Government & Politics

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples is unconstitutional, in a sign of how rapidly the national debate over gay rights has shifted.

In another case, the Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a California law banning same sex marriage. The effect is to let stand a lower-court ruling and clear the way for resumption of same-sex marriages in California.

“Aside from vague explanations, it’s difficult to determine precisely how and why 23 recipients of the money were selected out of 64 applications. Applicants with experience were rejected while new groups were awarded grants. And one politically influential recipient of the highest-level grant of $40,000 hasn’t followed through on other city and state grants it was awarded several years ago — nor did it provide required financial information in its grant application.


The Williams Olefins chemical facility in Geismar released more than 62,000 pounds of toxic chemicals during a June 13 explosion and fire that killed two workers and injured 114 others, according to an initial report on the accident filed with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

So what kinds of common policy levers might now be at risk? “A requirement that a developer pay into a mitigation bank if they’re destroying wetlands,” [environmental law professor John] Echeverria suggests. “A requirement that a developer contribute funds to pay for a sewer expansion. A requirement that a developer pay to support expansion of a school system required by development – all those kinds of requirements.”

Criminal Justice

Any positive or negative response on a request-by-request basis would allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about the NSA’s technical capabilities, sources, and methods. Our adversaries are likely to evaluate all public responses related to these programs.

Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado is the editor of The Lens. He previously worked as The Lens' government accountability reporter, covering local politics and criminal justice. Prior to joining The Lens, he worked for...