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1 year, 10 months ago
  • I think both are.

    The ability to marry appears to reduce suicides among affected groups.

    Marijuana is a major portion of our over-incarceration, particularly of minorities.

    That said, feel free to skip stories about either.

  • Reading the DOMA brief http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/12-307_jnt1.pdf – interesting quotes:

    CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I would have thought
    your answer would be that the Executive’s obligation to
    execute the law includes the obligation to execute the
    law consistent with the Constitution. And if he has
    made a determination that executing the law by enforcing
    the terms is unconstitutional, I don’t see why he
    doesn’t have the courage of his convictions and execute
    not only the statute, but do it consistent with his view
    of the Constitution, rather than saying, oh, we’ll wait
    till the Supreme Court tells us we have no choice.

    And probably the most important one:

    JUSTICE KENNEDY: We’re helping the States
    do — if they do what we want them to, which is — which
    is not consistent with the historic commitment of
    marriage and — and of questions of — of the rights of
    children to the State.

    – note that the rights of the children of married couples was a concern of his in yesterday’s oral argument as well.

    Favorite exchange; too bad she isn’t the centrist in the Court:
    JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: General, your bottom
    line is, it’s an equal protection violation for the
    Federal Government, and all States as well?
    GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes, Your Honor, and
    that’s the — we took the position we took yesterday
    with respect to marriage — the analysis -

    I think the most likely result, if the Court were to decide today, is striking down DOMA. There appear to be 5 votes to strike down DOMA. Again, I can’t read Roberts, and Thomas didn’t speak..

  • My brief reading of the oral arguments was that were it to be decided today, there would be 4 in favor of marriage countrywide, 2 opposed to any expansion of marriage, and possibly a contraction, 1 silent (likely against marriage, but he does surprise me around 1% of the time), 1 opposed to expanding to the whole country (probably against in general, but it was harder to determine), and 1 wishing that the case weren’t before him (Kennedy).

    Were the case to be decided on that basis, I think the easiest majority they could get would be to decide that the appellants had no standing, and thus vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and uphold the district court ruling (essentially a 1-state solution). The main reason I think it might be decided on that basis is that they spent roughly half the time discussing standing (which is typically well-determined prior to a case going to the Supreme Court), and several of the justices appeared to express concern about what the ramifications would be on their work load if they allowed the current appellants to have standing in this case.


    That said, I rarely read oral arguments, and I have no special insight; take the above with a heap of salt.

    @Teddy Partridge – the Supremes don’t have to answer to anyone, save the never-invoked specter of impeachment by Congress, and (probably more significantly) the work load that they end up generating for themselves via feedback. They can decide on ay basis that they want. The reason for guidelines like Stare decisis are really to reduce their own workload.

  • Yes.

    You could argue that it’s in no small part a re-statement of the United States v. Windsor using the facts of this case; it’s even fairly likely that that case was a major source used in writing this brief. However, that in itself has some value, as the facts in United States v. Windsor are different.

  • This brief argues that “classifications based on sexual orientation call for application of heightened scrutiny” (page 6)

    It then argues that Proposition 8 fails to meet heightened scrutiny:
    “Petitioners defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on the basis of three governmental interests purportedly served by the initiative: (i) an interest in promoting responsible procreation and child-rearing; (ii) an interest in proceeding with caution before recognizing same-sex marriage; and (iii) an interest in restoring democratic authority over an issue of significance to the state’s citizens. None of those interests satisfies heightened scrutiny.” (page 18)

    As such, it a pretty good brief. Heightened scrutiny is the same level of scrutiny used for sex-based discrimination. If the Supreme Court coalesces a majority around this, Proposition 8 would be revoked and (most likely) most places with Civil Unions (or any lesser form of marriage) would presumably be replaced with marriage. This is why SCOTUSblog calls it the “eight-state solution”- it would presumably directly affect current law in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

    While I personally would prefer a decision that would extend equal marriage to all states and territories, I haven’t analyzed each individual Justice’s opinion on hints of how they may render their opinions (the only Justice I was certain of was O’Connor, and she retired); I think it’s quite possible that the drafter(s) thought that this was the most pro-marriage opinion that had a reasonable chance of getting accepted.

