TPM News

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released the following statement today announcing a meeting between President Obama and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The President has invited the bipartisan leaders of the Senate and the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 21st to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Stevens. Senators Reid, McConnell, Leahy, and Sessions will travel to the White House on Wednesday morning for the meeting.

Republicans spent much of the recess gaming out their strategic posture on the Democrats' push to pass a major Wall Street reform bill, and it looks like they've finally settled on one: The GOP will oppose the proposed new regulations on the grounds that they will make future bailouts of big financial institutions more likely. And in adopting that line, they've taken a page straight out of the playbook of one of the conservative movement's top message men.

"We cannot allow endless taxpayer funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the floor this morning. "That's why we must not pass the financial reform bill that's about to hit the floor. The fact is this bill wouldn't solve the problems that led to the financial crisis. It would make them worse."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is asking his political supporters to fill out a three-question survey about the Supreme Court vacancy, but also tells them that once they do, "you will be given the opportunity to make a generous donation to our efforts to elect likeminded leaders." The questionnaire asks questions that are hardly surprising, including how liberal of a justice McCain supporters think President Obama should choose.

The funds are for his Country First political action committee, not his campaign, but the Supreme Court fundraising comes as McCain faces a tough primary challenge from conservative JD Hayworth.

"We are often reminded that elections have lasting consequences on our country, and nothing reminds us of this more than when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court," McCain writes in the email, believed to reach millions of supporters of his presidential campaign.

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The FBI decided to infiltrate the Hutaree Christian militia after becoming alarmed by the group allegedly detonating bombs in the woods in rural Michigan, NPR reports in a long investigation of the group.

We already knew that the FBI had an undercover agent in the group, one who even recorded its alleged leader preaching against the New World Order.

Nine members of the militia are charged in an alleged plot to kill police. One of the specific counts is attempted use of weapons of mass destruction for an alleged plan to use IEDs during a police funeral.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are making a surprise visit to Haiti today.

They arrived in Port-au-Prince around 10:40 a.m., and are taking a helicopter tour of Port-au-Prince, where a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake three months ago left more than a million people homeless.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)--the third ranking Democrat in the Senate--says it's high time Republicans let all of President Obama's judicial nominees come to the floor for up-or-down votes. And if they use Obama's forthcoming nomination of a replacement for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens as an excuse to further delay lower court nominees, they should be prepared to work longer hours.

"We are going to stay in as long as it takes, even if it means nights, weekends, to get these nominees through," Schumer said at a press conference this morning. "Because it's just unpardonable, unexplainable, only the worst of motivations that's holding these judges up."

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