Senate The Supreme Court

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
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    Unlike homosexual relationships, there's not really much precedent for polygamy and incest (among immediately family) being between consenting adults, and there are inherent power imbalances with those that don't exist with relationships between two unrelated gay people. [EDIT:] I find the people who are in favor of expanding marriage rights to polygamist cults (who are pretty much the only people in the U.S. who would take advantage of it) in the name of "freedom" as annoying as those who use it as a slippery slope "people are going to marry loaves of bread" argument.
    Last edited by Darth Guy, Jun 26, 2013
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  2. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 5, 2012
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    Not to mention, the very deploying of it gives credibility to people who argue that legalizing gay marriage will be the first step down a slippery slope. I remember when the gay marriage argument first became a hot-button topic around the 2004 election. I was in high school at the time, and that was one of the favorite arguments of the anti gay-marriage crowd. I used to roll my eyes. Now it's hard not to concede that they might have a semblance of a point.
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  3. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

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    May 21, 2002
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    The polygamy comparison is invalid; it's a completely different set of legal questions, to be honest. The tax, property, benefit, etc. laws are extremely complex around. And, I'm not a lawyer, but I'd say you'd have a hard time finding an identifiable class that is being discriminated against in either case (polygamists and incestuals, I guess, but yeah).

    Not to mention (and I haven't done my research) that the overwhelming majority of polygamist relationships in the U.S. are in religious cults and we shouldn't be aiding that cause.
    Last edited by shinjo_jedi, Jun 26, 2013
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  4. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I meant only insofar as the federal definition of marriage -- there wasn't some sea change in federalism.
  5. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Sure enough, the Texas Attorney General is proceeding with plans to implement a voter ID law that was blocked by now-defunct provisions of the Voting Rights Act. But hey, we defeated racism, right? o_O

    I know part of the rationale in the SC's decision (and various people's defense of that decision) is that "times have changed," but this tells me that, to quote the movie Bob Roberts, "times are changin' back."
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

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    Oct 28, 2001
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    Don't go by the news reports. Read the actual ruling, particularly pages 14-18.

    The ruling struck down Section 3 by claiming that it was a federalism issue, because traditionally states have defined marriage and the Constitution doesn't grant the federal government the authority to do so. On top of that, it then claimed that the only reason for passing Section 3 could have been animus, providing the DP basis. Many news reports have focused on the latter part, but when you look at the ultimate meat of the ruling, the federalism basis is evident.

    However, Section 3 only defined marriage for purposes of federal law, which is where dual sovereignty comes into play. There is a long history of the federal government defining various terms differently from the states, including in a general fashion. (The discussion starting on page 14 claims that the federal government can still create a different definition of marriage for discrete laws, just not in a general fashion. It even provides examples of where it has done just that.) Moreover, the animus claim falls quite flat to me, especially when you consider the context of when DOMA was passed. (No states had recognized SSM, and it was passed by overwhelming margins in Congress and signed by Clinton with no fuss.) It seems to me that the ruling uses circular logic to assume that there could be no other reason besides animus, in order to find that there was no other reason besides animus.

    While I agree that DOMA is a problematic law (and I have no problem with its repeal), I think this ruling is a bad one. It damages the principle of dual sovereignty by making the federal government beholden to how the states choose to recognize marriages. The fact pattern for this ruling also makes it very problematic in the context of other precedents. For example, one of the key previous rulings on the subject of federal marriage law and its relationship with the states is Reynolds v. US, which held that Congress could outlaw polygamy and force states to accept that definition of marriage.

    Remember, Windsor wasn't married in New York State. She got married in Ontario, Canada, and her marriage was recognized by New York State (but not by the federal government). According to the Windsor ruling, the federal government has to recognize her marriage not because it was contracted by one of the states, but merely because it is recognized by one of the states as valid. Well, how do you apply that when a state inevitably recognizes a foreign polygamous marriage? (Let's say that a person from the Middle East is visiting the US with their second wife, while US law only recognizes the first wife.) Under Reynolds, the federal government can prohibit states from recognizing polygamy, but under Windsor they have to accept what the states define as marriage.