    That said, if this became the opinion of the court, it would create a foundation upon which to build in not just marriage equality- but equality overall; a ruling opinion of sexual orientation as a class for heightened scrutiny would, by itself be worth a lot in future cases – it could be used to attack any specifically anti-LGB law, and would be useful in taking down current, discriminatory laws.

    As for the date of the opinion, many lawyers consider it good practice to file just before the filing deadline. For all we know, they may have drafted it months ago; the advantage of waiting is that if anything happens between the time you drafted it and the filing date, you can change your filing with no additional effort (or chance of being turned down) on your part.

  • I really don’t understand their point of view.

    1) Boy Scouts favors religions. They even advertise which religions they favor by having a set of badges for specific religions. Here’s the list (warning: link to BSA site):

    2) A number of these religions perform same-gendered marriage, in whole or in (large) part(s).

    3) I really don’t understand what to conclude from #1 and #2. Is the BSA blind to some of the religions that they favor, despite some of these religions having changed their policies recently and publicly? Is the BSA trying to subvert the “duty to God” in their own members?

    On the other hand, I could change the topic to religion and the BSA, change a few details, and have pretty much the same comments – they require devotion to a religion, and call it a “duty to God” when some of the religions they favor don’t have a singular deity.

    Perhaps the correct conclusion to reach is that logic isn’t a strong point in the BSA leadership.

  • “How and why any woman in this country could purport to be or vote republican is waay beyond my meager sensibilities.”

    I think it’s a combination of faith in some set of shared Republican beliefs (not that there necessarily are any such – just that they believe in them and that they believe they are shared, at least to some degree) and viewing their party as a “team” (as in a sports team) that they want to win regardless of what they do or how they do it.

    Convincing someone that their “home team” is actually working against them can be difficult, even with hard evidence. Perhaps the best people to ask are some of those who have made the transition.

  • clumping “Ayn Rand/Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan” together
    – I do not think I clumped them together; I didn’t mention Romney in my comment, and I tried to separate recent political use of Ayn Rand’s work from Paul Ryan’s budget; are you perhaps confusing my comment with that from another commenter or Autumn, perhaps?

    If you feel that the real problem in the original article is that Objectivism is mis-represented, please consider posting a useful reference.

  • I don’t think I can comment on the historical context of Objectivism – but I don’t think I need to. While its historical context may be useful for a study of the topic, the much more relevant item on a current political blog is how it is used in modern politics.

    Ryan’s proposed budget is infeasible (in other word, the numbers don’t add up – nor do they come close), would significantly reduce the taxes on those who have money, and dramatically decrease the social safety net. Whatever Rand originally thought (and whatever Ryan currently thinks of her philosophy), her work has been used in the past decades to forward both of the later objectives (although most groups using her work have done their math better). As an example: In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance… the principle will be practicable only in a fully free society, a society whose government has been constitutionally reduced to its proper, basic functions.

    Those most offended by the idea that I do not automatically owe you simply because you’v had some bad luck and or made some bad choices, are those who really DO feel that they have an automatic right to take from we and dictate to me what I owe them. This ideal is obviously indefensible, at least, by reasonable, intelligent people.

    It’s the difference between asking for help from someone that doesn’t owe you anything, and demanding it from them, at gunpoint.

    I’m not clear what you’re either attempting to defend or attack here.

    p.s.: minor spelling note in the original article: “~Any Rand” -> “~Ayn Rand”

  • Since I didn’t recognize some of them, here’s the abbreviations:
    ENDA – Employee Non-Discrimination Act
    SNDA – Student Non-Discrimination Act
    SSIA – Student Non-Discrimination Act
    UAFA – Uniting American Families Act
    ECDF – Every Child Deserves a Family Act
    DOMA – “Defense” Of Marriage Act.

  • My understanding is that both the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud have more than one member each, and I think they’re supporting Romney.

    I can see a few possible reasons:
    1) They view Romney’s economic policies as more positive than his anti-LGBT polices are a negative.
    2) They recall that he was governor when Massachusetts started allowing same-sex marriages, but little else, and therefore consider him pro-LGBT in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
    3) They are more interested in their party winning than the details of what such a win would mean.
    4) They have difficulty distinguishing between someone who states that they are for slightly better second class-status for LGBTs versus someone who favors worse second-class status. The difference between someone wanting full equality and permanent second-class status is more clear.

