Judiciary Archives

"In the Best Interest of the Children" Follow-up

Henry Neufeld and Timothy Sandefur (here and here) have both blogged about the NC divorce case that I highlighted yesterday.  Both point to a PDF of the judges ruling in the case, and note that there is more to the ruling on schooling.

Mrs. Mills has joined the Sound Doctrine church, a church that many who have “escaped” from it (that’s the term they, in fact, use) say has anything but sound doctrine.  After reading excerpts of the affidavits in the ruling, I would have to agree.

The concerns that Mr. Mills had to homeschooling included misconceptions that those don’t homeschool typically have about the practice; that it did not expose the Mills children to “the real world” and didn’t give them a “firm foundation for their future social relationships”.  Some of their extra-curricular activities are listed, and it sounds like they could easily find socialization in those.  He also said that it was his understanding was the the homeschooling was temporary.

At the end of the section about schooling, he does mention that some of this included religious training from this Sound Doctrine church, which he was concerned about.  Fair enough, but here is where we find ourselves at a decision that could, contrary to Mr. Neufeld’s and Mr. Sandefur’s thoughts, have widening influence.  The judge finds that it would be in the best interest of the children to pull them out of a schooling situation where, the judge agrees, the children have “thrived academically”.  There can be only two reasons for this based on what’s in the ruling; either it’s the “only temporary” issue or it’s the religious issue.

If it’s because the understanding was that homeschooling was to be only temporary, then perhaps some other education needs to be done to make sure that this isn’t being nixed by the husband because of misconceptions about homeschooling.  The whole “real world socialization” idea has been thoroughly debunked.  And on page 7, point #5, the judge “clearly recognizes the benefits of home school”.  So this appears not to be the main reason.

Which brings us to the religious issue.  After conceding the benefits of homeschooling, the judge, in the same point, then agrees to Mr. Mills’ request to “re-enroll the children back into the public school system and expose them and challenge them to more than just Venessa Mills’ viewpoint.”  This is where it gets dicey.

Others cited in the ruling consider the Sound Doctrine church to be a “cult”, and I’m not in a position to disagree with them.  The behavior of Mrs. Mills tends to back up their assertions.  However, if this ruling is made specifically to expose the children to other viewpoints, than any homeschooler of any religion or philosophy could have their choice annulled by a court for that reason, cult or not.  (I imagine, indeed, a judge that took children out of an atheist homeschooling situation to “challenge” that viewpoint would find all sorts of “friend of the court” briefs from the ACLU.)  The mother could lose custody of the children based on her religious beliefs and how those beliefs translate into abuse, but, while even that is a difficult thing for a court to decide, that is not, as I read it, the reason that the children are being sent to public school.

There’s that poem that has lines “First they came for ___, and I did not speak up because I wasn’t a ___.”  It’s been used and misused over the years, but I think it applies here.  I don’t think we can see this ruling and not feel some concern over perhaps government coming for Christians or Jews, or whatever other religion that a judge thinks needs to be “challenged”, on the say-so of an aggrieved spouse.  Whether the grievance is valid or not, or whether the religion is a cult or not, it should be cause for concern.

In the Best Interest of the Children?

Last week, a judge in North Carolina was ruling in a divorce case.  The husband was an admitted adulterer.  His wife was going to get custody of the kids. 

However, the husband decided he didn’t want to pay for the expenses of continuing to homeschooling the children, so his lawyer drew up a request, and the judge granted it.

Even with abundant evidence showing the Mills children are well adjusted and well educated, Judge [Ned W.] Mangum ruled overwhelmingly against Mrs. [Venessa] Mills on every point. He stated the children would do better in public school despite the fact that they are currently at or beyond their grade level.  Evidence showed two children tested several grades ahead.

When issuing his verdict Judge Mangum stated his decision was not ideologically or religiously motivated. However, he told Mrs. Mills public school will "challenge the ideas you’ve taught them."

Typical big-government mentality.  Never mind results, you gotta’ get with the program.

More details here.

Obama Taps Pornography Defender for DoJ

Al Mohler gives an introduction:

In contemporary America, pornography is both a public reality and big business.  Ambient pornography — sexually explicit advertising, entertainment, and merchandising — is all around us.  But pornography is also big business, producing sexually explicit materials in printed, video, and digital formats and making billions of dollars in the process.

