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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Zimmerman Trial
11:01 am
Tue July 16, 2013

'Stand Your Ground' Laws Under Scrutiny Post-Zimmerman Verdict

George Zimmerman (right) is congratulated by his defense team Saturday night after being found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Gary W. Green AP

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 11:47 am

George Zimmerman's defense team didn't invoke Florida's "stand your ground" defense in winning his acquittal of murder in last year's shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

But the specter of the 2005 law loomed, inescapably, over the proceedings.

It was inevitable that the racially fraught trial would again catapult Florida's law — which extends protections for the use of deadly force far beyond the traditional bounds of one's home — as well as those in 21-plus states with similar self-defense measures into the nation's consciousness.

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It's All Politics
6:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

'Illusioning Victory From Defeat': A Washington Story

New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer speaks at a news conference on gun legislation earlier this year.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:39 pm

At the end of another demoralizing and unproductive Washington week, it struck us that the messaging of failure is a very delicate business — for members of both flailing parties.

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's straight-faced characterization of the House GOP's rejection of his immigration bill as "encouraging" best illustrated the problem.

For nothing was hopeful and nobody was a winner in the nation's capital this week.

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It's All Politics
7:13 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

House GOP: We Won't Consider Senate Immigration Bill

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 8:21 pm

The prospects for an immigration overhaul effort that could reshape the contours of American society appeared grim Wednesday after a closed door meeting of House Republicans.

A majority of the fractious House Republican Conference lined up in opposition to (barely) bipartisan legislation already approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, despite the urging of leaders to do something on the issue.

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It's All Politics
1:32 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Once A Rising GOP Star, Virginia's Governor Hits The Skids

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell won one of two governorships that the GOP picked up in 2009.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 4:00 pm

Just last year, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was a hot Republican prospect, ranked among the nation's most respected state leaders, and was touted as prime vice presidential material.

Those heady days are long gone.

After a seemingly endless series of reports about alleged ethical lapses by the buttoned-down, fiscally conservative governor, no one talks about his political promise anymore.

Instead, the rumor mill generates talk of his impending resignation, with the governor's spokesman denying via Twitter a weekend blog report that he would step down from office.

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It's All Politics
6:29 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

With An Eye Toward 2016, Rick Perry Reboots

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announces he will not seek re-election as governor, Monday in San Antonio.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 6:37 pm

Picture the next 18 months of Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry's road to national relevance.

Appearances on the late-night comedy shows, where he'll banter with Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, maybe even Jimmy Fallon.

A rolling, cross-country road show during which he'll tout the Texas economy and charm grassroots voters and deep-pocketed donors.

Mixing it up back home in Austin with intensifying battles to limit legal abortion and push back against "Washington policies."

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The Two-Way
2:50 am
Sun July 7, 2013

The New World Of Firefighting: Politics, Climate And Humans

An aerial tanker drops fire retardant on a wildfire threatening homes near Yarnell, Ariz., on July 1. An elite crew of firefighters was overtaken by the out-of-control blaze on June 30, killing 19 members as they tried to protect themselves from the flames under fire-resistant shields.
Chris Carlson AP

Writer and photojournalist Michael Kodas has been documenting firefighting and firefighters for more than a decade. His current book project, Megafire, an examination of the new world faced by firefighters, will be released in 2014. Kodas, also the author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed, lives in Boulder, Colo.

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It's All Politics
5:10 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry Will Keep Texas Guessing. Until Monday

Texas Gov. Rick Perry addresses the Conservative Political Action Committee in February 2012.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 6:36 pm

Will he or won't he?

The Texas political class has been abuzz this week about more than just Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' abortion bill filibuster-heard-round-the-nation.

The other occupying parlor game: Whether three-term Republican Gov. Rick Perry intends to seek an unprecedented fourth full term.

CNN and other news organizations reported Tuesday afternoon that Perry, a failed 2012 GOP presidential candidate, plans an announcement Monday about his "exciting future plans."

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Texas 2020
5:08 am
Sun June 30, 2013

In Houston, Diversity You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Chef Anita Jaisinghani owns Pondicheri, a casual spot serving up her take on the street foods of her native India.
Liz Halloran NPR

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 2:25 pm

Stephen Klineberg polishes off a spicy lamb mint burger, mops his brow and recalls the Houston he moved to as a young professor in the 1970s.

