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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  June 25, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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weather on our website istovided court strikes down a cornerstone of civil rights. onn crawford is there. fordow know where the man with america's secrets is holed-up. bob orr is tracking fugitive edward snowden. opponents try to stop a new rdortion law in texas while supporters say it will improve health care for women. ronuel looks at the controversy. and blindness runs in the jackson family. so does an incomparable vision. we have the story of triumph over tragedy. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. today the supreme court essentially knocked down one of cke pillars of the civil rights movement. it invalidated a key part of the
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voting rights act, the law enacted in 1965 to stop racial discrimination at the polls. the voting rights act requires nine states to get federal approval of changes to their onection laws. heher parts of the country covered by the act include most of new york city and several counties in california. but that requirement for federal approval was struck down in a 5- 4 decision today with chief justice john roberts joined by justices scalia, thomas, kennedy and alito in the majority. liberal justices brier, ginsburg, sotomayor and kagan dissented. jan crawford, our supreme court correspondent has the story. >> reporter: the decision invalidating a section of the voting rights of 1965 deeply divided the justices. but it rested on a simple premise. as chief justice john roberts said, nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. at issue was a provision in the
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act that singled out states with a history of discrimination and voting, mostly in the south and required them to get pre- clearance, approval from the federal government before changing voting procedures. officials in shelby county, alabama, challenged that aovision, arguing the south had dede great progress since the act became law. today should be treated like the rest of the country. in its 5-4 decision, the court aid shelby county had a point, conthe justices turned the spotlight squarely on congress, saying it was wrong to use a decades-old formula to keep the same states under federal oversight. when congress reauthorized the voting rights act in 2006, it continued to rely on rates of minority voter registration and turnout from the 1960s and early 1970s instead of using current tata. history did not end in 1965, the court said. n the years since, voting tests
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shed abolished, disparities in onter registration and turnout rae to race were erased. and african-americans attained political office in record numbers. but justice ruth bader ginsburg, joined by the three other liberal justices said congress assembled volumes of evidence to show federal oversight in the covered jurisdictions worked and that without it the covered states could revert back to their old ways. throwing out pre-clearance when it was worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet. but today's ruling means those covered states and local governments are now free from federal oversight. they can immediately change their voting laws and their procedures without having to come here to washington to get approval first. unless, scott, unless congress can rework that formula to set which states are going to be covered. everyone today, the consensus is, congress is never going to
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be able to agree on that. so that means that you're still going to be able to sue if these laws intentionally discriminate against minorities but those pre-clearance requirements, they're all but dead. >> pelley: and the president said today he was very disappointed by the decision. jan, thanks very much. the voting rights act grew out of a decisive moment in the civil rights movement. the selma to montgomery marches of 1965 where protests of the poll taxes and literacy test that prevented minors from voting. marchers, led by martin luther king jr., and others were repelled by police but they persevered and months later, president johnson invited king to the voting rights act signing ceremony. a research department tells us in 1965, there were no african- american senators and no african-american congressmen from the areas covered by the act, but today there is one senator and 17 congressmen. as chief justice roberts said in his opinion, the country has
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changed. but a question asked by many today is, how much? here's mark strassman. >> reporter: philadelphia, mississippi, has struggled with infamy since the summer of 1964. three civil rights workers registering blacks to vote were murdered by the local ku klux klan. >> we're trying to improve our city. >> reporter: jim prince and leroy clemens are part of the new south. prince runs the local newspaper. clemens heads the county's naacp. they have formed a multiracial coalition in philadelphia to help heal the city's wounds. pr my predecessor would probably not have sat here and trusted jim at all. >> once we kind of got to know each other and understand where the other was coming from, we made a lot more progress. >> reporter: is there still an issue with trust? >> i think it's more about the people who are still in power that want to stay in power. you look at all these new voter suppression things, voter i.d. laws. you see it happening all over
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the country. it's scary. >> reporter: african-americans make up 37% of mississippi voters. the highest percentage in the country. 29% of its state legislature is african-american. heat's also the highest in the country. >> there's been incredible change. basic, drastic change. when is the federal government going to quit punishing us for the sins of our great, great, great grandfathers? >> you may think we're there already. i don't think so. to me, there are still people in positions of power and authority in mississippi and in the south who are not ready to turn over control or share power with the minorities right now. >> reporter: the weight of history on this community may be lighter. but it has not fully lifted. mark strassman, cbs news, philadelphia, mississippi. >> pelley: today russian president putin revealed that edward snowden is still at the
