DAYBREAK DAILY: Va. gay marriage case hits federal court Tuesday

ABC7 WEATHER: Overcast with a mix of light snow & rain and highs in the upper 40s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Comprehensive coverage of this morning’s nasty commute; Seattle crushes Denver 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

LANDMARK CASE NIGH: Of same-sex marriage, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “A federal court in Norfolk for the first time will hear both sides Tuesday in the landmark Bostic v. Rainey case aimed at overturning Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Timothy Bostic, a professor at Old Dominion University, and his partner Tony C. London, a real estate agent and U.S. Navy veteran, filed the suit last year after the couple was denied a marriage license at the Norfolk Circuit Court clerk’s office.

“. . . U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen said last week that Tuesday’s hearing will go forward as planned. The judge had asked whether the parties still wanted oral arguments in light of what she called a “compelling” filing by Attorney General Mark R. Herring. The newly elected attorney general recently sparked a controversy when he announced that he considers Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and that he would not only refuse to defend the ban in court but side with the plaintiffs.”

AFTER THE SHOOTING: Haunting memories, per the Baltimore Sun, “Shafon Robinson found comfort in how well her children seemed to be coping this past week. They had been elsewhere in The Mall in Columbia when the shooter killed two store employees and — in a moment that still haunts her — turned and fired at her. He missed, and in the ensuing days, Robinson felt the fallout for her family would be limited — until she received a call from the school about her youngest.“She won’t stop screaming,” Robinson said she was told.

“Anxious outbursts, restless nights and troubled dreams have followed home some of the shoppers and workers who were at the mall last Saturday. Their turmoil may pale in comparison to the grief of those who lost loved ones that day, but counselors say such a terrifying event in what is essentially Columbia’s town square could produce emotional collateral damage.”

MARYLAND CARE: Behind the bugs, per the Washington Post, “For nearly two months, top Maryland leaders have promised to investigate what went wrong with the launch of the state’s online health insurance marketplace. But they have been vague on when or how that would happen. Last week, legislative leaders said that instead of continuing to question health officials and request documents, they are likely to defer to a previously scheduled state audit of the exchange that is expected to begin this summer and could take a year to complete. That angered many Republicans and some Democrats who want a full accounting now.

“They said that a delay could also spare Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), who is running for governor, from having to publicly address more questions about the exchange before the Democratic primary on June 24 or the general election in November. Brown was tasked with implementing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in Maryland.”

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN: Obit, per the Los Angeles Times, “Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the most acclaimed character actors and ambitious performers of his generation, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said. He was 46. A business associate discovered Hoffman in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his left forearm at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, police said. Two glassine envelopes containing what was thought to be heroin were near his body, and five empty envelopes were found in the trash, police said. The city medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death.

“. . . A bear-like, perennially rumpled presence known as an actor's actor, Hoffman displayed considerable range during a career that spanned more than 20 years and nearly 60 films. He worked with top directors — including, repeatedly, the Coen brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson and Bennett Miller — and appeared opposite a constellation of Hollywood's biggest stars. The work brought him four Academy Award nominations, three Tony nominations and an Emmy nod, not to mention critics association accolades.”

CHEMICAL WARFARE: Cutting it off at the source, per the New York Times, “Even as the international effort to destroy Syria’s vast chemical weapons stockpile lags behind schedule, a similar American-backed campaign carried out under a cloak of secrecy ended successfully last week in another strife-torn country, Libya.

“The United States and Libya in the past three months have discreetly destroyed what both sides say were the last remnants of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s lethal arsenal of chemical arms. They used a transportable oven technology to destroy hundreds of bombs and artillery rounds filled with deadly mustard agent, which American officials had feared could fall into the hands of terrorists. The effort also helped inspire the use of the technology in the much bigger disposal plan in Syria.”

DEADLY DIVE: An intriguing and exhaustive special report, per the Virginian-Pilot, “The pond at Aberdeen Proving Ground was awash in the sounds of a military dive site: the thud of heavy equipment on a floating barge, air cylinders clanging against one another, the muffled tones and beeps of hand-held radio communications. Navy divers readied their dry suits, prepping for a day of diving in 40-degree water on that February morning in Maryland.

“. . . This is what Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 trained for – diving deep to locate and retrieve wreckage. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was something most of them were eager to do, a job they would actually be called on to perform. They didn’t know that every decision they made on the pond that afternoon of Feb. 26, 2013, would later be scrutinized, every action and reaction analyzed. That they would replay those 24 agonizing minutes of increasing desperation over and over again, hoping every time for a different outcome.”