"It was a deeply racist, deeply segregated Southern city," he says; an oil boomtown of black and white Americans.

There were no restaurants like Pondicheri, where Houston chef Anita Jaisinghani's hip take on Indian street food — and the air conditioning's battle with 100-degree heat — conspire to make the Rice University professor sweat.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Explaining Justice Kennedy: The Dignity Factor

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has now written two landmark gay rights decisions.
Damian Dovarganes Associated Press

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 7:04 am

Read Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion closely enough and you'll find an idea that shines like a beacon in guiding him to his destination in the Defense of Marriage Act case: dignity.

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Civil Rights
1:40 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

After DOMA: What's Next For Gay Married Couples

Edith Windsor is mobbed by journalists and supporters as she leaves the Supreme Court on March 27, when the court heard oral arguments in the case that challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 3:47 pm

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act is a monumental victory for advocates of same-sex marriage.

But what happens now that the 1996 federal law that confines marriage to a man and a woman has been declared unconstitutional?

Will federal benefits flow only to same-sex married couples living in states that recognize their unions?

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Supreme Court Rules For Adoptive Family In Dispute

This October 2011 photo provided by Melanie Capobianco shows her adoptive daughter, Veronica, trick-or-treating in Charleston, S.C. The Supreme Court handed down a decision Tuesday in favor of the Capobiancos, who sued after Veronica was returned to her biological father under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Courtesy of Melanie Capobianco AP

In a complex and heart-wrenching case, a divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the parental rights of a Native American father may be terminated if he has failed to establish a history of "continued custody" of his biological child.

The decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, however, is viewed as narrow and leaves intact the the 1978 federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act. The law was designed to stop the historically brutal and improper removal of Native American children from their families for adoption or foster care by white parents.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
6:00 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Same-Sex Couple Seeks Immigration Relief From High Court

Kelly Costello, 31, (left) and her wife, Fabiola Morales, 39, walk their 4-year-old dog, Blue Elizabeth, around their neighborhood in Potomac, Md. The two have been married since 2012.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 11:19 am

The Sunday morning party in suburban Washington, D.C., had all the trappings of anticipation.

A lace-trimmed bassinet, a jumble of gifts tied with pink and blue ribbons, a "diaper cake" on the table. And chatter about babies, diets, new spring outfits and the coming end of the school year.

But for Sue Costello, the grandmother-in-waiting, the happy cacophony of the baby shower masked an abiding anxiety about the future of her daughter's family and the twins — a boy and a girl — who are due before June's end.

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It's All Politics
6:19 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

4 Big Players Emerge In Military Sexual Assault Debate

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (center) takes a drink of water as he and other members of the military testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:09 pm

The nation's top military leaders came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday primed to defend their ability to handle, in their chain of command, the sexual assault scandal that has engulfed the armed services.

But the dramatic faceoff with the Senate Armed Services Committee — in particular two of its female members — appeared to only deepen the chasm between the four-star brass and those who want significant change in a system that has failed victims for decades.

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It's All Politics
2:09 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Lautenberg's Death Sets Off New Jersey Senate Scramble

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., died Monday at age 89. He had announced in February that he would not seek re-election in 2014.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

The traditionally collegial U.S. Senate was never a natural fit for Frank Lautenberg, the wealthy New Jersey businessman whose headstrong, CEO style could rankle.

But the five-term senator, who died early Monday at age 89, managed to serve as a passionate and able advocate for a tight collection of causes, from gun control and public health to Israel and mass transit.

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Law
3:45 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

Court Prepares To Write New Chapters In Civil Rights History

The Supreme Court is set to deliver opinions in cases involving affirmative action, the voting rights law and same-sex marriage.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 4:42 pm

It's not unusual for the Supreme Court to find itself at the center of roiling national debates.

But this month, justices are poised to deliver blockbuster opinions involving three of the most divisive issues in the public arena. And in doing so, they will write new and potentially groundbreaking chapters in America's civil rights story.

Affirmative action. Voting rights law. Same-sex marriage.

By June's end, Americans will know if and how public colleges and universities may administer programs designed to enroll more minority students.

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