Liz Halloran

Liz Halloran joined NPR in December 2008 as Washington correspondent for Digital News, taking her print journalism career into the online news world.

Halloran came to NPR from US News & World Report, where she followed politics and the 2008 presidential election. Before the political follies, Halloran covered the Supreme Court during its historic transition — from Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death, to the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation battles. She also tracked the media and wrote special reports on topics ranging from the death penalty and illegal immigration, to abortion rights and the aftermath of the Amish schoolgirl murders.

Before joining the magazine, Halloran was a senior reporter in the Hartford Courant's Washington bureau. She followed Sen. Joe Lieberman on his ground-breaking vice presidential run in 2000, as the first Jewish American on a national ticket, wrote about the media and the environment and covered post-9/11 Washington. Previously, Halloran, a Minnesota native, worked for The Courant in Hartford. There, she was a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning team for spot news in 1999, and was honored by the New England Associated Press for her stories on the Kosovo refugee crisis.

She also worked for the Republican-American newspaper in Waterbury, Conn., and as a cub reporter and paper delivery girl for her hometown weekly, the Jackson County Pilot.

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It's All Politics
1:47 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

High Court's Pass On 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Case Unlikely To Cool Debate

Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:02 am

A new class of restrictive abortion laws, passed in recent years in a swath of states, hinges on the argument that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.

But the fetal pain assertion, viewed skeptically by many scientists, hit a bump Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling striking down an Arizona law that criminalized abortions at 20 weeks.

The state's ban asserted that "unborn children feel pain during an abortion at that gestational age." Federal courts last year also blocked similar "fetal pain" laws in Idaho and Georgia.

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It's All Politics
1:32 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Gates Unleashed: Ex-Defense Chief Goes Scorched Earth On Congress

In his new memoir, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is unsparing in his criticism of Congress.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:14 pm

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made international news this week with the release of a memoir that serves up a big helping of unvarnished criticism of his former boss, President Obama.

But his scalding of the sitting commander in chief seems practically tame compared to the beat down he delivers to members of Congress.

And that includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who, Gates asserts, once urged him to have the Defense Department "invest in research on irritable bowel syndrome."

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It's All Politics
10:22 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Long Is Too Long? Congress Revisits Mandatory Sentences

Inmates walk around a recreation yard at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif., in January 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:14 am

Mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug dealers were once viewed as powerful levers in the nation's war against drugs, a way to target traffickers, and punish kingpins and masterminds.

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It's All Politics
3:11 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Partisan Evolution Gap? Politically Insignificant, GOP Says

A display of a series of skeletons showing the evolution of humans at the Peabody Museum, New Haven, Conn., circa 1935.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:45 pm

A new national survey showing that the share of Republicans who believe in evolution has tumbled from 54 to 43 percent over the past four years comes at an inopportune time.

The Pew Research poll suggests that the GOP, already struggling with an identity crisis and facing ferocious internal battles, is out of sync on the issue with independents and young voters, who are far more likely to believe in the science of evolution than their forebears.

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Architecture
11:38 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Makeover USA: Short, 'Dowdy' D.C. Considers High Heels

The skyline of Washington, D.C., including the Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall. The tall buildings in the distance are in Virginia.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:06 pm

The powers that be in Washington are typically, though certainly not always, wrestling with weighty issues.

Recently, they've also been debating height, and whether they prefer a stout, familiar dowager, or a taller, sleeker model.

Building heights, people: We're talking building heights in your nation's capital, where for more than a century the 1910 Building Height Act has kept the city's profile low.

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It's All Politics
2:18 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Cost Of Battling Filibuster Rules: No Sleep Or Fundraising

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:31 pm

When Senate Democrats voted last month to limit the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees, inside-the-Beltway hand-wringing commenced.

The Senate would never be the same without a 60-vote threshold on controversial matters! Just wait and see the dysfunction! The retribution!

Gregory Koger, historian and pre-eminent expert on the filibuster, was not among the doomsayers.

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It's All Politics
12:25 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Tourists At The Border: Should Mental Illness Halt U.S. Entry?

Cars entering the U.S. pass a welcome sign at the border crossing between the U.S. and Canada, in Blaine, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:33 am

The headline was enough to infuriate any privacy-loving North American.

"Disabled Woman Denied Entry To U.S. After Agent Cites Supposedly Private Medical Details," read the topper of a recent story in the Toronto Star.

