Category Archives: Constitutional Law
I suppose it is unavoidable now because the Supreme Court is set to hear two cases this week that may ultimately pivot history and decide the fate of gay marriage in our nation. Tuesday and Wednesday the highest court in the land will hear arguments for the famous–or infamous, depending on your point of view–California Proposition 8 defining marriage between a man and a woman, and the Defense of Marriage Act stating that a homosexual union in one state need not be recognized by another.
I have avoided writing about gay marriage for as long as possible simply because of the ferocious passion on each side of the debate. I have no problem taking a stand in the face of vehement opposition, that is actually why I started writing. The problem is that both proponents of and opponents to gay marriage believe they are on a righteous quest, and, like jihadists do, they will settle for nothing less than complete and utter annihilation of their enemies. It is impossible to have a civil discussion about gay marriage with either side—disagreeing means you are insane. But with the hearings this week so many friends and readers have asked what if think of gay marriage, so I guess it is time to attempt a civil discussion.
So what do I think about gay marriage? It doesn’t matter. The lines of right and wrong intersect with gay marriage. To some, homosexuality is wrong, and a sin, and therefore gay marriage must never be considered. To others it is wrong to privileges or rights away from real people because of sexual orientation. This is exactly why the Constitution does not legislate right or wrong; they are fluid concepts relative to the perspective of the citizen. Slavery used to be viewed as right, as did burning witches, stoning adulterers, and abandoning babies with birth defects.
The argument against gay marriage is desperate at best. Most people who oppose gay marriage do so holding the belief that homosexuality is a sin. This argument lacks integrity because sins are decided by God, not the government. Is being married a sin? Most people would say no. So if marriage is not a sin, than two gay people being married is not a sin. It is being gay, not getting married that is a sin. Marriage does not make homosexuality any more of a sin than it otherwise is. So opposing gay marriage on those grounds is frivolous.
Many others say gay marriage poses a threat to traditional values, to which I ask, what are traditional values? If traditional values are a mother, father, kids, dog, minivan and church on Sunday than 2013 is a much bigger threat to traditional values than gay marriage. Divorce is not just common, it is practically expected. Single parent households are normal, and the statistics on children raised in these single parent homes are frightening. Most couples live together without being married, even if they are married later on. I find it very ironic that open marriages, swinging, and one night stands apparently pose less of a threat to traditional values than people who actually want to get married. Is a lasting, loving marriage between two men or two women really more destructive to the institution of marriage than Kim Kardashian? It seems gay people are the only ones fighting for marriage.
But Gay marriage is much more than just religious morality versus human rights. Marriage itself is recognized by the government not for religious reasons, but for civil reasons. A married couple expectedly will raise a family–a function any government has a vested interest in because of is necessity for a nation to survive–therefore, a married couple is given special tax consideration. They are allowed to file jointly, and their income bracket is raised. Because it is biologically impossible for two people of the same sex to conceive a child it is a valid question to ask whether or not gay marriage ought to be recognized by the government on basis of equality. Oddly ironic to argue against gay marriage using equality, I know, but it is clearly inequality to grant the same civil consideration to homosexual couples given that they cannot grow the population. This would be similar to granting every citizen the same consideration members of the military receive despite the fact they do not defend our country.
A predictable rebuttal to this would be that gay couples can always adopt, and, any special tax consideration given to adopting heterosexual couples would also need to be given to homosexual couples, but adopting does not grow the population. In regards to adoption I have heard many people say children raised by a gay couple face developmental hindrances, and so this should not be allowed. The science is still out on the subject; it is not yet clear if or what hindrances children might consistently face. Then again, would it be any worse than a single parent household? If marriage were simply just a name on a paper then the gay marriage issue may be as simple as a state’s vote–the way the 10th Amendment tells us to decide these issues.
Either way, the question is not what is right or wrong, but what is legal, and what is Constitutional. That is what the Supreme Court will consider this week. Proposition 8 was overturned (meaning marriage could not be defined as being between a man and a woman) by a federal judge on the basis of discrimination. Whether or not it is ruled discriminatory may well hinge on the arguments already made. Does or does not the 10th Amendment provides the freedom for citizens to decide such matters?
