News in Brief: House GOP Attorney Stops Fighting for Defense of Marriage Act, and More

House GOP Attorney Stops Fighting for Defense of Marriage Act

According to Think Progress, House GOP-hired attorney Paul Clement, a former solicitor general, recently dropped the Defense of Marriage Act as a case. Clement was hired at $520 per hour to defend the bill, a rate that was paid for through taxes; Clement's firm, King and Spalding, released a statement explaining that “the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate.” Think Progress says it is likely that King and Spalding dropped the case after it began to feel pressure from gay rights groups, which reflected badly on the firm's previously good record on employment practices regarding gay attorneys and staff.

Taliban Breaks at Least 480 Out of Afghan Prison

The Associated Press reports that Taliban militants tunneled at least 480 inmates out of a Kandahar prison overnight in southern Afghanistan, helping them escape through a 1,000-foot-long underground passage that they had been digging over the course of several months. Officials at Sarposa prison said they discovered the breakout around 4:00 AM, half an hour after all of the prisoners had been sprung; the entire operation was completed over the course of several hours without a shot being fired. Mohammad Abdullah, who had been in Sarposa for two years for stockpiling weapons, said he helped organize the breach and told The Associated Press that several of the inmates who were freed had received copies of cell keys from “friends.” Abdulla's comments suggested that some of the guards had possibly conspired with the Taliban to set the prisoners free. Most of the 480 freed were Taliban fighters.

Latino Voters Dissatisfied With Both Democrats and Republicans

New America Media writes that one-third of registered Latino voters do not believe that either major political party is interested in reaching the Latino demographic, leading many to say that they are undecided about whom to vote for in 2012. An Impremedia/Latino Decisions poll surveyed 500 registered voters in the 21 states with the highest Latino populations; while 66 percent said that the GOP has been hostile to Latinos, only 43 percent said that they planned to vote for Obama in the next presidential election.

Pentagon Officials Hint at Budget-Cutting Details

Pentagon officials offered a few details this week about a comprehensive strategy review that will help legislators start targeting ways to cut $400 billion from the budget by 2023, The Hill reports. President Barack Obama announced in an April 13 speech that he placed the Pentagon in charge of the strategy assessment, but the recent public appearance by senior officials show that initial results of the study are months away. Department of Defense acquisition chief Ashton Carter said on Wednesday that the biggest cuts will likely target private contractors and major weapon programs. Carter said the contributions of private contractors amount to such things as “cutting the grass.”