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moscow airport. putin said he will not turn snowden over to the united states. snowden is the former national security agency contract employee wanted for espionage. he exposed two top secret surveillance programs, one that collects the phone records of millions of americans and another that monitors internet traffic. bob orr has the latest. >> reporter: in a clear swipe at aishington president putin said edward snowden has committed no crime on russian soil. so he will not be arrested or expelled. snowden is a free person, putin said in a news conference. he added the sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and russia. but there is no outward signs snowden is preparing to leave moscow and his future travel plans are unknown. >> i'm no different from anybody else. >> reporter: while snowden is carrying some of america's most sensitive intelligence files putin said his security services are not working with the former
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n.s.a. contractor, but u.s. officials are skeptical. putin also pointed out the u.s. and russia have no extradition treaty. but the countries have swapped prisoners and suspects before. again today, the white house asked snowden be returned to face criminal charges. in a statement a national security counsel spokeswoman said there is a clear legal basis to turn him over. we are asking the russian government to take action to expel mr. snowden without delay. and secretary of state john kerry stressed the u.s. does not want to damage relations with russia. >> i would simply appeal for calm and reasonableness in a moment where we don't need to raise the level of confrontation over something as frankly basic and normal as this. >> reporter: but the fact is u.s. prosecutors are apparently no closer to getting their man. there's a growing fear now that they might not ever get him. one law enforcement source told
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us, scott, we probably had our best shot in hong kong. >> pelley: one thing that's not clear. how much information did snowden get away with? >> well, the government is still working to find that out, scott. but sources do tell us that the n.s.a. has been able to retrace his actions at the agency. they believe he accessed a large number of files. the senate intelligence committee chair dianne feinstein said maybe 200 files but others say it could be even more than that. officials fear that everything he took is probably been compromised most likely they say taken by chinese intelligence during that month snowden spent in hong kong. >> pelley: thanks very much, bob. the internal revenue service got more unwanted attention today this time not for targeting political groups but for a congressional investigation that has revealed that a technology contractor won bids worth up to half a million dollars with help from the friend inside the agency. nancy cordes takes a look. >> reporter: this man winning hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contract with the irs sithin months of founding his technology company, strong castle, in early 2012.
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>> we have found the kind of wrongdoing that should have caused this contract to be canceled. >> republican darrell isel a chairs the house oversight committee. they found that just before opening strong castle, castillo filed for a disability rating with the veterans administration, citing a foot injury he suffered in 1984. 27 years ago while playing sports at a military prep school. that rating enabled castillo to register strong castle as a service disabled veteran-owned small business. eligible for preferential treatment in bidding competition. >> understand never served a day on active duty. went to a school attacks payers' expense and had a minor injury that didn't keep him from going on to play college ball. >> castillo who lives in virginia also chose carefully where to locate strong castle. in the heart of chinatown, washington d.c., says his
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company website. a formerly blighted area now bursting with shops and restaurants. but chinatown is still designated a government hub zone which meant castillo's company qualified for even more priority in bidding. yet when investigators visited strong castle's offices repeatedly, no one was there. investigators said it appears castillo's wife manipulated employee time sheets to make it appear that workers spent more time there. all of which castillo denies, telling cbs news in a statement, "throughout our work with the irs, we have never received any improper preferential treatment and have competed fairly for every contract that we have received." the committee told the i.r.s. about their findings several months ago but officials there said it would be too disruptive to cancel a $260 million contract with castillo. and so, scott, he and those officials have both been called to testify here on capitol hill tomorrow. >> pelley: nancy, thank you.
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president obama said today he refuses to condemn future generations to a planet that is saving. with that, he ordered the environmental protection agency to reduce pollution from power plants. more than 40% of america's electricity comes from coal which is a big producer of greenhouse gases. we saw more encouraging signs about the economy today. homes are selling at the fastest pace in five years. in the 20 biggest cities, home prices jumped more than 12% in april from the year before. and a business group said that consumer confidence is at a five-year high. will a filibuster block a controversial abortion law? jurors at george zimmerman's murder trial saw pictures of trayvon martin's body today. and a boss is being held hostage by his own workers. when the cbs evening news continues.