The Defense of Marriage Act case will be equally as gripping. Currently states are required to give ‘full faith and credit’ to the legal documents of other states, meaning that if you have a driver’s license in California you can drive to Miami and it will still be valid for spring break. The DOMA essentially states that this does not apply to a same-sex marriage, meaning a gay couple married in Massachusetts can move to Tennessee and the state does not have to recognize that marriage. The question up for debate is whether or not this violates the Constitution, or if a state has the authority to make this choice? One might immediately think “how could it not violate the Constitution to not give full faith and credit to a marriage certificate?”
The clause is written very vaguely, leaving for a lot of room for interpretation. “Public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings” does not really pin anything down. Currently a permit or license for a firearm or concealed weapon is issued in state A, and not valid in state B unless state B specifically lists it as being so. Permits to practice law, medicine, real estate, and insurance are currently not recognized across state lines. If these do not violate the full faith and credit clause why would a marriage certificate? Perhaps a better question is whether or not a state can refuse to acknowledge a heterosexual marriage? If a state can only choose to refuse same-sex marriages than this is clearly a discriminatory practice.
So where will the Supreme Court rule? Given their record I doubt they will overturn a ballot initiative like Proposition 8, especially considering the Constitution, in the 10th Amendment leaves to the decision of the states of the people any issue not delegated or prohibited by the constitution. I expect the Supreme Court will leave it up to each state to decide whether or not to legalize gay marriage. The more interesting question will be whether or not other states must recognize this decision in the DOMA ruling. Might the Supreme Court rule DOMA unconstitutional, thereby forcing one state to recognize another states’ marriage–whether gay or straight? If so, will they rule on how a same-sex marriage is to be treated by the IRS? Will they rule that states have the right to determine their own welfare, as they do with other licenses not recognized nationwide? Perhaps this week will be a perfect example of why Patriotslog feels the Supreme Court is the most powerful body in government.
I hope that in reading this you have realized that gay marriage is not a right or wrong issue. It is not a morality versus human rights issue. Most importantly I hope you understand that what I, or any one person, thinks of gay marriage does not matter. It is not a question of whether or not it is good for society, moral for our culture, or needed for human rights. Individually these may be our greatest concerns, they may be our driving force to oppose or support it, but whether or not it can reasonably be granted or denied on solid legal and constitutional grounds is what will determine the outcome. The Supreme Court is standing at histories’ crossroads. Either way, the controversy is not going away after they make their decision.
25 March 2013
Political parties suck. They are private institutions that have collectively gained control over our government. The sole goal of political parties is to obtain and maintain power. When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) became Speaker of the House she stated that her most important job was not to be the third in line to succeed the President in a national crisis; not to lead the largest body of directly elected representatives in our nation; not to safeguard the rights of the people; and not to work for her constituents that elected her. No, her most important job was to get more Democrats elected. Similarly, of all the important tasks one could emphasize for a Senate minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that his number one priority was to make Barack Obama a one term President. A Senator’s top priority was not even in the Senate, it was in the White House. Clearly these leaders of their parties were working against the will and good of the people.
It is not that being liberal, libertarian, or conservative is a problem; the problem is that these parties serve themselves, not the United States. Perhaps the most dangerous symptom of this the fact that party loyalists quite literally become convinced that the other party is evil–not just bad, but knowingly, deceitfully, intentionally evil. (If you don’t believe that go to one of the wingnut radical blogs like redstate or dailykos, or even Rachel Maddow or CNS news and read the comments) If you literally believe someone or something is evil it becomes not just easy, but necessary to oppose them, even if you are breaking a law to do so. This, I really fear, is going to become regular occurrence if we allow the party beasts to continue to feed themselves. Elected officials swear to uphold and defend the Constitution; however, because we have created an incentive system that rewards radicalism, more often than not politicians are more concerned with upholding and defending their political party. And why shouldn’t they be? We have allowed losing the next election to become the worst punishment a politician can face.
