Tag Archives: Supreme-Court

Gay Marriage in California

A few days ago, the California Supreme Court struck down a statutory regime that gave same-sex couples essentially the same rights and duties as married couples, but called them “registered domestic partners” instead of “married couples.” This, the court said, violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.

The court did not say whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and have their relationship called and recognized as a “marriage.” As the court pointed out on pages 4 and 5 of the slip opinion:

Continue reading

Reflection on Gonzales v. Carhart (the recent Ruling on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban)

Judicial Life Potentially Enters the Womb
550 U.S. ___ (2007)

On April 18, 2007, the Supreme Court of the United States decided, 5 to 4, in Gonzales v. Carhart (Carhart) that the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 (Act) was constitutional in view of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (PP), and Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (Roe). The Act banned the abortion procedure identified as “intact D&E” but kept legal the “standard D&E” procedure Continue reading

Life, Liberty, and Property

Hands off our homes
A Supreme Court ruling that allows the government to seize private property has set off a fierce backlash that may yet be as potent as the anti-abortion movement

"Seven days later [after the Kelo v. New London SCOTUS decision], by a ten-to-one margin, the Republican House of Representatives passed a motion disagreeing with the court. A constitutional amendment to overrule Kelo is before the House, while a bill that would have a similar effect is before the Senate. Delaware, Alabama and Texas have already passed laws restricting the government's power to grab private property. Legislators from two dozen other states have either proposed similar bills, or promised to do so.quot;


"Since Kelo, the law may have shifted in favour of the men with the bulldozers, but public opinion has swung sharply the other way. Polls suggest that 90% of Americans disapprove of the kind of seizures allowed by Kelo. Such is the anger that some developers say they are shunning even the kind of eminent-domain seizures that would have been legal before Kelo."

This decision has local implications, too.

"Property-owners fighting against local government have been buoyed by the backlash. In the town of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, for example, a small group of businessfolk received letters last year informing them that their shops were to be demolished to make way for a new development including apartments and a parking garage."


"The local government had declared the area 'blighted'. But a brief walkabout reveals that it is no more blighted than the potato you ate for lunch. A couple of shop fronts are a bit tatty, but otherwise it looks fine. Indeed, the district has been officially designated 'historic', since much of it was built in the 19th century. The condemned properties include a second-hand shop that supports the local hospital, a club for veterans of foreign wars and Scott Mahan's stationery shop, which has been in his family since 1926."

BTW, Ardmore is in Lower Merion Township, which was founded by Quakers, some of whom are my ancestors. It's a tenuous tie, perhaps, but preserving PA and family history is important to me. So is sticking up for underdogs.

A lot of the groups making a fuss about Kelo, like Grassfire, are conservative in nature, and the article points out similarities to the Roe v. Wade ruling. I don't think this should be dismissed as a right wingnut issue, however. The Left ought to be more interested that it seems to be. I can't recall a single alert or petition coming from the ACLU, MoveOn, or any of the other myriad liberal organizations I get mail from (and I get a lot). Why is that?

Average Americans of all political leanings seem to be outraged by this decision, but the leadership seems to be asleep at the switch. This decision will benefit large corporations and hurt small businesses and individual landowners. Joe Voter stands to lose the most from this ruling. The problem is, he didn't vote for the folks who made the decision. They were appointed by presidents and confirmed by his senators. The legislative branch is supposed to serve as a check on the powers of the executive and judicial branches. It's time to hold our representatives accountable and impress upon them the importance of supporting an amendment to reverse Kelo. To do that, we're going to need help from grassroots organizations from all parts of the spectrum.

Wake up, Left! Your country needs you!

Holding Politicians Accountable

Operation Clean SweepRemember that raise PA legislators gave themselves? Well, Operation Clean Sweep Pennsylvania isn't the only group torqued by it. Common Cause Pennsylvania wants in on the butt-kicking.

"A citizens lobby called Common Cause/Pennsylvania is considering a wide range of options, including a lawsuit and two pieces of legislation, to fight the pay raise that state legislators approved for themselves in the early-morning hours of July 7."

"'We are exploring all our options, including the litigation option,'' said Executive Director Barry Kauffman."

"Despite unsuccessful lawsuits against previous raises, one in 1986 by a group called the Consumer Party and another in 1995 by Harrisburg activist Gene Stilp, Duquesne University law school Professor Bruce Ledewitz believes the Legislature's action this time clearly violated the state constitution, which prohibits a legislator from getting a raise during his or her term."

"To avoid the constitutional prohibition, legislators are calling their raises, which began taking effect on Monday, "unvouchered expenses'' rather than actual raises."

When I last checked, CC/P hadn't posted anything on their site about potential legislation or litigation. I'll be sure to keep an eye on them and let you know if they need support.

On another front in the war for accountability in politics, I received the following in an email from the Libertarian Party.

"Does the Bush Administration Take Its Job Seriously?"

"(Washington, D.C.) On Wednesday, 14 Marines deployed to Iraq from Ohio were killed when their armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb. The attack is one of the deadliest attacks to take place in Iraq. Days earlier, six Marines from the same unit were killed in a fire-fight near Haditha."

"Meanwhile, Republican President George W. Bush set out yesterday to begin his five-week vacation in Crawford, Texas. The planned vacation will be the longest presidential getaway in 36 years (Richard Nixon spent over a month at his San Clemente estate in 1969)."

"While Bush's aides and enablers defend the president's aggressive vacationing, it is simply poor leadership on the part of the Commander in Chief. While American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen are disallowed from simply returning to the United States as scheduled and risks their lives in Iraq each day, the President of the United States enjoys the comfort and pleasures of his Crawford ranch."

"'As a self-professed 'Wartime President', George W. Bush needs to start taking his job seriously by showing the leadership that our troops deserve,' said Shane Cory, director of communications for the Libertarian Party."

"Cory continued, 'Throughout his presidency, Bush has wrapped himself in patriotic rhetoric by using the troops as the focus of American pride. It's time for Bush to take a step toward working as hard as they do by simply staying on the job and finding a way to bring our troops home.'"

Amazing…I actually agree with the Libertarian Party on something other than the need to break the two-party's stranglehold on this country. Adding shock to amazement, here's another idea I agree with.

"Libertarians upset about a Supreme Court ruling on land taking have proposed seizing a justice's vacation home and turning it into a park, echoing efforts aimed at another justice who lives in the state."


"The plot mirrors the party's ongoing effort to get the town of Weare, about 45 miles to the southeast, to seize Justice David Souter's home. Souter's property is also the focus of a proposal by a California man who suggested the town turn the farmhouse into a 'Lost Liberty Hotel.'"

Way of Life vs Way of Death

When will we get beyond this poor excuse for justice?

BTW, this guy is pretty old. If he should die or retire while Bush is in office,
Dubya will get to replace him. That could be good news if a pro-life judge is installed.
That could be bad news because Bush’s idea of pro-life doesn’t include abolishing
the death penalty.

U.S. Doesn’t Need Death Penalty

Wed May 12, 4:15 PM ET

“CHICAGO – Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (news – web sites) says that he
believes the death penalty is constitutional, but that the country would be better
off without it.”