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hospital within 30 miles, and it would require clinics to grade their facilities to the level of surgical centers. manuel is following this for us. >> reporter: democratic state senator wendy davis started talking at 11:18 this morning. she wore tennis shoes for a filibuster because she must stay on her feet until midnight. >> the actions intended by our state leaders on this particular bill hurt texans. there is no doubt about that. >> reporter: texas would become the fifth state to require abortions be performed in hospital-style operating rooms. bill opponents say the expense of upgrades would force narily all of the state's abortion clinics to close. amy miller is ceo of whole women's health which manages five texas clinics. what would you have to do? >> i'd have to knock down the wall between this room and another room. i'd have to add air flow system.
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i would have to have oxygen piped in through the walls instead of in the tank that we have in here. >> reporter: she estimates costs could reach $2 mill per clinic. your goal here is what? >> it's safety and abortions. reporter: republican senator bob is a doctor and an author of the bill. >> all of these things have been proven to improve patient care. we think that if we acknowledge that abortion is legal that we also feel that if a woman is going to have an abortion that they need to do it in the best possible situation. ne having abortions done in ambulatory surgical center will not make them more safe. i think our opposition has been very strategic and very effective at using the stigma that surrounds unplanned pregnancy in this country and the stigma that surrounds abortion to cause a sense of alarm. >> reporter: the texas medical association hassles voiced its opposition to the new measure. scott, even if the filibuster succeeds, governor rick perry can call another special session to try to move the bill through. >> pelley: more to come on this story. manuel, thanks very much.
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at george zimmerman's trial in sanford, florida, a crime scene investigator is taking jurors through the events of the night that zimmerman shot and killed trayvon martin. today the jurors say photographs of martin's body and the handgun used to kill him. zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is accused of murdering martin who was unarmed. zimmerman claims it was self- defense. more than a million dollars in cash has vanished from a jetliner. we'll have the story when we come back. weigh you down?
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will make history. next weather talent appears at wx center with generic >> pelley: finally tonight, a rare and mysterious affliction has hit dozens of members of the same family in eastern iowa. some might call it a family curse, but benita tells us they prefer to look at their blessings. >> reporter: 67-year-old jerry jackson still works two jobs every day. he views the world a little differently than most. >> here you go. do you have the spoke. >> reporter: the iowa man has been blind for 25 years. the four family members sitting with him, cousins jan and ron, his two daughters share the rare genetic disorder that took his sight. how old were you when you started having real vision problems? >> probably 1970 i had to give up driving.
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in '73 i noticed that it was just too dangerous to try to drive. i couldn't see far enough forward. >> reporter: jackson was in his 20s at the time. his mother was blind and so were other family members, but it wasn't until he was in his 40s that he was diagnosed with a disease which causes extreme inflammation of the retina. doctors realized the genetic disorder had already passed through three generations of his extended family. there are about 100 cases reported in the united states. they account for 61. >> my mother went blind. my brother went blind. my cousin has gone blind. one of these days i know i will too. >> reporter: shannon and shauna started having problems in their 30s. both are now legally blind. >> you just think it's the end of the world. then like with my dad, he still is going full throttle. i know we can too. >> he's always telling me there's worse things in life than being blind. and i'm like yes, you're right. there is.
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>> reporter: do you think your outlook has made it easier to deal with this disease? >> i just accept i'm just going to make the best of it. i don't even think of it anymore. as being blind. i'm enjoying life as much as it can give me, you know. >> have a good day. >> reporter: jackson says the disease which robbed him of sight has helped him to see life a lot more clearly. cbs news, burlington, iowa. >> pelley: that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs ores captioned by media access group at wgbh
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proof, of the problems at t p-u-c. tonight, bay area attorneys say: th - packing chief, told ed. >> it is so disappointing and frustrating. is there anything i can do as one person to change this system that's corrupt? critics say it is proof of the problems at the puc. tonight, bay area attorneys say therapist top-packing chief told -- say therapist top- packing chief told them back him up or else. >> i am elizabeth cook. >> i am ken bay area -- bastida. >> kpix's linda yee on some of the bizarre emails and some new out rage from the victims of the pipeline blast. >> reporter: bizarre indeed,
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ken. the accusations are flying all about, not only about the alleged intimidating emails, but his presence. some believe he packs a gain knife. is all of that true? we heard from that puc director less than an hour ago. >> it was a record two and a quarter billion dollar fine for the gas explosion that killed eight people, but a new fire storm broke out inside the state puc when one of its directors decide pge can apply the fine to the billions already spent making repairs. there was a list of expenses. puc lawyers who investigated the explosion refused to sign off on that, demanding to know who made the expense list. i don't have to tell you. just include the items or else said puc director jack