The pornography industry has a big stake in defending itself against legal challenges and restrictive laws, and it has been stunningly successful in doing so.  One of the leading legal defenders of pornography has been David Ogden, a lawyer who can only be described as a First Amendment extremist, who has even argued against laws against child pornography.

President Barack Obama has nominated David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General of the United States.  This nomination is both ominous and dangerous.  Given David Ogden’s high visibility in defense of pornography, this nomination sends a clear and unmistakable message.  The pornography business will have a friend in high office in the Department of Justice.

Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation has some other concerns about the Ogden nomination.

In the 2005 case Roper v. Simmons, Ogden succeeded in convincing a narrowly divided Supreme Court to declare the juvenile death penalty unconstitutional and spare the life of his client, who killed a woman in cold-blood nine months before he turned 18.

Groves says Ogden argued that the high court should look to laws, legal opinions, and decisions of foreign countries and international organizations regarding the death penalty. He notes that in particular, Ogden cited the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) — a 1989 treaty that bars the execution of people who commit crimes while under the age of 18.

Ogden, says Groves, pointed out that the United States is one of only two countries in the world that has not signed onto that treaty.

"[He argued] that doesn’t mean that the U.S. doesn’t have to follow the treaty, [but that] it means the opposite — that the United States must follow the treaty that it has specifically decided not to join," says Groves. "Why? Because [Ogden argued] the rest of the world has joined it — and so therefore it’s some new customary, international norm and the United States must outlaw the juvenile death penalty."

So he wants the United States Supreme Court to use foreign laws for precedent, and to adhere to treaties we’ve never signed.  Regardless of your position on whether or not we should sign the CRC, Ogden wants our courts to decide cases based on laws we have no control over, and to unilaterally implement treaties that our legislature hasn’t agreed to or our President hasn’t signed.

Judicial activism, anyone?  Well, more like judicial usurpation.  And Obama wants this guy as our Deputy AG, fighting for the rights of pornographers to get their stuff in front of as many eyeballs as possible, never mind the age.  (He fought against porn filters in libraries, too.) 

Is this just your basic Democratic "family values" kinda’ guy?

Democrats Against Religious Freedom

Congressman Chris Murphy (D-CT) is championing his support of what’s called the Protecting Patient and Health Care Act of 2009.  From his website:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the clock ticking down on the implementation of a sweeping Bush Administration rule that will deny vital health services to Americans, today Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5) joined a group of colleagues to introduce the Protecting Patient and Health Care Act of 2009 to stop it.

In late December, the Bush Administration finalized the "refusal clause", which would cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic, or other entity that does not accommodate employees who refuse to participate in care that they find ethically, morally, or religiously objectionable. Set to take affect on Sunday, this sweeping change in access to vital health services, including birth control, abortion, HIV and STI testing, end of life care, and fertilization treatments, trumps current practices that accommodate health care providers’ religious beliefs while also providing their patients with access to care. It even goes as far as to allow whole hospitals or health plans to refuse services even if individual doctors and providers are willing to perform them.

What’s missing in this description is the reason the "refusal clause" was needed.  It’s really only emphasizing how the law currently is, because a number of court cases, and the judges of those cases, have shown that apparently the judicial system doesn’t quite understand the concept. 

I’ve touched on one example last August where a pair of doctors in California were sued successfully when they declined to give their services to a lesbian couple.  (Actually, they did everything but the physical insemination, which is all they declined to do.)  Acting as though they were the only option in the state, the couple took the case all the way to the State Supreme Court and won.  This was an elective procedure, and the State Supreme Court seemed to think they were obligated to do it if asked.  (And as noted in the original post, the CA Medical Association was on the side of the doctors until they got bullied by the gay-rights community, and they caved.)

So the action by the Bush administration was simply to reiterate that this refusal is legal, and put some oomph behind it.  The whole idea the people have no where else to go for these treatments, elective or otherwise, is absurd, but the danger to a guaranteed constitutional right is real. 

But Democrats, who insist that they’re just as concerned about religious freedom as anyone, put the lie to that by making the First Amendment a second-class citizen.

Same-Sex Marriage Goes 0-3 on Election Day

California, Florida (two blue states) and Arizona voters rejected same-sex marriage in their states.  As Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council notes, this signals that the electorate is still generally socially conservative, and that if Obama has a mandate, it’s an economic one. 

