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.

Fifty-six years ago this weekend, newspapers across the nation told a sad tale of a family seemingly imploding.

At the center of the story was Coya Knutson, the opera-singing daughter of a Norwegian farmer, and the first woman from Minnesota elected to Congress.

Voted in on her own merits, not appointed to keep a late husband's seat warm for a successor, the trailblazing mother could only watch as vengeful party rivals, a manufactured scandal, and a feckless, alcoholic husband combined to sabotage her career.

It all came to a head on the eve of Mother's Day 1958.

There's a congressional election in Florida on Tuesday that's worth watching — even if you don't live in the Tampa Bay-area district where it's taking place.

It's not because the winner of the neck-and-neck special election between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly will affect the GOP's stranglehold on the U.S. House this cycle. It won't.

Darrin P. Gayles, a Florida state circuit judge, appears to be on track to become the nation's first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gayles, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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.

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?

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.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's off-script, thirst-quenching moment during his rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday night was the gulp heard 'round the world.

Or at least in Twitter World, the place where the trivial goes not to die, but to flourish.

The big demographic story out of the 2012 presidential election may have been President Obama's domination of the Hispanic vote, and rightfully so.

But as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.

A Florida judge on Friday denied Republican Rep. Allen West's last-ditch bid for a recount of early-voting ballots in the close and ugly re-election race he is losing to Democrat Patrick Murphy.

West's effort to wrest the race from Murphy, who is leading in a race that has yet to be officially called, now goes to the St. Lucie County elections board, which was scheduled to review his complaint late Friday.

It was unclear when it would rule.

Paging Jeb Bush.

Your party needs you.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's election losses, Republicans have been scrambling to formulate a fix for what went wrong.

A big part of that calculation involves repairing relations with Hispanics, the fast-growing electoral power base that rejected Republican Mitt Romney's "self deportation" immigration solution and voted for President Obama in numbers that exceeded 70 percent.

Election Day is promising many firsts — and not just the obvious ones.

Yes, the country could get its first Mormon president if Republican Mitt Romney is elected. And of course, it could get its first two-term African-American commander in chief if President Obama is re-elected.

But Tuesday offers a smorgasbord of other potential "first" opportunities across the nation — from New Hampshire, which could end up with the nation's first all-female congressional delegation, to Arizona, which could elect its first Hispanic U.S. senator.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears a man under siege.

His political strategists are feuding over the direction of the campaign. He bungled his "presidential moment" with an ill-timed and ill-informed response to violence in Libya that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Framing the coming election as a choice between fundamentally different visions, President Obama offered himself to the country Thursday as a fire-tested leader ready to finish the job he started.

"Our problems can be solved," Obama said. "Our challenges can be met."

It was an older, battle-scarred nominee who faced his party in Charlotte, N.C. This message of hope was tempered and longer-view — a good distance if not a full turn from the vision he offered four years ago when he accepted the nomination in a thundering Denver stadium.

Jeb Bush acknowledged that he had something he wanted to get off his chest, and he did.

Appearing Thursday at a Republican convention that has barely mentioned his brother — two-term President George W. Bush — Jeb Bush took a point of personal prerogative (he is, after all, also the son of a former president), to honor his brother and scold the man who followed him into the Oval Office.

It's been the political world's obsession for weeks leading into the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Would nominee Mitt Romney manage what would be miraculous for any candidate, and in a handful of days and one big speech wash away the problems of a modern candidacy?

Turns out Romney's moment Thursday night was a fine one, if not a great one.

His speech continued the campaign's concerted effort to reach out to skeptical female voters, reminding the audience that his strong mother ran for Senate.

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