    However my speculations may be less useful than what the aforementioned organizations have stated about the recent Romney speech:

    Romney Message to
    Goldwater Conservatives: Drop Dead

    (slightly before the speech)

    Governor Mitt Romney’s statement in opposition to not just marriage but civil unions jeopardizes his ability to win moderates, women and younger voters, especially as a large majority of Americans favor some form of relationship recognition for their LGBT friends and neighbors. Ultimately, the response of the Republican candidates this election cycle will determine not just endorsements by Log Cabin Republicans, but the votes of millions of Americans who are simply tired of the culture wars.

    - so maybe LCR isn’t supporting Romney after all…

  • While I think you’re simplifying, you’re largely correct; the number of major parties will nearly always be two. Our electoral system is a significant factor in this, but there are others; in a number of jurisdictions, it’s quite a bit harder for a third party to get on the ballot than either of the primary two parties.

    Also, most third party schemes make the assumption that the current parties are static. However, if a third party gains traction, there’s nothing to prevent either or both of the major parties from attempting to assimilate part or all of their platform, staff and people out from under them, and from passing laws to make it even more difficult to compete.

    Anyway, back on topic: I was surprised that a Fox News anchor welcomed Obama to this century. http://mediamatters.org/blog/201205090015

  • I’d prefer someone to the left of Obama, yes. It’s now roughly 6 months until the election, so I have the following question:

    Who are they?

    To win the Presidency, you need to be able to cobble together more than half of our 538 electoral votes. Other than Romney or Obama, who can do this? Who has done the groundwork, gotten together the organization, and is or will be on the ballot in enough states to theoretically win given all the electoral votes they are eligible for?

    What third party has enough of a showing on State and Federal races to show that they can successfully compete?

    I can tell you that as far as I’m aware, my presidential ballot will have two names on it, the same as four years ago.

    If you dislike both parties, the time to do this groundwork is now… for 2014-2020. 2012 is no longer feasible; both of our major political parties have worked long and hard on preserving their duopoly, and beating either one is not a task of a few months. Heck, the last party to do it (the Republican Party) took about 6 years – and that was roughly 152 years ago.

  • Nothing that I’m aware of prevented him from making this announcement, say, a month ago.

    That said, assuming that the timing was done in agreement with his political team (which there’s plenty of evidence that it was), this is the first time that a President’s team has strongly implied that supporting the rights of people to marry a same-sex partner will help them more than it will hurt them.

    If you’d asked me 10 years ago if the president today would be able to do that, I would have said “no”.

  • He just did.

    On the other hand, that signature would have helped a lot more in the short term. We’ll have to see if his change in position means much of anything; it’s unfortunate that it was after North Carolina’s vote, for example.

  • I’m glad that you’ve written this column about voting down Amendment 1.

  • Thanks; I was using a dated source, combined with an inaccurate one. Barker and Ishimaru were originally nominated by George W. Bush, but both of them were subsequently re-nominated by Obama. The other three were all originally nominated by Obama.

    From a much better source: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/commission.cfm

  • Some trans people are also LGB; this doesn’t appear to cover sexual orientation.

    While unlikely, this could be overturned either by a court or a later EEOC ruling. A law would be less likely to be overturned.

    But yes, this is huge.

  • This is an EEOC ruling; it’s here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/90910497/EEOC-Ruling

    Note that this isn’t a court ruling. Since part of the EEOC’s job is to interpret Title VII, courts tend to give it a lot of deference, although they could overturn it.

    Barring a Supreme Court ruling in favor of this interpretation or a specific law written to protect trans employees, this is the single action that will have the most positive impact on trans workers in the U.S.A.

    Finally, note that the EEOC is an independent federal law enforcement agency; it isn’t directly controlled by Obama. While he appointed 3 of its commissioners, this was a unanimous opinion.

  • In my opinion, “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” has little to do with being Christian, so I agree that it’s a religious requirement – it favors specific types of Christians above others. Also, if someone believed in a branch of Christianity that the majority of members opposed, it’s pretty unlikely that they’d be elected anyway – or that they thought that their other assets more than made up for that issue.

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