This is especially true among Obama’s big support blocs; blacks and Hispanics.  Byron York noted at the National Review Online that these constituents supported the ban 70-30 and 51-49 respectively.  The 90+ percent of African-Americans that voted for Obama, and who rightly have celebrated the election of a black man to the White House, quite apparently think this is "Change We Can Do Without"(tm).

The limbo that those who were married under the Supreme Court decision find themselves in is of their own making.  Rather than using the legislature or respecting the will of the people expressed in the last ballot initiative, they changed the battlefield.  However, they took their initial success with irrational exuberance, and when they were met on that battlefield they were defeated, leaving them in an odd situation, and forcing the California legal system into a Gordian Knot.  Once again, the "will of the people" cry we used to hear from the Left has died down to a whimper when they have an axe to grind.

Marriage: between a man and a woman

In California, among the many state propositions up for a vote, one of the most heated is Proposition 8. In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22, “which added a section to the California Family Code to formally define marriage in California as being between a man and a woman” (Wikipedia). In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court “ruled that the statute enacted by Proposition 22 and other statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. It also held that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution” (Wikipedia).

Enter Proposition 8. Here is the entire text of Proposition 8, as per the California Voter’s Guide,

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the
provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.

This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by
adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are
printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage
Protection Act.”

SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution,
to read:

SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized
in California.

Note that the California Marriage Protection Act proposes to add a sum total of 14 words to the California Constitution.

Opponents to the proposition claim that the proposition is discriminatory and that it takes away rights. One of the mantras chanted is “Don’t eliminate marriage for anyone.”

Yet, such thinking ignores the fact that the government does not sanction marriage for anyone. Typically, one cannot marry another person if one is already married to someone else. It’s also highly unlikely that a 6 year-old boy and girl would be granted a marriage license by the government. The same could be said for a 20 year-old man and 18 year-old woman, if they were brother and sister. What’s more, it’s highly unlikely that the state government in California would sanction a marriage between two adult men and four adult women. It would seem, therefore, that we already have a form of discrimination, with regards to who can, and cannot, get married. In other words, the government already eliminates marriage for some.

Have you ever stopped to consider just why the government has an interest in sanctioning marriages in the first place? I can tell you one reason that they don’t sanction marriages for… love. Nope. You’d be hard pressed to find any mention of love on an application for a marriage license. Whether or not two people, who wish to get married, love each other is really of no concern to the government.

Why is that?

It’s really very simple. The government recognizes, as just about every civilization since humans began, that the covenant of marriage is the foundation and basis for the family unit. The family unit, it turns out, is the basis for a well functioning society. And a well functioning society is something that the government is very interested in. When a male and female commit to each other, the natural and general result is a family (i.e., children). This is a process that has been the cornerstone of virtually every civilized society. This family unit by marriage commitment, it should be noted, is something that a same-sex couple is incapable of attaining by natural means. Note that as a rule, by nature, and by design (HT: Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason), marriage between a man and a woman provides the family unit which the government has an interest in regulating.

One last point to be noted is that the only “right” which same-sex proponents claim will be eliminated by Proposition 8 is the sanctioning of the government, and as I’ve shown above, this is not an inherent right. No other “rights” will be eliminated. Same-sex couples already have access to domestic partner health benefits, they already have the protection of employment discrimination laws, they can freely practice their lifestyle, etc.

So, why is there the need for Proposition 8? That, too, is simple. It’s because those that advocate same-sex marriage want not the right (which they already have) but the blessing of the government. By getting the blessing of the government, they wish to impose their behavior, as normalized, upon the rest of society – including those that would consider their behavior as wrong.

Advocates of same-sex marriage would have you believe that the issue is about intolerance. In that, they are correct, for the position they take is intolerant of any position that does not accept their behavior as normal.

Further Ref:

Jennifer Roback Morse

Stand to Reason blog

Legal Matters: A Question

Consider the case of Mr Ayers … and this time not one bit in relation to Mr Obama. Mr Ayers for some years acted as a domestic terrorist. He bombed, killed, and spread terror for some time. He and his cohorts worked actively and spoke fervently about bringing down the government of the United States preferring Communist rule to a republic. He was eventually caught .. but it turns out those that caught him used illegal wire-taps and the evidence could not be submitted.