Breaking a law to oppose another party, or to uphold one’s own ideology is deplorable for a citizen, but detestable for a politician. The problem is the citizen is punished by our legal system, but who is to punish the politician? This week Gov. Hickenlooper of Colorado signed into law a set of gun control measures, including a magazine capacity limit. Weld County Sheriff, John Cooke, went out of his way to let everyone he could reach know that he will not be enforcing this law, and he knows many other Sheriffs that also will not. Sheriff Cooke even made an appearance on Fox Propaganda to tell us this.
I have opposed gun control because research shows it does nothing to reduce crime, but a sheriff deliberately ignoring a law, even if to oppose gun control, does more to eliminate freedom than any gun control measure. If Sheriff Cooke wants to make laws he can run for the legislature. Unfortunately, Sheriff Cooke is not alone in his refusal to accept the laws. He is only following in the footsteps of one Barack Obama.
The constitution clearly points out that it is the duty of the Executive Branch to enforce the laws made by the Legislative Branch. Congress passed an immigration bill, and since his inauguration, President Obama has decided to use it as toilet paper. Not only has he deliberately decided not to enforce immigration laws, he sent the justice department to the Supreme Court to argue against an Arizona immigration law that mirrored the Federal law; a law Arizona felt they had to pass because President Obama refused to enforce the existing one. On top of that he implemented the Dream Act without a Congressional approval.
I am very much in favor of immigration reform, and a path to citizenship or something close to it, but the law is the law. If President Obama wanted to make laws, he should have stayed in the Senate. A President must uphold the office. Part of this means having enough integrity to enforce a law Congress has passed even if the president disagrees with it–no matter the law, no matter the President. Instead, President Obama refuses to send his administration before the Supreme Court to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I understand that he supports gay marriage, and I respect that, but nowhere in the Constitution does it allow a President to choose which laws hold merit because of his personal beliefs.
John Roberts said it best. Though I have been an opponent of Obamacare from the beginning I have to agree with Chief Justice Roberts. It is up to Congress to make the laws; the Supreme Court does not determine which laws are good laws, only which laws violate the Constitution. It is not up to Governors whether or not to follow Obamacare. Every elected official must have this same amount of respect for democracy in order to ensure democracy is living a century from now. People angry about judicial activism ought to be equally as angry about Executive activism. If a President wants to change a law, do as Lincoln did; push, pull, pry, preach, beg, and put together a public campaign to pass a law or amendment. But a President is an executive, not a legislator.
It is not a Sheriff, Governor, or President’s job to determine laws. In a Democracy we govern ourselves. We have a Congress that makes laws, and if we disapprove, we vote for new members. If a law is unjust or unconstitutional, we (or even the President, Governor, or Sheriff) can try that law in the courts. This is the system devised to ensure the rights of life, liberty, and property to all citizens of the United States. A law does not become invalid simply it does not fit with the current desires of a figure head. The last time one figure head determined the law for all Americans to follow declared independence and fought a revolution. We vote for representatives and executives, not monarchs. No matter how you feel about a law, seeing an elected official refuse to follow that law should make you cringe. If this becomes a pattern, our democracy will erode from under our feet.
21 March 2013
Racism is the act of singling out a person because of the color of their skin, treating them differently, and acting in ways or making decisions toward them that one would not make if not for the color of their skin. Of course racism exists–denying this would be naive. Racism stems from each race being different than another, and racism will exist as long as this is the case. The most obvious difference between cultures is race, and so race is blamed for the differences. But institutional racism can be ended in one simple decision: take the race question off of all legal forms. True equality would mean making all races equal and indistinguishable under the law, the way the 14th Amendment specifies when is dictates equal protection under the law. Affirmative action is a law that does not grant equality; Affirmative Action is racism.
The Supreme Court has heard the case of Abigail Fisher, a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas in favor of minority students despite being more qualified. This means that the university singled out minority students and treated them differently than they would have had they been white. Affirmative action is racism. Racial preference means that minorities are not treated as equals. Affirmative action, by its very nature, infers minorities are inferior to whites, and thus need an unfair leg up. If there were ever an institution that gave whites preferential treatment even if they were less qualified for a job, admission, scholarship, or so on, then we would have a need for affirmative action. But in this day and age that rarely–more likely, never–happens. Does our society believe minorities are Inferior?
