In brief: Holder intervenes in gay man’s deportation case
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder took the rare step Thursday of asking an immigration judicial panel to reconsider the case of a gay man they’ve cleared for deportation.
Holder set aside the Board of Immigration Appeals ruling allowing the deportation of Paul Wilson Dorman, a gay man illegally in the U.S. Dorman wants to stay in the country with his partner, with whom he celebrated a civil union in New Jersey.
The Board of Immigration Appeals judges had ruled against Dorman on the basis of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Holder asked the judges to reconsider the case and determine whether Dorman can be considered a spouse under New Jersey law and whether he would be a spouse under immigration law were it not for the Defense of Marriage Act, according to a copy of Holder’s decision.
The Obama administration in February said it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
House votes to expand offshore energy exploration
WASHINGTON – With high gas prices becoming a hot political issue, the House on Thursday passed legislation that would expand offshore energy exploration, even though Congress has yet to pass new drilling safeguards a year after the massive Gulf of Mexico spill.
The Republican-sponsored measure would open the Virginia coast to drilling and expand production in the Gulf of Mexico, but it faces opposition from the White House and long odds against passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Lawmakers from both parties are eager to show they feel the public’s pain at the pump – and highlight their party’s differences over energy policy – even though there are limits to what they can do to provide immediate relief.
House approval of the “Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act” comes after the BP oil spill disaster a year ago led the Obama administration to back off plans to open the eastern gulf and portions of the Atlantic Coast to oil and gas exploration
Tony winner Arthur Laurents dies at 93 after short illness
Los Angeles – Arthur Laurents, a Tony Award-winning playwright and director who wrote the books for the classic Broadway musicals “West Side Story” and “Gypsy” and later wrote the hit movies “The Way We Were” and “The Turning Point,” died Thursday. He was believed to be 93.
Laurents died in his sleep at his home in New York City after a short illness, said his agent, Jonathan Lomma.
For his work on Broadway over more than six decades, Laurents won two Tony Awards – in 1968 as author of the book for best musical Tony winner “Hallelujah, Baby!” and in 1984 as best director of a musical for “La Cage aux Folles.”
But he is best known for writing the books for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” both of which were Tony Award nominees for best musical and later were turned into movies.
Database makes it easier to track art looted by Nazis
WASHINGTON – Officials at the National Archives say it’s now easier than ever to trace the history of works of art and other cultural artifacts looted by the Nazis.
The Archives partnered Thursday with 10 other archival institutions in seven countries to launch an online database that provides access to digitized records of looted treasures.
Nazis confiscated millions of pieces of art, religious treasures and other culturally significant items throughout Europe in the dozen years between Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and the end of World War II. Many have never been returned to their rightful owners.
James Hastings of the Archives says researchers in the past were sometimes forced to travel from country to country to trace a single item. Now the records can be studied from anywhere.