, making such pronouncements premature.

"Yes, the numbers were down, but I don't see this as a trend at all," Patricia Phalen, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, told TPM. "There could be any number of factors influencing a decline, if that is really what's happening. For one thing, it's April, and people are more likely to be out. For another, the content of any particular program could be less attractive for the viewer. I happen to be an Apprentice fan, and the latest episode was very, very predictable."

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The Supreme Court has decided not to make history by bumping Virginia's crusade against the new national health care law to the front of the legal line.

The ruling -- denying a request from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to "fast track" appeals of his state's lawsuit calling the health care law's insurance mandate unconstitutional -- is not unusual, but it does mean opponents of the law will have to wait their turn before getting a chance to kill the law in the nation's highest court.

Had Cuccinelli gotten his way, federal appeals of the lawsuit, which succeeded at the district level, would have gone straight to the Supreme Court. But as the AP reports, that was a long-shot bet:

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by Dafna Linzer, ProPublica

Update April 25, 2011: On Sunday night, a number of news outlets and WikiLeaks published a trove of classified documents on detainees at Guantanamo Bay. ProPublica has been reporting on Gitmo and the issues surrounding indefinite detention for more than two years. In October 2010, Dafna Linzer revealed how the Obama administration censored one federal judge's Gitmo decision that had questioned the government's evidence against a detainee.

This story was co-published with The National Law Journal.

When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases.

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Michigan state Sen. Bruce Caswell (R) suggested that children in the state on public assistance be forced to spend their annual clothing allowance at thrift stores, lest the $80 allocated to them every year go to something other than new duds.

In the end, he didn't get what he wanted. But he was able to make sure that $80 will go to clothes and nothing but -- and that people who use the state's Bridge Card electronic benefit system have to go through an extra step before buying clothes for children in their care.

The Republican acknowledges that neither plan would save the economically-listing Michigan a dime. Caswell says he just wants to make sure welfare money is spent on what it's supposed to be spent on.

Caswell's original plan -- which would have made clothing allowance funds redeemable only at thrift stores like Goodwill -- kicked up some ire among progressives in Michigan and around the country. But Caswell told Michigan Public Media that there's nothing wrong with wearing old clothes.

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Dems Seek Leverage By Forcing GOP Split On Ryan's Budget Plan The Hill reports: "Senate Democratic aides expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to force Senate Republicans to vote on the Paul Ryan budget plan. Reid hasn't made a formal decision yet, and won't until he returns from an overseas trip. The idea is to drive a wedge through the GOP caucus and put vulnerable incumbents such as Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in a political jam."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. Then at 10:15 a.m. ET, the First Family will attend the 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll, and the President will deliver remarks. Obama will meet at 11:30 a.m. ET with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama will meet at 2:35 p.m. ET with Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Today The New York Times admitted they made the mistake of treating a fake creation from The Onion as something legitimate. Last week the Times printed an article documenting the history of the squeaky-clean teen magazine Tiger Beat, and included a retrospective of past magazine covers. Unfortunately (or humorously depending on one's perspective), in the collection they also included a parody cover created by The Onion, which featured President Obama.

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In a significant escalation of the progressive campaign to make Republicans pay a political price for voting to end Medicare, the progressive advocacy group Americans United for Change will run broadcast TV ads in the districts of Reps. Steve King (R-IA), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Chip Cravaack (R-MN), and Paul Ryan (R-WI).

"What are House Republicans thinking asking millions of seniors, the less fortunate and the disabled to make more sacrifices and the richest among us to make less," says AUC executive Tom McMahon in a statement.

If Republicans have their way, there would be no more guaranteed Medicare benefits for America's seniors, only a guarantee of paying more and more out of pocket for less care after being left to the mercy to the private insurance industry. There would only be a guarantee that millions of Americans would lose their jobs - only a guarantee that America's poor and disabled will live sicker and die younger while millionaires get another tax break they don't need and the nation cannot afford. This is not a path to prosperity, only a path to bankrupting seniors so Paris Hilton and BP can have another tax break. And there's nothing courageous about that.

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Conrad: 'Work Both Sides Of The Equation' On Taxes And Spending, Without Raising Rates Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) called for an increase in tax revenue, without raising marginal rates, by closing tax loopholes. " You know, let me just say this, revenue has to be part of this because revenue as a share of our national income is the lowest it has been in 60 years. Spending as a share of our national income is the highest it has been in 60 years. So you got to work both sides of the equation," said Conrad, who served on President Obama's debt commission. "But we did not raise tax rates, as this proposal, what we did was have tax reform. Let me just give you an example. In the Cayman Islands there is a little building, five-story building, called Ugland House, it claims to be the home of 18,000 companies. They all say they're doing business in that little building, the only business they're doing is monkey business. They're avoiding paying the taxes that they owe. If you reform the tax code and collect that money, I don't consider that a tax increase."

Coburn: Increase Revenue By 'Taking Away Tax Credits, Lowering The Tax Rate' Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) voiced his support for tax reforms that would increase overall revenue by closing loopholes and tax credits, without raising tax rates: "Well, we're not talking about it [raising rates]. I think if you go back and look at the commission's report, what we were talking about is getting significant dynamic effects by taking away tax credits, lowering the tax rate and having an economic increase that will actually increase the revenues to the federal government."

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