At the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the moment had finally arrived. After four years of litigation in the lower courts, the Supreme Court was hearing a challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. But minutes into oral arguments, it became clear that the justices may not give either side the clear-cut victory it wants.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
Federal regulators are taking aim at a practice they say is forcing millions of struggling homeowners to pay higher insurance premiums. The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued an order today. It bars banks from charging lucrative fees and commissions on so-called lender-placed insurance policies. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
All this week, we're reporting on a remarkable increase in the size of the country's disability programs. Fourteen million Americans now receive a monthly disability check from the government. The number has roughly doubled every 15 years. As we've reported, there are many, complicated reasons for the increase. There's also one, very simple one: Congress. In 1984, Congress changed the definition of disability. Lawmakers broadened it, and made it more vague.
Inside the courtroom, the debate over California's gay marriage ban was joined with sharp questions and a splash of humor. But where will all lead is still unknown. As NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, expectations for a sweeping and decisive ruling may be overblown.
CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Chief Justice John Roberts set the tone in the opening moments. Almost immediately, he pressed the lawyer defending California's gay marriage ban on the most basic of points.
For some analysis now, we turn to Tom Goldstein, publisher and regular contributor to the website SCOTUSblog. He followed the arguments today and joins us in our studio. Welcome, Tom.
TOM GOLDSTEIN: Hi, there.
CORNISH: So we just heard right out of the gate, the justices are questioning whether the defenders of Proposition 8 even had the standing or authority to be there, to be in court. What did this signal to you?
Now, we're going to hear from one state that bans same-sex marriage and could be affected by the Supreme Court's ruling on today's case. In 2008, voters in Arizona approved an amendment to the state Constitution that, like California, defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Tom Horne is Arizona's attorney general, and he joins us now from Phoenix. Tom Horne, welcome to the program.
TOM HORNE: Well, I'm an NPR listener, so it's a great pleasure to be with you.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
North Dakota now has the toughest abortion laws in the nation. That's after the state's governor, Jack Dalrymple, signed three bills into law today. One makes it a crime to perform abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected.
As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports, that would effectively ban nearly all abortions in the state and sets up a likely court challenge.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The case of Amanda Knox is not over. She's the American exchange student who was accused of murdering her British roommate in Italy. She was acquitted in 2011. But today, Italy's highest court overruled that acquittal. The court ordered Knox and her former boyfriend to be retried. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, this reopens a case that drew international attention and sharp criticism of the Italian judicial system.