Not only does affirmative action suggest that minorities are inferior, but there is evidence that affirmative action may actually be detrimental to minorities. Proposition 209 was a California ballot initiative on affirmative action. The citizens of California voted to end racial preference in their state. What happened afterword gave an interesting insight. Minority enrollments into the state Universities declined, but the number of minorities graduating stayed the same, while the rate of graduation grew. This means that Affirmative Action was not helping minorities graduate, in fact, it was hurting them. Because they were given preference in schools, some students were being admitted to schools they were not qualified for. Because the graduation rate stayed the same this means many of these students did not finish college. Affirmative action was getting them into a school that, for one reason or another, they could not finish. This is not a racial thing, white students similarly qualified, if admitted to these schools would expectedly have the same result. What this does mean, however, is that these minority students left college with no degree, most likely large amounts of student loans, and a bad experience with higher education. How does any of that help minorities?
Now, of course there are many minorities that have graduated from college and become very successful. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor has even referred to herself as an “affirmative action baby”. Now, how this does not create a bias on her part that should cause her to recuse herself from the case is beyond me; however, we will have to play that song another day. Either way, the evidence suggests that she would have graduated from a great school—even if that school was not Princeton or Yale—and gone on to a successful career regardless. But if affirmative action is granting admittance to students who will only be harmed by attending that university, the racial preference should be done away with. The evidence suggests Justice Sotomayor is the exception, not the rule.
Consider this: in his own 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama stated that it makes no sense for immigrant students to get a world class college education, then be sent home to their country to compete against the United States. Affirmative Action furthers that problem. Not only are some immigrants being given admission over citizens, but minority citizens are being given admission over more qualified citizens. This means that we are giving more immigrants degrees, and sending them home to compete against less qualified Americans. Summing it all up, we are giving other nations an economic advantage over our own, but we are shooting ourselves in the economic foot. The best candidates–no matter what race they happen to be–should be the ones admitted to schools. For the less qualified students, there are less prestigious and demanding schools to fit their needs. If every student goes to the right school we will have more graduates holding more degrees in every race. This helps minorities, the education system, and the economy.
True equality does not have racial preference; moreover, it has no preference at all. This nation was founded on the idea that all men are created equal; not that all men become equal. Being created equal means we all have the same rights, and that we achieve based on our own capabilities. Becoming equal means minorities need help to earn equality–inferring that they are inferior as people to the white race; this is racism. Not only was our nation not built on the idea of becoming equal, but the champion of civil rights, the great Martin Luther King JR–one of the greatest men in our history–did not support the idea of becoming equal. Being born equal and being treated equal was his vision. His dream was “that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The very purpose of Affirmative Action is to judge people first and foremost by the color of their skin.
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the three basic human rights repeated from kindergarten to doctoral theses, but Affirmative Action limits liberty, and hinders the pursuit of happiness for thousands of whites who are not granted admission to schools they have earned the privilege to attend, and for thousands of minorities who are not able to finish at the school because they were not as qualified their peers. Race discrimination is rampant in college admissions. Affirmative action not only hurts minorities, but it also hurts whites, and the entire nation and economy as a whole. It is time we took Dr. King’s dream, and the 14th Amendment for what they are. If races are really equal, Affirmative Action needs to end. There is no place for racism in America.
15 October, 2012
The government has problems, everybody knows this; Congress stagnates at historically low approval rating, and nobody in their right mind trusts the government. Perhaps most disturbing is that party rhetoric seems to be pushing an all-out assault on patriotism and civility. What is best for Republicans or what is best for Democrats has become a more primary concern than what is best for Americans. The lust for power is nearly all consuming inside these parties. All this considered, Patriotslog holds the stance (and quite controversially we have come to find) that government is not the problem; we the people are.