In the TV Show Law and Order, quite frequently legal system is shown with the police confronted by the issue in which if the rules are not strictly followed guilty parties will go free. Typically in those shows (and alas I have no other experience with the how such matters play out), the punishment inflicted on the police in these matters is just that. That is the primary and perhaps only punishment inflicted on the law enforcement agencies is that they “don’t get their man.”

Is that sufficient. Would a system in which penalties on the law enforcement agencies were harsher, imprisonment and loss of employment for infractions being more common but that the evidence so collected remained admissible in the legal proceedings against the defendant. After all, in Mr Ayers case he did commit the crimes. He should be imprisoned … still. His crimes were heinous and needed stopping as fast as humanly possible. Clearly the police had reasons to suspect him, for they didn’t randomly wire-tap everyone, the machinery to do so doesn’t exist. They picked likely targets and found their man (and his wife). If they proceeded more slowly … more people would likely have died. The notion that more severe penalties might be submitted instead of a “get-out-of-jail free card” for the defendant … might allow a enforcement team to choose between their job and saving lives instead of saving lives and not getting a guilty verdict.

Why is the current system better? Is it less likely that the former would be the choice and that is why we prefer the latter? … is it just common law tradition? or another reason?

Same-Sex Marriage Update

California’s Proposition 8 would make "marriage" the union of one man and one woman.  It amends the state constitution, since that was the battlefield chosen by liberal judges in that state’s Supreme Court when they made a decision earlier this year.  James Taranto notes that what’s strange about this is that California already has a civil union laws that gives same-sex couples all the state-level legal benefits of marriage.  Taranto links to a story about this in the Financial Times, and then wonders, if there’s no difference in the benefits…

So the rulings were only about the meaning of the term marriage. Why is this so important? We’ll let a prominent supporter of same-sex marriage, quoted by the FT, explain:

The advertising campaign backing the proposition, launched last month, features footage of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom speaking before supporters about gay marriage, saying "The door’s wide open now. It’s gonna happen, whether you like it or not."

The New York Times quotes from the Connecticut ruling:

"Although marriage and civil unions do embody the same legal rights under our law, they are by no means equal," Justice [Richard] Palmer wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Justices Flemming L. Norcott Jr., Joette Katz and Lubbie Harper. "The former is an institution of transcendent historical, cultural and social significance, whereas the latter is not."

The push for same-sex marriage, as distinct from civil unions, is not about tolerance or overcoming discrimination. It is about imposing a view of the "transcendent" on an unwilling public ("whether you like it or not"). If Proposition 8 passes, even supporters of same-sex marriage ought to take heart in a vote against this sort of arrogance.

This is further proof that, for the homosexual movement, "tolerance" and being left alone to do as they please is simply not enough, their words notwithstanding.  It must include active acceptance and word redefinition.  The main point of the FT article is the shock some gays have to how the polls seem to be going against them.  Hopefully, the people of California are seeing who’s trying to force their will on them.

Eco-Vandalism Now Legally Acceptable

Greenpeace vandals have been cleared in the UK of damaging a coal station.  It’s not that they didn’t do it, it’s that the jury thought they were justified.

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 [US$ 62,594] worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a “lawful excuse” to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

This act of vandalism was just graffiti…this time.  And Greenpeace has now been given license to cost power companies (and the people they service) $62,000 at a shot as many times as they want without repercussions.  That is incredibly foolish.

Gov. Palin Gets It Exactly Right

From this link:

An article in the Legal Times discusses the impact that Sarah Palin and Joe Biden would have on judicial picks if elected vice president. For those who question the potential influence of a VP on judicial selection, the Legal Times notes that “Gore was a strong voice … in pushing the nominations of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.” The article concludes that

“Palin … is thought to be an assurance that Sen. John McCain will make good on his promise to nominate more judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito Jr.”

We agree:

“McCain’s choice of Palin, a social conservative, shut down criticism from [CFJ’s Curt] Levey and others. ‘McCain is a moderate, and she’s more of a movement conservative,’ Levey says. ‘If she has any effect on his judicial picks, I think it’ll be a positive one.'”

The article notes that, while Palin has less of a record than Biden on judicial selection – as Judiciary chairman, he led the fight to defeat Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas – Palin

“already has had more impact on the Alaska judiciary than her predecessor. Since taking office in December 2006, Palin has seated more than a dozen judges, including a state Supreme Court justice and a state court of appeals judge, the first appellate appointments in the state in more than a decade.”

