Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), one of Congress' most outspoken proponents for gun control, urged action to stem the tide of gun violence in the wake of a Friday shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

"This is a day of great sadness in America, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families.  This latest shooting tragedy is an unthinkable act of violence carried out against young children and innocent people.  Americans are sick and tired of these attacks on our children and neighbors and they are sick and tired of nothing being done in Washington to stop the bloodshed.  If we do not take action to address gun violence, shooting tragedies like this will continue.  As President Obama said, we must act now 'regardless of the politics.'"

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Friday that Americans will unite and "rise above unspeakable evil" after the tragic shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

“The horror of this day seems so unbearable, but we will lock arms and unite as citizens, for that is how Americans rise above unspeakable evil.  Let us all come together in God’s grace to pray for the families of the victims, that they may find some comfort and peace amid such suffering.  Let us give thanks for all those who helped get people to safety, and take heart from their example.  The House of Representatives – like every American – stands ready to assist the people of Newtown, Connecticut.” 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reacted on Friday to the elementary school schooting in Connecticut.

"I am in shock and disbelief at this horrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives today. As a father and grandfather, it is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want to hurt innocent children. I join the millions of Americans whose thoughts and hearts are with those suffering because of this horrible crime in Connecticut."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued a statement mourning the death of victims at the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Friday.

"As a parent and a public official, my heart and prayers are with these innocent victims, their families, and the entire community. I share the shock of all Connecticut at this hideous, horrific crime of inhuman violence.  I will be in close communication with law enforcement and state and local officials to ensure they receive the federal support and resources they need."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) mourned the loss of life in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting in a statement released Friday.

“No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School or describe the pain and shock of such an unspeakable tragedy.  No words can comfort the loved ones of those brutally taken from us today.  All Americans share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events.

“We are all stunned, shocked, and distraught by this tragic shooting, by this violent act, and by the loss of so many young children.  Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students, teachers, and educators killed and wounded in Newtown, Connecticut.  The entire nation will continue to stand as a source of support to this community in the days and weeks to come.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a strong proponent of gun control, argued in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting Friday that the country must have a "serious discussion" about gun laws.

He said in a statement:

"I am absolutely horrified by news of the cold-blooded shooting of dozens of children in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children.  We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life.  If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is.  How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through?  I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) reacted on Twitter to the elementary school shooting in his home state Friday:

Sen. Rand Paul is threatening a long and painful road if Democrats attempt to weaken the filibuster early next month via a rarely used process that allows the majority to change the rules with 51 votes.

In a Politico op-ed Friday, the Kentucky Republican vows to offer up a series of other rule changes in such a scenario, and force Democrats to vote them down.

"Today, I caution the majority leader that I will not simply stand by and witness his destruction of the rights of senators, nor his power grab through clear breaking of Senate rules and precedents. I will fight back," he writes.

Among my many proposed rule changes are:

• Each year’s budget must be balanced.

• A point of order demanding enumerated constitutional authority for any piece of legislation.

• A point of order protecting each one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights. Any senator could, at any time and as a privileged motion, assert that a bill violated one of the first 10 amendments.

• A waiting period of 20 days for each page of legislation.

• A sunset provision on all major new legislation.


When the Supreme Court takes up two major cases on marriage equality next spring, all eyes will be on an ever-important swing vote whom gay rights advocates are optimistic about winning: Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The Reagan-appointed justice has pained liberals on many occasions, most recently this summer when he voted to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. But when it comes to gay rights, Kennedy has written passionately in its favor, spearheading the court's two key rulings for gay equality.

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Retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) told MSNBC on Friday that he believes the Defense of Marriage Act, which he voted for in 1996, is unconstitutional and will be struck down by the Supreme Court next year.

"I think the two circuit courts that have determined that it's not constitutional are probably right. That's my judgment today," he said of the law that prohibits federal recognition of same sex marriage.

"I think the country is ahead of the lawmakers on this," he said. "And I don't know what the Supreme Court will do, but it will not surprise me if they affirm ... I think it's likely that they will [affirm the lower courts' judgment that it's unconstitutional]. And, you know, that's one of those acts that probably should not have been enacted."

"President Clinton supported it and I think, frankly it was done without sufficient consideration of all the factors," he said.