    Windsor is a bad ruling for a good purpose. That might be a good thing in the short term, but like many other such rulings (see Roe v. Wade), it will cause significant problems down the road.
  7. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    If they can figure out the technical legal problems with polygamy, I really don't care if it becomes legally recognized. It's their life, let them be, if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anyone else. I wouldn't be advocating for it, but I wouldn't be troubled by it. In the eyes of the government, marriage is a legal control, entered into by anyone of age who legally consents, like other legal contracts. Still, there's a lot of technical legal problems with polygamy.
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  8. Cheveyo Force Ghost

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    Oct 29, 2001
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    I'm inclined to disagree, KK, especially regarding the fear of "innumerable problems for decades". This type of structure has existed in our government for some time. For example: Since the repeal of Abolition, federal law (USC) permits the consumption of alcohol. This is the broad, over-arching law of the land. HOWEVER ... each state and municipality may enact laws to restrict that overarching "right" as they feel the need. For example, the drinking age in is a standard at 21; however, it is a law set in place at the state level. DUI laws, the percentage amount of blood-alcohol content at which a person is considered legally impaired varies from state to state, in accordance with their own laws. There are communities in Alaska that are entirely "dry" as dictated by the municipal law.

    So while the federal law recognizes the right to imbibe the ferment potion of your choice, the states maintain their right to restrict that consumption.

    Marriage now follows the same model: A married gay couple in my state will receive all benefits and recognition at both the state and federal level, but a gay married couple in my home state (AZ) will only gain recognition and benefits at the federal level, because their marriage is not recognized by state law.

    The only hiccup (not innumerable at all, since I can count to "1") is the provision in DOMA that allowed the 50 states to not recognize marriages from other states if they conflict with that state's law. I imagine that too will ultimately be rectified, given the historical precedent.
    Last edited by Cheveyo, Jul 1, 2013
  9. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    Apr 27, 2005
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    I want somebody to take a stab at Virginia's marriage amendment. That thing was so horribly worded that even if I hadn't already known I was going to vote 'no' when I went to vote, I still would have voted 'no'. I wonder if the people who voted 'yes' realize that the denial of state rights and benefits could very well also extend to unmarried heterosexual couples as well?
  10. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    Sounds like North Carolina's amendment, and part of the campaign against it was due to the denial of benefits to unmarried heterosexuals. 61 percent of the state's population didn't care though, as long as dem queers couldn't marry each other.
  11. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    I don't think there was any real campaign against it until near the very end when it was all but useless as most people had been convinced/scared into voting for it. But keep in mind this was back in 2006 when any thought of repealing DADT and declaring DOMA unconstitutional or any state voting for same sex - marriage was nothing more than a pipe dream.

    Said amendment as written (since I was already at Wikipedia to double check the year of the amendment vote):

    That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.[64]
  12. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    "If they can figure out the technical legal problems with polygamy, I really don't care if it becomes legally recognized. It's their life, let them be, if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anyone else. I wouldn't be advocating for it, but I wouldn't be troubled by it. In the eyes of the government, marriage is a legal control, entered into by anyone of age who legally consents, like other legal contracts. Still, there's a lot of technical legal problems with polygamy."

    Forgive me if I haven't ready many of your previous posts, but where does polygamy come into this? Is it the last stop on the slippery slope after we've allowed gay couples to get hitched? If so, I must say that's a bit hypocritical, as the very same Bible used to support "traditional" marriage also features two Hebrew kings who had numerous wives and concubines. Christians against polygamy? They practically invented it.

    If I may continue the conversation on the Voting Rights Act ruling, as awful a ruling as it is there's some small merit to it. The south claims "times have changed" and it's just no longer fair to single them out to have to ask Mother-May-I before changing voting laws. In a really sad way, they're right! It's no longer just Jim Crow south that's trying to suppress voting, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a convincing argument that all this gerrymandering and voter ID laws are about anything else. (Especially the latter, since Republican Attorneys General, who would be highly motivated to produce results for their party, told party leaders there was none to be found.) If anything, the jurisdiction should be expanded to include all areas pulling off such shenanigans, requiring states to show proof of widespread voter fraud before passing any voter ID law, and to have their district maps approved.

    Question: anyone remember in Texas 10 years ago when they redrew the district maps just to gerrymander it in favor of Republicans? They were quite shameless about it, even arguing that, since Texas was a majority Republican state anyway, they deserved to have a map that makes it easier to elect Republicans? This past election cycle the Republicans maintained their majority despite getting fewer votes than Democrats. So if gerrymandering that favors Republicans is ok when Republicans are the majority, why is it also ok when they're not?
  13. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    Scuttlebutt says that Alito is authoring the Hobby Lobby decision so it looks like they won.
  14. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Discussion is ongoing in the politics thread, though I wish this thread had been more recent and easier to find.
  15. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    Well at least Police can't look at our cell phone information willy nilly unless they have a warrant.
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  16. rhonderoo Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2002
    star 9


    According to the Washington Post, they did.