Palin’s questions when interviewing potential nominees for the Alaska bench give assurance that she understands two of the most important principles of judicial selection: 1) select nominees who believe in judicial modesty and restraint, and 2) impose no litmus tests (both principles can be found in the judges section of the GOP’s 2008 platform). The Legal Times reports that

“[Andy] Harrington, executive director of Alaska Legal Services Corp., interviewed with Palin in November 2007, days after the state Supreme Court issued a ruling striking down a law that required girls less than 17 years old and younger to get permission from their parents before receiving an abortion. … Harrington anticipated a question about the ruling. But Palin never asked about the case or any other, Harrington says. … At one point, she asked him to define an activist judge. … Another judicial candidate who interviewed with Palin this year says Palin asked questions about work history, background, and basic judicial philosophy. ‘Some of my colleagues say the Constitution is a living, breathing document. What do you think?’ Palin asked.”


Of course, some liberal judges and commentators claim that it is they who believe in judicial restraint. And perhaps a few of them do. But for those who doubt which side of the political spectrum most consistently supports the rule of law, the results of a Rasmussen survey this month should dispel those doubts. The survey found that McCain supporters overwhelming believe – by an 82% to 11% margin – that “the Supreme Court [should] make decisions based on what’s written in the Constitution and legal precedents,” rather than “be guided mostly by a sense of fairness and justice.” Obama supporters, on the other hand, believe the converse by a 49% to 29% margin.

"Shredding" the Constitution vs. Ignoring It

For 8 years, liberals have accused George W. Bush of “shredding the Constitution”.  But as Rasmussen Reports notes, Obama supporters don’t even seem to take the Constitution seriously.

OK, civics question:  The job of the Supreme Court is to … what?  What is their primary purpose?  Wikipedia tells us that, while the Court’s purpose was a bit hazy during the early years of our country, it finally congealed.

Initially, during the tenures of Chief Justices Jay, Rutledge, and Ellsworth (1789–1801), the Court lacked a home of its own and any real prestige.

That changed during the Marshall Court (1801–1836), which declared the Court to be the supreme arbiter of the Constitution (see Marbury v. Madison) and made a number of important rulings which gave shape and substance to the constitutional balance of power between the federal government (referred to at the time as the “general” government) and the states. In Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, the Court ruled that it had the power to correct interpretations of the federal Constitution made by state supreme courts. Both Marbury and Martin confirmed that the Supreme Court was the body entrusted with maintaining the consistent and orderly development of federal law.

The Supreme Court is to rule on the constitutionality of the cases, and the laws involved with them, which are brought before them.  That’s their job.  But then, if you don’t know that, or consider the Constitution to be two-century-old Silly Putty, that may alter your perception.

Which takes us back to Rasmussen, where, for starters, the overall numbers seem passable, but not what I would have hoped.

Most American voters (60%) agrees and says the Supreme Court should make decisions based on what is written in the constitution, while 30% say rulings should be guided on the judge’s sense of fairness and justice.

But take a closer look, and you’ll note that one’s perception of the Constitution alters your vote.

While 82% of voters who support McCain believe the justices should rule on what is in the Constitution, just 29% of Barack Obama’s supporters agree. Just 11% of McCain supporters say judges should rule based on the judge’s sense of fairness, while nearly half (49%) of Obama supporters agree.

The better your grade in social studies, or the better you know how the US government was intended to work, the more you’re likely to vote Republican.  If you think that, in order to change the laws, you just need to change the courts, you’re both badly mistaken from a civics point of view (that’s for the legislature) and likely to misuse the system (e.g. gaining same-sex marriage by judicial fiat rather than legislation). 

And you’re most likely a liberal.

One More Blow Struck to Religious Freedom

In California, the First Amendment is subordinate to the whims of the judges.  The Associated Press reports:

California’s highest court on Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

What "treatment" was denied?  How was care withheld, as the AP headline claims?

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state’s law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

In the lawsuit that led to the ruling, Guadalupe Benitez, 36, of Oceanside said that the doctors treated her with fertility drugs and instructed her how to inseminate herself at home but told her their beliefs prevented them from inseminating her. One of the doctors referred her to another fertility specialist without moral objections, and Benitez has since given birth to three children.

