• An important point here is that although Panetti’s crime and trial occurred before 2005, when Texas enacted life without parole (LWOP) as an alternative to the death penalty, there is a basis for commuting Panetti’s sentence to LWOP. A favorite excuse for executing the mentally ill in Texas is that supposedly a commutation to LWOP [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Trayvon Martin’s ghost did not persuade the jury to convict Theodore Wafer by Masoninblue.

    2014-11-01 17:31:33View | Delete

    Of course, since Michigan was the first jurisdiction in the U.S.A., and maybe in the English-speaking world, to abolish the death penalty (in 1846, effective 1847), it wasn’t an issue here. Second degree murder seems to me about right, since this evidently wasn’t preplanned, and I lean to William Bradford’s view in 1793 that the [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Boston Bombing News: Leaks & Witness Intimidation​? by jane24.

    2014-10-28 09:32:07View | Delete

    Response to woodybox @ 24 My own assumption is that each phase of the trial could be critical — assuming that there might be a penalty trial. Mitigation is so varied, and often so much in the eye of the beholder (with effective counsel helping a jury not only by presenting the right witnesses, but [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Israeli Chooses “Honorable Life” Over Joining Military by David Swanson.

    2014-10-28 09:18:58View | Delete

    Response to Jim @ 5

    Why don’t we say, “Third offer of a bantustan”?

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Israeli Chooses “Honorable Life” Over Joining Military by David Swanson.

    2014-10-27 18:46:21View | Delete

    Three cheers for Danielle on every count: the courage of her convictions, the courage of her example, and the courage of vision shown by her call for the realistic as well as right solution: a pluralistic Israel-Palestine.

  • Thank you, Elliott, for a diary with a very different view of Watergate from what we knew 40 years ago (with August 8, 2014, marking the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s announcement that he would resign). Back then, John Dean’s compelling narrative before the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973, together with our own experience in [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Boston Bombing News: Leaks & Witness Intimidation​? by jane24.

    2014-10-27 18:23:04View | Delete

    Jane, you ask a good question about why a federal court would tolerate these leaks which could certainly be prejudicial to a fair trial, and one reaction is to think of something with which David Bruck may be all too familiar. That is the area of improper prosecutorial arguments in the penalty phase of a [...]

  • If the development of the double jeopardy concept in the USA over the last century and a bit more is one backdrop for the Pistorius case, another and recent aspect is the movement in the UK and elsewhere to move beyond the double jeopardy bar itself. In Pistorius, as in Palko v. Connecticut (1937), the issue [...]

  • Masoninblue, thank you for calling our attention to a really interesting area of comparative law: double jeopardy as it applies to serious criminal offenses, and especially murder. Thanks to you and your diary, I learned of some fascinating developments in this area. For those accustomed to traditional Anglo-American law — or at least the way [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the blog post Missouri Joins the Move Toward Marriage Equality

    2014-10-04 16:08:18View | Delete

    Please note that there’s an “Edit” option below my comment, but when I tried it to correct a couple of mistakes, my cursor simply moved down to the comment box for a new comment. I know that with elinks I was unable to use replying where I would reply to an earlier comment and get the author and number automatically entered, so this could be a browser-specific issue. And my mistakes don’t seem to affect meaning, so I may let that go.

  • Margo Schulter commented on the blog post Missouri Joins the Move Toward Marriage Equality

    2014-10-04 16:02:03View | Delete

    A really interesting decision to read, and with lots of references to Judge Posner’s very literate and readable decision for the Seventh Circuit, including his “Go figure”!

    Of course, the secret here is that the arguments get more and more absurd as States grapple with the same fact that marriage equality won’t undo any straight couple’s marriage, prevent them from having childrer, or lower Kentucky’s birthrate, hurting its economic prosperity.

    Since this was a case about recognizing out-of-state marriages rather than marriage within a state, it was even easier: what’s a simple or more consistent rule than recognizing any marriage valid where contracted?

    What amazed me a bit is the argument Missouri seemed to raise for some other marriage case involving the granting of a license that the “one man, one woman” rule means a more uniform administration of the law. What’s hard about “two people of the requisite ages, neither of whom are already marriaged to anyone else, and who are outside the restricted degrees of consanguinity and otherwise competent to give their mutual consent”?

