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STUDENT NEWS

Supreme Court Tackles Same-Sex Marriage; First Female Head of the Secret Service Appointed; The Fight for Education in Pakistan; FAA Considers Allowing Electronics in Flight; Everyone Cheers, Everyone Wins

Aired March 28, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, welcome to your Thursday edition of CNN`s STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz. Today we`re going to start at the U.S. Supreme Court, and if you watched our show on Tuesday you know the court`s nine justices are hearing two cases this week about the issue of same-sex marriage. Yesterday, the focus was on a federal law. It`s called the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. It was passed in 1996 and what it says is that for federal purposes, so we`re talking about U.S. government purposes, marriage is defined as only between one man and one woman. That legal definition can impact things like taxes and benefits. For example, same-sex couples who get married in states where that`s legal, don`t get access to the same federal benefits as other couples.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments about a law in California that bans same-sex marriage. So this week we focused on two cases -- same general topic, but different legal focus. The court`s rulings aren`t expected for a few months, but we wanted to give you an idea of what it was like inside the Supreme Court. What you`re about to hear is from Tuesday`s hearings on the law in California.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits?

CHARLES COOPER, ATTORNEY FOR PROP 8 SUPPORTERS: Your honor, I cannot. I do not have any -- anything to offer you.

ANTONIN SCALIA, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I`m curious -- when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?

THEODORE OLSON, ATTORNEY FOR PROP 8 OPPONENTS: The label marriage means something. Even our opponents --

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Sir, if you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I supposed you can force that child to say this is my friend, but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend. And that`s, it seems to me, what supporters of Proposition 8 are saying here. All you`re interested in is the label and you insist on changing the definition of the label.

SAMUAL ALITO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years. Same-sex marriage is very new. I think it was first adopted in the Netherlands in 2000. So there isn`t a lot of data about the effect.

ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: If you`re over the age of 55, you don`t help us serve the government`s interest in regulating procreation through marriage. So, what is that different?

COOPER: Your honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both parties to the couple are infertile.

(LAUGHTER)

KAGAN: I can assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s shout out goes to Coach Wood`s journalism class at Cleveland High School in Clayton, North Carolina.

What was the original mission of the U.S. Secret Service? Was it to protect politicians, train spies, collect taxes, or stop counterfeiters? You`ve got three seconds. Go.

The Secret Service was formed in 1865 to stop counterfeiters, but the agencies responsibilities have increased since then. That`s your answer, and that`s your shout out.

AZUZ: When you think of the Secret Service, this might be what you picture: men in suits and sunglasses guarding the president, for example, other U.S. leaders. That started in 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, whom you see right here. Even though the agency`s responsibilities have changed, one thing has stayed the same since it was founded 148 years ago -- it was always run by a man. Now, that`s changed. Yesterday, Julia Pierson was sworn in as the new director of the Secret Service. This is an appointed position, so she didn`t have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Pierson is the agency`s first female director, but this is not her first job with the agency. Pierson joined the Secret Service as a special agent in 1983. She`s moved up through the ranks in the 30 years since then, and is now making history as the first female director.

You might not think too much about the act of going to school, just part of your day. But that`s not true for everyone. In some parts of the world, like areas in Pakistan, getting an education isn`t a right. Sometimes, it`s met with violence. Shahnaz Nazli was a teacher. Recently on her way to the all-girl`s school where she taught, she was shot and killed. Her husband says she has never been threatened before.

This case is similar to the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot last year because of her fight for girl`s education rights in Pakistan. These attacks have cause a lot of anger and calls for action. After the latest shooting, a petition was made urging Pakistan`s government to do more to protect girls and teachers attending school there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for a shout out extra credit. Which if these jobs is not the responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration? Here we go, now. Is it aircraft certification, passenger security checks, air traffic control, or runway safety? Put another three seconds on the clock and go.

The TSA is in charge of passenger security checks, but the other choices here are all the responsibility of the FAA. That`s your answer, and that`s your shout out extra credit.

AZUZ: If you`ve flown recently, you were probably told to shut down your electronics for takeoff and landing. It`s a rule on most airlines. The FAA is considering whether or not electronics should be allowed at all times. Pilots can use tablets in the cockpit, and a spokesman for a wireless group says using a phone or a tablet to read a magazine or newspaper doesn`t appear to affect safety. It`s not clear whether your electronics can interfere with the planes. Two years ago, a study found 75 instances when electronic devices might have, but it`s hard to prove. A flight attendant group says they ought to be turned off so the plane`s crew can get your attention during the most critical parts of the flight -- during takeoff and landing. And an airline passenger representative calls shutting down is a small price to pay for safety.

Got any thoughts on this? We want to hear them. Does it matter to you that you`re required to turn off your electronics during takeoff and landing? Your comments. Our blog. Your first name only. We`re always looking for teacher feedback too. This show. Your opinion. Everyone`s favorite website. That`s cnnstudentnews.com.

Throughout Women`s History Month, we`ve put a spotlight on trailblazing women. We`re going to wrap that coverage up today with one more. Sara Cronk was your age when she got the idea to expand her high school cheerleading squad. Now, her plan has spread to squads across the country. Robin Meade has more on Sarah`s idea that when everyone cheers, everyone wins.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN MEADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This could be a Friday night at any high school basketball game, but there`s something special at this Iowa high school. Meet the Sparkles, one of the nation`s first high school cheerleading squads that includes students with disabilities. Sarah Cronk kicked off the program at Pleasant Valley High in 2008.

SARAH CRONK, STUDENT: My motivation really behind it was my older brother. He is on the autism spectrum, and when he entered high school the transition was really hard for him.

MEADE: But a popular upperclassman took Sarah`s brother under his wing.

CRONK: Just seeing how being involved and having a circle of friends really made that difference for him, made me want to use my sport, cheerleading, to do the same thing for other kids.

When everyone cheers, everyone wins. And we`ve seen from the girls with disabilities that their self-esteem increases, their confidence.

KATIE DWYER, SOPHOMORE, PLEASANT VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL: I don`t really get stage fright any more -- I get standing ovations.

CRONK: A lot of the girls who don`t have disabilities who participate, kind of come into it thinking we`re going to do this great thing for these girls, and end up feeling like these girls are doing such a great thing for me.

MEADE: Now a college sophomore, Sarah took the Sparkle effect nationwide. Today there are nearly 100 squads, including two college team.

CRONK: Hopefully ten years from now, inclusion is as synonymous with cheerleading as pompoms are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: All right, today`s "before we go" segment is a double-header. We`re not doing two stories, though. We`re talking about two heads. What you are looking at here, is gross. It`s also the first ever two-headed bull shark. You might think this sounds fishy, but scientists say it`s a rare and real catch. They thought it might be conjoined shark twins, but they figured out nope, it`s one shark, two heads. Some people might insist that is some sort of fake, but really they`re just being bullheaded. We`re glad the experts put their heads together on this one -- after all two heads are better than one.

We are just about at the finish line, but if you`re on Facebook, don`t forget to check out our "Pun-tology" bracket. We`re posting two photos at a time, you click on the photo of the pun you like better, and then click "like" to vote. And we`ll see you back here tomorrow for more CNN STUDENT NEWS. Bye bye.

END