Nevertheless, Benitez in 2001 sued the Vista-based North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group. She and her lawyers successfully argued that a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation applies to doctors.

So what we’re really talking about here is an elective procedure, not "care" nor "treatment" of some condition.  And the doctors did everything up to the point where their religious convictions wouldn’t let them continue.  Even then, they instructed Benitez how to do it herself. 

A detail you won’t find here but is brought up in the WorldNetDaily coverage, the case was dismissed when it was originally brought, but liberal Californians can be certain that, no matter the obstacles, their Supreme Court can be counted on to come through. 

But don’t doctors have constitutional rights, too?  Well the California Medial Association used to think so, but they changed their tune "after receiving a barrage of criticism from the gay-rights community."  We have the bullying tactics of the "tolerant" Left connect with the political correctness of the medical community, with the result being a trampling of the Constitution. 

This is what passes for the imprudent "jurisprudence" we find on the Left Coast.  This almost calls for a Constitutional amendment, except we already have one and it doesn’t seem to be working. 

[tags]California Supreme Court,Constitution,homosexuality,First Amendment,religious rights,Douglas Fenton,Christine Brody,Guadalupe Benitez[/tags]

Samuel Adams, (Ostensibly) on the Heller Decision

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press,  or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions." — Samuel Adams

Emphasis mine.  Apparently, Adams never envisioned liberal judicial activists.

[tags]Samuel Adams,Supreme Court,Second Amendment,gun rights,US Constitution[/tags]

A Capital Question

The SCOTUS today offered a decision putting the US Constitutional law in line with Noahide law, that only if one takes a life it is just to take a life. Specifically that capital punishment is forbidden for a state to enact in response to the a particularly vicious rape of an 8 y/old girl in Louisiana. My remarks follow:

  • If a people grant the authority for such to the state, it has the right to take life via due process.
  • As a proponent of pushing authority down and not federalizing and centralizing power, I disagree with this as wise decision. States and in fact smaller regions should have the power to act. What is a capital crime may not be the same in backwoods Louisiana compared to tony New Hampshire burbs compared to Montana ranches.
  • If capital punishment would be to be offered for other than treason and murder … this sort of case would be it.
  • I think the best argument against capital punishment for a variety of crimes is that the expense of the required appeal process exceeds that of life internment. If we want to have capital punishments we should stop paying lawyers (and others involved in the legal process) so much.
  • I’m less impressed by the problem of “no recovery” from error. After all there are two points against that argument. Errors in long term imprisonment discovered decades after the crime can’t “undo” the incarceration and loss of freedom, relationships damaged, and youth incurred.  Secondly, I’m Christian, and as such have ontological freedom granted by Baptism and my Faith. Death has no sting … really.

Mormons Join the Calif. Gay Marriage Fray

While other Christian groups and denominations may have doctrinal issues with the Latter-day Saints, they do line up on a number of political issues.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking California members to join the effort to amend that state’s constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

A letter sent to Mormon bishops and signed by church president Thomas S. Monson and his two top counselors calls on Mormons to donate "means and time" to the ballot measure. A note on the letter dated June 20 says it should be read during church services on June 29, but the letter was published Saturday on several Web sites.

Church spokesman Scott Trotter said Monday that the letter was authentic. He declined further comment, saying the letter explains the church’s reasons for getting involved.

The LDS church will work with a coalition of churches and other conservative groups that put the California Marriage Protection Act on the Nov. 4 ballot to assure its passage, the letter states.

In May, California’s Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, saying gays could not be denied marriage licenses.

"The church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children," the four-paragraph letter states.

Mormons say they have 750,000 member in California, who could have a big impact.

What’s not clear in all of this, regardless of the addition of the Mormons to the fray, is how California will deal with the genie they’ve already let out of the bottle; what to do with marriage licenses that the amendment would directly affect.  This quandary, brought to you by Judicial Activism(tm), is the result of liberals in government not letting the legislative process do its work and trying to usurp it.  Some complained here in Georgia that the constitutional amendment that passed here was unnecessary since we already had a law against same-sex marriage.  The California situation is a prime object lesson for why that argument was, at least, disingenuous. 

[tags]California,Latter-Day Saints,Mormons,same-sex marriage[/tags]

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