As President Obama continues to take heat for nominating to the federal bench a judge who once wanted to keep the Confederate emblem on the Georgia state flag, the White House says what's partly to blame for the choice is an old Senate tradition.
It turns out that tradition â€” which gives virtual veto power over judicial nominations to home state senators â€” helps explain why almost all the judicial vacancies without nominees are now in states with Republican senators.
Pakistan is reeling from the latest so-called "honor killing." A pregnant woman was stoned to death just feet from a courthouse for marrying a man against her family's wishes. Police stood by as family members, including a woman, took part in the killing.
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The agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states have withered after four years of extreme drought. Farmers in Oklahoma are bracing for one of the worst wheat crops in the state's history. As StateImpact's Joe Wertz tells us, that poor wheat harvest could have national consequences.
JOE WERTZ: Wayne Schmedt adjust's his faded, blue baseball cap and crouches down in a wind-whipped field of stunted wheat.
W. SCHMEDT: We don't have any use for this, so we'll give it to you as a souvenir.
In Afghanistan, campaigning is underway for that country's presidential runoff election. Two candidates are competing to succeed President Hamid Karzai. And the vote is set for June 14. The first round was largely considered a success - with less violence and fraud than expected. And voter turnout exceeded expectations. But as NPR's Sean Carberry reports, there are growing concerns that the second round could be a far messier affair.