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Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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HOLA, AMERICA

Dueling numbers throw our differences into stark relief. A Pew Research Center poll of 995 adults reveals that six out of 10 Americans "broadly" approve of Arizona's tough new immigration law. But an Associated Press/Univision survey of a nearly equal number of Hispanic Americans finds that 67 percent oppose the new legislation, while 74 percent say illegal immigrants "contribute to society." Nine out of 10 say the undocumented workers "take jobs Americans don't want" and that the nation should find a way to help them stay in the country.

"The movement for human rights in Arizona and against the state's hateful laws is growing," says Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. "We are calling for all people of conscience to come to Arizona the weekend of May 29th for a mass mobilization. We are living in a defining moment of our times, and we must rise to the occasion."

PALIN MOMENT

The menu includes quiche and fresh fruit, the musical interlude is titled "Mother Must be Praying" and the event in the Ronald Reagan Building is sold out. Sarah Palin's appearance on Friday at the Susan B. Anthony List's "Celebration of Life Breakfast" has proved very popular, indeed.

"Gov. Palin believes in the Susan B. Anthony List and our commitment to ensuring that votes have consequences. She has been a partner in our mission since her candidacy," the group's president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, tells Inside the Beltway. "We know that now is the peak and pivotal moment for every person of a like mind to join with us, and push toward a pro-life election day victory."

SUPREME BEINGS

"We shouldn't have to worry so much about who gets appointed to the Supreme Court. It shouldn't be the case that a single justice can make all of American society lurch from one direction to another. They shouldn't have that much power," says Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian Party.

"Elena Kagan will probably vote to advance liberal policy goals, just as some other justices vote to advance conservative policy goals. That is not the place of justices, who should be applying the Constitution, not trying to rewrite it to make society work better according to their views," Mr. Benedict continues.

"Once upon a time, Congress felt it had a duty to legislate in accordance with the Constitution. Likewise, past presidents believed that they should veto laws that were not clearly constitutional. But in more recent years, both branches have thrown this crucial duty away. Now their attitude seems to be, 'We can pass anything we want to, and let the Supreme Court deal with it if they don't like it.' That was absolutely not what the American Founders had in mind," he adds.

KAGAN MYSTERY

Information on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is being eked out too slowly, says Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network. She is keenly interested in Miss Kagan's stint as former President Clinton's associate White House counsel and domestic policy adviser from 1995 to 1999 and filed formal requests for the details to the Clinton Presidential Library two months ago. So far, nothing.

"Kagan's lack of an extensive record, judicial experience and limited writings are troublesome, and the public should be allowed to review all her writings from her time in the Clinton administration," Ms. Severino says. "With the leak of the May 13, 1997 memo concerning abortion from the White House domestic policy office, Kagan supporters have already begun a process of selective disclosure in an attempt to throw crumbs of information to the public, while sweeping the rest under the rug."

Interesting dynamics are at work. In a 2002 letter to National Archives, Mr. Clinton himself requested the agency "ease" restrictions on his own documents "to make available to the public as full a record as possible documenting the decision-making, policymaking and appointment process of my presidency."

WINGNUT WATCHER

After bringing Redstate.com's conservative founder Erick Erickson into the fold, CNN again is expanding its ideological reach. "Daily Beast" political columnist John Avlon - author of "Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics" and "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America" - has become the designated CNN contributor who "understands centrist philosophy," says Washington bureau chief David Bohrman.

"I'll continue to stand up to the extremes of both sides - while trying to restore a sense of humor and historic perspective to our political debates - in the belief that most Americans want to move our country not left or right, but forward," vows Mr. Avlon.

LORE OF GORE

Not a happy graduation weekend for Al Gore, perhaps. He's been labeled "the world's first carbon billionaire" by the Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow. The nonprofit will stage several rallies in Knoxville, Tenn., to protest an honorary degree Mr. Gore will receive at the University of Tennessee's commencement ceremonies.

"Al Gore is setting a new standard for undeserved honors. He got a Nobel prize although he didn't bring peace, now he's getting an honorary degree for scaring Americans with flawed science," said spokesman Dillon MacDonald. "He flies in private jets, just bought another mansion, yet tells working people their houses are too large, their showers too warm, their cars too fast and our economy too free. We should give him a [doctorate] in hypocrisy."

POLL DU JOUR

c 4 percent of Americans trust the federal government "just about always."

c 21 percent trust it most of the time; 44 percent some of the time.

c 31 percent "almost never" trust the government.

c 44 percent favor a Republican-controlled Congress; 44 percent favor one controlled by Democrats.

c 22 percent say they are liberals; 37 percent, moderates; and 40 percent, conservatives.

Source: An NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 adults conducted May 6 to 10.

c Truths, half-truths, occasional fibs to jharper@ washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harper bulletin.

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