Time and again Congress offers a paltry sacrifice to the idols of reform only to find everything stay exactly as it has always been. There is a fundamental flaw with this expectation; the only person in history to ever voluntarily relinquish power was George Washington. Government will not limit their own authority, nor can we reasonably expect them to do so. It conflicts with the nature of humanity to limit one’s own power, and few of us would do the same in our own lives. It is we the people who must limit the power of government, because it is we the people from whom the government derives their consent to govern. Read the rest of this entry
President Obama has changed tunes and started singing his re-election song; to Patriotslog, it sounds off key. Until recently, I probably would have voted for President Obama to have a second term; not that I think he is a great President, just that I am not thrilled with any other option we have. Aside from the terrible assault on freedom that is the individual mandate, I did not really have a problem with anything President Obama has done in his first term; until he began his campaign. Though he has excelled in national security, his recent antics have been so outrageous that he no longer has my vote.
OUTSOURCER IN CHIEF: The attacks on Mitt Romney illustrate exactly how desperate the President is to slur his image. Attempt after attempt to pin outsourcing at Bain Capital to Mitt Romney are not only ridiculous, they are pathetic. Mitt Romney took a leave of absence from Bain, and literally fixed the 2002 Winter Olympics. For anyone who is familiar with business–and this makes it appear that President Obama is not–a leave of absence is a standard practice. Mitt Romney retained his title and position at the company, but had no managing influence or day to day control over Bain. Yes they outsourced jobs, but Mitt Romney had nothing to do with that. This is directly parable to a star athlete being injured; they are still part of the team, however they have no influence over the outcome of games. It would be ridiculous for a coach to blame an injured athlete for a loss, yet this is what Obama is trying to do. If you do not follow that logic, then use this logic to reconsider. There are many witnesses and accounts of Mitt Romney working 16 hours a day to turn around the Olympics; it is not only highly unlikely, but nearly impossible that he could have done this while managing Bain at the same time. Moreover, it is not just ironic, but down right hypocritical for the President to claim some moral high ground on the basis of outsourcing. An amateur attempt at research easily reveals that more jobs have been outsourced and lost under President Obama than under nearly any other President–and he has not even served one full term. Read the rest of this entry
Turn on your TV, over and over you will hear about immigration reform. Time after time every political candidate, from every political party and sphere of thought will tell you exactly what they think; few poll punches on immigration. The media frames the debate in two polar opposites, as we can always count on our beloved media to do, despite the fact that there is so much more to the immigration problem than can be depicted in two ideas. Nonetheless, many in this nation are falsely led to believe there are only two policies; absolute deportation, and absolute amnesty. This is still being peddled by cable news propaganda stations despite the fact that very few people in very few places actually believe either of these ideas are beneficial. The fact is both universal deportation and amnesty would hurt our nation for many reasons, the two largest of which would be an interpreted invitation for more illegal immigration, while on the other side it would be a huge economic hit.
However, illegal immigration is a problem for our nation. Illegal immigrants are a strain on our resources, and contribute to the crime rate. This is not to say all illegal immigrants are bad; in fact, far from it. Most are great people, and illegal immigration gives them a bad stigma because of those who do come solely to take advantage of our systems and make money illegally. Most illegal immigrants even believe immigration reform is needed. Coyote running, below minimum wage pay, multi-family housing, and discrimination are not the American dream. The reason this has not happened can be stated in one word: power. Read the rest of this entry
You heard it here first. Patriotslog reporting live from the Supreme Court on the decision finally made regarding the Obesity Initiative for Nutrition and Care act of 2048, commonly referred to as OINK. After being tied up in the court system for six years we finally have the verdict. According to the 8 to 7 split decision on the Supreme Court, the government can in fact create mandatory diet plans for all residents (both citizens and illegal immigrants via the Immigration compromise of 2023) of the United States. It is expected that former First Lady Michelle Obama will be delivering an address on her lifelong initiative from her home any minute now. After her many years of hard work and dedication to “save Americans from themselves”, we may finally see the national obesity rate drop below 96%. Former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is refusing to comment on the ruling, and in an apparent attempt to starve herself to death in protest has barricaded herself in her nursing home room, refusing to speak to anyone. Her only correspondence is a hand written sign taped to the outside of her door which states: “They can tell me what to eat, but the sure can’t force me to eat it.” Not yet, anyway. However, one has to wonder how long it will be until legislation is passed which states they can. Read the rest of this entry