    Of course, the judge also cited the familiar and important cite from Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the case that overturned state sodomy laws, that tradition alone cannot justify an unconstitutional practice — here omitting the following passage that specifically cites a law against miscegenation (alluding to the Loving case, of course).

    One possible point of relevance for Judge Sutton and the Sixth Circuit, whose decision we are eagerly awaiting. It’s noteworthy that the Missouri Court didn’t have to wrestle with issues of whether discrimination by sexual orientation call for heightened scrutiny, because there’s no legitimate rational basis for the marriage ban in any event!

    Judge Sutton, as I recall, raised the question of whether there was any rational basis for the statutes he and his two colleagues are reviewing, and indicated that he had doubts. If he follows Judge Posner (his mentor, although not one he always follows uncritically), and possibly is influenced by other opinions like this state court decision in Missouri, then he might reach a minimalistic kind of decision overturning at least some of the bans as having no rational basis. That would avoid a conflict between federal circuit courts (all of which have so far, post-Windsor, overturned these bans), and also spare Judge Sutton the need to consider either whether marriage is a fundamental right under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or whether discrimination by sexual orientation calls for heightened scrutiny (as the Second and Ninth Circuits, for example, have held).

  • Response to eCAHNomics @ 6 Certainly women take part in carrying out U.S. foreign policy — as also Madeleine Albright with sanctions against Iraq in the 1990′s. The question would be whether they are actually making policy afresh, or rather on behalf of patriarchal and capitalist interests. This is where we get into privileges and [...]

  • Response to agourabum @ 4 Just for the record, I’m totally opposed to executions by Hamas, and these human rights violations present good cause for international sanctions, much like executions in the USA. That’s a single standard. But Hamas is not all Palestine and Palestinians: around Nazareth, I suspect that the Christian Palestinians would not [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post James Foley Is Not a War Ad by David Swanson.

    2014-09-13 21:48:00View | Delete

    That should be “lethal injection” executions, and the recorded botches in the USA, including some in the past months, are horrific.

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post James Foley Is Not a War Ad by David Swanson.

    2014-09-13 21:45:13View | Delete

    Whoever is responsible for the murder of Foley should stand trial in a civilized courtroom such as the Hague, and receive some humane punishment. But that trial couldn’t take place in the U.S.A. if civilized authorities were in control of the case — at least not unless or until the USA abolishes the brutal death [...]

  • Please let’s not confuse the reality of political Zionism in Historical Palestine since 1882, and of al-Nakba (the Palestinian Catastrophe) from 1947 to the present, with Jews and either religious Judaism or ethnic Jewishness! Patriarchy is ugly in all kinds of manifestations, and as Raymonda Hawa Tawil has shown in her courageous book My Home, My [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Truly Respecting A Woman’s Right To Choose by toriach.

    2014-08-26 20:03:03View | Delete

    More generally, the challenge of raising any child, “special needs” or not, is profound and often vastly underestimated, especially by the “right to life up until, and only up until, birth” factions! As a Lesbian feminist who could not have had children and would be too old now anyway, I can’t speak from a real first-person [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post What Might Be Done for Gazans Beyond Hamas? by EdwardTeller.

    2014-08-26 19:49:36View | Delete

    That should be, “separating the Palestinian Arabs from their land” along the Green Line.

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post What Might Be Done for Gazans Beyond Hamas? by EdwardTeller.

    2014-08-26 19:48:24View | Delete

    Response to DrVonNagle @ 2 Your brief history may fit the general impressions of the “world community,” but we know that the “Palestinian problem” in its modern form goes back to 1947-1949 and al-Nakba. Around 1955, the Rabbi Elmer Berger of the American Council for Judaism visited the Near East, including at least one Palestinian [...]

  • Margo Schulter commented on the diary post Hamas uses civilian deaths as propoganda by agourabum.

    2014-08-25 09:46:27View | Delete

    Response to DrVonNagle @ 16 The reason I asked the question was that @10, you referred to “the Jew’s right to have their own country.” The words “their own country” could suggest a country not shared with others, here the indigenous Palestinian Arabs. The Rabbi Magnes started by noting that both Palestinian Arabs and Jews [...]

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