SURPRISE LINE OF QUESTIONING: Or not, per The Hill, “President Obama on Sunday defended his administration’s handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens dead. Obama, under questioning from Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, reiterated his claim that the administration did not try to conceal that the fact it was a terrorist attack in order to help Obama’s reelection campaign.

“I’ve gone thorough this and we’ve had multiple hearings on this,” Obama said. The president was asked what exactly Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told him when informing him of the attack. “He told me it was an attack on our compound,’ Obama said. “The fact of the matter is that people understood at the time that something very dangerous was happening." Obama said that the notion the administration would “hide the ball” was false and he blamed Fox News for convincing people otherwise.”

POLITICO PLAY: “For Janet Yellen, getting confirmed was the easy part.

“Shortly after she takes over as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve on Monday, Yellen will begin intense preparations for a grilling by ornery members of Congress. Two dozen Fed staffers will crowd into a chamber off the central bank’s main boardroom in Washington and begin firing questions at her on every conceivable topic, from economic policy to bank regulation to international affairs. Yellen’s interrogators will mimic the style of lawmakers, usually more interested in making speeches than posing true queries, just to see how she responds.”

SUPER BOWL XLVIII: Just the facts, per the Associated Press, “Lombardi Trophy, the Seahawks were surrounded by security guards in orange jackets. It was the first time anyone in that color stopped them all night. The Seahawks stayed true to their mantra to make each day a championship day. They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game — sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.

“The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown by punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8. That masterful defense, the NFL's stingiest, never let the five-time MVP get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history. "The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense," linebacker Bobby Wagner said.”

MEANWHILE: A “monster” is unleashed, per the Seattle Times, “Blue and green confetti everywhere, falling gently down like Seattle rain. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is soaked, the victim of two Gatorade showers. Russell Okung kisses the Lombardi Trophy as NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen totes it to the stage. The 12th Man roars, even in MetLife Stadium. Kam Chancellor barks, and Marshawn Lynch flees to seek solitude, grinning.

“These are snapshots of a long-overdue celebration, images that will stay with Seattle sports fans for a lifetime, memories made permanent by the baddest team to roam the NFL in quite some time.

“The Seahawks didn’t just happen to be the best team in an any-given-Sunday league, not after the way they pounded the Denver Broncos, a great team with a future Hall of Famer at quarterback and the most prolific offense in league history. After an emphatic 43-8 victory in Super Bowl XLVIII, they’re now the monster of the NFL, a young team built to chase many more championships, an unsatisfied team that can’t yet comprehend why the world is shocked that they make greatness look easy.”

ON THE FLIP SIDE: Same song for Archie’s son, per the Denver Post, “It took Peyton Manning 37 years to build a reputation as the best quarterback in NFL history, and only 12 seconds in the Super Bowl to fumble it away. Duck, Peyton.

“As much as it hurt to be humiliated by a 43-8 loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl, the pain will be nothing compared to the heat Manning will take for flopping on football's biggest stage. The Broncos were so bad Sunday, the sun might be embarrassed to show its face in Colorado.

"The word embarrassing is an insulting word, to tell you the truth," an obviously irked Manning said Sunday.

“Football is not fair, and then you die a thousand deaths as a quarterback when your team looks scared and unprepared on the game's biggest stage. With an 11-12 record in the postseason, Manning gets dissed for choking in the postseason. This loss won't help. Rout is not a strong enough four-letter word to describe how poorly the Broncos played. After throwing two first-half interceptions that ignited Seattle's rout, Manning will take the brunt of the blame.”

MYSTERY AUDIT: Or something like that, per City Paper, “Well, it was worth a shot. Despite requests from At-Large Councilmember and mayoral hopeful Vincent Orange, the Office of Campaign Finance says it still won't publish the Vince Gray 2010 campaign audit that it finished in May 2012.

“OCF finished a draft of the unreleased audit a year and a half ago, on May 15, 2012. But in a Jan. 28 letter to Orange, Gray, and government operations chair Kenyan McDuffie, Board of Elections chairwoman Deborah K. Nichols writes that the final audit can't be produced until OCF gets evidence held by Ron Machen's U.S. Attorney's Office.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Caps beat Detroit 6-5.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “While his brother Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, D.C.'s own Potomac Phil predicted six more months of political gridlock in Washington. Dozens of people gathered in Dupont Circle Sunday morning to hear the groundhog's political and weather predictions.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- Does the District need to change the way it elects politicians? Council candidate Bryan Weaver makes the case for nonpartisan primaries.

--Skip Wood