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Law
9:57 am
Wed December 11, 2013

No Cake For You: Saying 'I Don't' To Same-Sex Marriage

A Colorado judge recently ordered Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to serve gay couples, after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lindsay Pierce Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:15 pm

There were a few snickers when a Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

A cake? What's the big deal?

But the decision, handed down late last week, is just the latest slice in a debate that has gone front burner with gay marriage now legalized in 16 states, and counting.

Can individual businesspeople like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver be compelled to provide wedding (or commitment ceremony) goods and services to gay couples?

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The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

'Turkey Day' Stuffing: Unlikely Pitches Fill Our Inboxes

Talkin' Turkey: In the run-up to Thanksgiving, marketers and PR pros seem to compete for the title of the most creative tie-in to their own business or cause. That led us to list some notable pitches.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 3:56 pm

Turkey is not the only thing that gets stuffed during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Our email inboxes, like yours, have been in Operation Overload this week, glutted with sweet potato souffle recipes, deals of the day, countdowns to Black Friday with BIG SAVINGS and FREE SHIPPING, doorbuster coupons, notices of Santa bar crawls, and more directions for the use of cream cheese than an old Paula Deen cookbook.

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It's All Politics
1:50 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

You Can Vote, You Can Enlist — But Can You Buy A Cigarette?

Cigarette packs are displayed at a convenience store in New York City, which has raised the age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 2:22 pm

So, a uniformed Marine walks into a convenience store, and says to the clerk, "Pack of Marlboro Reds, in a box — and some matches."

The clerk gives the Marine the once over and says, "Sorry, son, but you look a bit young to be buying smokes. You 21?"

That potential scenario, in a nutshell, is the most common argument against a small but nascent movement to increase the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

You can fight in a war at age 18, and vote in elections, but you can't buy cigarettes until your 21st birthday?

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It's All Politics
12:51 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

GOP Enraged After Filibuster Vote, But Does It Change Much?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to the media on Thursday after passing the so-called nuclear option, which changes the Senate rules to eliminate the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees except those to the Supreme Court.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:48 pm

The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.

By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.

Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.

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It's All Politics
9:16 am
Tue November 19, 2013

States Renew Battle To Require That Voters Prove Citizenship

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:38 pm

The conservative-driven movement to expand voter restrictions in the name of reducing polling booth fraud has often been described as a solution in search of a problem.

Despite evidence suggesting voter fraud is rare, it's a crusade that has proved so durable in GOP-dominated states like Arizona and Kansas that its leading proponents are undeterred — even by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Get a high court decision that bars you from requiring residents to produce documentary proof of citizenship like a passport or birth certificate when registering to vote?

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It's All Politics
4:22 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

What If A Congressman Comes Out And Nobody Cares?

Rep. Mike Michaud talks to an Associated Press reporter Monday in Portland, Maine, about his public announcement that he is gay.
Clarke Canfield AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 2:43 pm

The final chapter in the history of bombshells of the closeted gay politician variety may have been written Monday by Rep. Mike Michaud, a Maine Democrat running for governor.

Michaud, 58, announced in a column published in two state newspapers and by The Associated Press that he is a gay man, and followed it with the question: "But why should it matter?"

Judging from immediate reaction in Maine, where Michaud next year will be competing to become the first governor in U.S. history elected as an openly gay man, the answer seemed to be that it probably won't.

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It's All Politics
12:56 pm
Sat October 26, 2013

PR Experts: Obamacare Message (Not Just The Site) Needs Fix

A woman looks at the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange site on Oct. 1 in Washington, D.C.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 26, 2013 12:39 pm

There's little doubt that the Obama administration would like a health care website do-over.

Since its rollout Oct. 1, Obamacare's online insurance exchange sign-up, critical to success of the health care overhaul, has been a well-documented disaster.

The White House, in addition to managing considerable political fallout, also is dealing with a big, fat public relations problem. Just how does the administration go about winning the trust of the American people after the October Obamacare debacle?

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It's All Politics
9:57 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

The Fiscal Fight's Winners And Losers

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the Capitol on Wednesday. The Kentucky Republican helped forge a late-hour deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to sidestep financial chaos.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 6:14 pm

The White House is insisting, publicly at least, that nobody emerged victorious from the government shutdown/debt crisis debacle.

"There are no winners here," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday after Senate leaders announced they had a deal to end the budget impasse.

"And nobody's who's sent here to Washington by the American people can call themselves a winner," Carney said, "if the American people have paid a price for what's happened."

Well, yes and no.

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