Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Zubik v. Burwell: “The Supreme Court on Monday sent a case dealing with religious exemptions in Obamacare contraception coverage back to lower courts in an attempt to get the sides to figure out a compromise. The unsigned unanimous order, though not technically a tie, suggested the court could not reach a more definitive majority without a ninth justice.”
* Perilous times in Venezuela, “where clashes erupted this week between security forces and demonstrators protesting food shortages, power blackouts and political gridlock, [and which] may be headed toward an all-out popular uprising that could lead to the overthrow of its government this year, senior U.S. intelligence officials said.”
* Syria: “Al Qaeda’s top leadership in Pakistan, badly weakened after a decade of C.I.A. drone strikes, has decided that the terror group’s future lies in Syria and has secretly dispatched more than a dozen of its most seasoned veterans there, according to senior American and European intelligence and counterterrorism officials.”
* Missouri: “[State] lawmakers have passed a sweeping expansion of gun rights in the state, one that would allow people to carry concealed guns without requiring permits and widen their right to stand and fight against perceived threats.”
* Keep expectations low: “The House on Friday passed legislation to combat heroin and painkiller abuse, setting up potentially tense negotiations with the Senate on an issue lawmakers are eager to show voters they can address ahead of November’s election.”
* Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens voted with the right on voter-ID laws. He now regrets the decision for reasons that are worthy of a broader discussion.
* Diplomacy: “Arrayed along a strip of pavement, with the White House as the backdrop, the five Nordic leaders held forth Friday afternoon before clusters of reporters from their home countries – a rare tableau of prime ministers and one president linking themselves with the planet’s most powerful residence.”
* House Dems have reality on their side in this case: “Democrats on a select congressional panel investigating the procurement of fetal tissue are demanding that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) disband the committee, saying its Republican leaders unilaterally expanded its probe to investigate a Maryland doctor who performs late-term abortions.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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