    In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that certain employers citing religious objections can opt out of covering contraception mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

    The Supreme Court struck a key part of President Obama’s health-care law Monday, ruling that some companies may refuse to offer insurance coverage of specific birth control methods if they conflict with the owner’s religious beliefs.

    In a 5 to 4 ruling that pitted religious freedom against equal benefits for female workers, the court’s conservatives decided that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) gave employers the right to withhold certain birth control methods from insurance coverage.

    The contraceptive mandate “clearly imposes a substantial burden” on the owner’s beliefs, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority.

    It was the first time that the court had decided that the federal law covers corporations, not just the “persons” referred to in its text.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read a dissent from the bench.
  17. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    I noticed that the SC also seriously undermined unions as well in a different decision.
  18. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

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    Oct 25, 1999
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    Call me crazy, but all of this seems like a desperate attempt by the Right to try and slow the inevitable loss of power that is going to come with the now-unstoppable demographic shifts occurring across the US.

    Thirty years ago, they would have been successful. Now, in the Information Age, I don't see it. The Left, while beholden to its own problems, have learned the lessons of how to mobilize, and continue to trounce the Right in mobilization through social media (although the gap is closing).

    In relation to the comments regarding the SC's timing, one could argue that both ways. Yes, some of the rulings (Voting Rights Act) will help Republicans in the short term, but it also serves to galvanize Democrats. There's going to be complacency in the 2014 midterms (common in the sixth year of a Presidential term), but that will likely translate into renewed momentum come 2016, on both sides.
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  19. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    The concern I have is the possibility of a Republican-controlled Senate by way of midterms stymieing any judicial appointments by a Democrat President.

    Of course, as I posted on FB, it's a sorry state of affairs that it's accepted fact that the highest arbiters of law have partisan political ideologies.
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  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
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    In what way? Let me guess....When Ted Cruz was 12, he had Reagan appoint Judge Kennedy to the Supreme Court so he could act to decide a case to influence an election 30 years later. Now that's prior planning.

    The Supreme Court isn't beholden to anyone, and certainly not to the current parties. If these decisions went the other way, would you still consider them to be partisan conspiracies instead of clarifications of points of law? If the Hobby Lobby decision was reversed, I would seriously doubt that you would sit back and ruminate about how the decision was a conspiracy by the left to control the next election. Sometimes cases are decided that someone doesn't agree with. The full decision hasn't even been released to the public that I know of. But again, if I were to bet, I bet the decision is going to focus on adopting a single standard for such objections based on the existing exemption. There isn't going to be any surprises, partisan or otherwise, expressed at all.
  21. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    The slip opinion -- all 94 pages of it, with the concurrence and two dissents -- was released yesterday.

    And the decision definitely shows a sharp ideological cleavage in statutory interpretation, given the stark differences in how Ginsberg and Alito framed RFRA and its legislative history.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
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  22. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I feel that, in some ways, this decision is still fallout from Citizens United. I mean, it essentially grants religious freedom to corporations, right? Essentially stating that corporations can have religious beliefs? This seems like the logical extension of the original pronouncement that corporations = people, insofar as rights are concerned.

    Citizens United is probably going to be the single most significant political event of my lifetime. It granted corporations and the wealthy so much more power than they even already had. And it opened the door to even more power; see this decision. In a hundred years (and probably a lot sooner), if things don't turn around, corporations are going to be appointing the President and they'll literally own slaves again, instead of employing workers. And when people try to figure out how we got there, it'll all come back to Citizens United.
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  23. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Sort of. CU didn't demand this outcome though -- they sort of had to justify why RFRA's use of "person" should import the Dictionary Act and wasn't contrary to the logic of the statute.

    And even then, the game wasn't up. It's possible to concede that a corporation could fit under the definition of a person in RFRA and yet still lack discernible religious beliefs such that their rights under the statute were implicated. Or you could concede that closely-held corporations have religious beliefs, but having to cover an independent actor's purely voluntary decision to get BC (in other words, not demanded by statute) is too attenuated from a government act that burdens religious belief.

    So in short, yes it follows from the logic of CU but that wasn't the game-winning shot. There are at least those two (and more: see the Ginsberg dissent) ways it could've still gone the other way.

    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Yeah, I didn't think CU did anything like mandate this decision, but it's pretty clear that it made this decision easier for the court to make. I mean, it would have been difficult to start from ground level on this decision if it wasn't already established that, under other circumstances, a corporation had the same rights as a person.
  25. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

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    Aug 23, 1999
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    Genuine question: do you believe that it is morally wrong to oppose this demographic shift?