You’re so GAY!!’ – Schoolyard slander to Supreme Court sanction

"GAY!"

In my own early 1970s Ontario Wonder Years, everyday adolescent language was at once piquant, ironic and flexible. ‘Tool’ was common currency for the least accomplished among us, ‘browner’ for the smarties, and ‘occies’ (occupational) as the blunt, dismissive reference to students with learning disabilities. I am not embarrassed by the memories – it was dispassionate chatter, and I am not at one with the sociologists and associated deep thinkers connecting their dots to elevate mere words beyond their station as purported evidence of ingrained hostility or intolerance.… [Read more]

Prop. 8: Same Sex Marriage Legal (again) in California

LGBT - Prop 8

The federal ban on recognising same-sex marriages is dead.

Earlier today the US Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. In another critical human and civil rights decision the high court  issued its ruling on Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. In a vote of 5-4,  the court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal once again in the state of California.… [Read more]

SCOTUS and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act: It’s Up to Congress

Voting Rights Act

The Supreme Court has decided to halt use of a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the voting rights decision and, effectively, the Court is leaving the decision about voting rights up to Congress by saying that legislators can draft another, more modern formula for voting rights. This action is a blow to all of those people who have defended the right to vote through this Act since at least 1965.… [Read more]

Busy day for the SCOTUS – good day for consumers

Generic Drugs

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-3 vote that agreements between the companies that make name-brand and generic drugs to delay the generics’ availability can be illegal. Federal regulators can now sue drug companies for antitrust violations when those brand-name drug makers pay generic competitors to keep cheaper, rival copies of a drug off the market.… [Read more]

Supreme Court says taking your DNA after arrest is legal

SCOTUS says it's OK to take your DNA without a warrant

“Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
~ Justice Anthony Kennedy (writing for the Supreme Court’s five-justice majority)

It appears that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took a hit today in a 5-4 decision.… [Read more]

The Myth of “Traditional” Marriage – Part Two

A woman makes her support of her marriage, and not civil unions, known outside the Mormon temple at New York City's Lincoln Center. Photographer's blog post about this photo and the protest. (Photo Credit: David Shankbone)

The proponents of illiberality and oppression often peddle their own warped definitions of equality. For them, segregation was an egalitarian institution – prohibiting women’s voting rights was just an extension of treating the inherently unequal sexes appropriately, according to their own potential abilities.

But as we all realize today, segregation in any form and/or the denying of individual rights is never truly an equal enterprise, no matter how much social conservatives may pontificate on their outdated and morally backward views.… [Read more]

Fairness and Equality

Prodigal Son

The other day, I listened to a priest talk about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. As he spoke, I started to think about what it really means to be a Christian and a human being in America today.

By no means am I a religious person, but the philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth has always been one of my guiding lights.… [Read more]

The Myth of “Traditional” Marriage — Part One

ID-10037773

Our culture and our time blind us all to some extent—some more than others, yet no one is exempt. Often we assume that the ways things are now and in this particular culture is how humans have always behaved throughout the globe. Many speak as if humans always organized within and understood the concept of centralized nation-states, that capitalism was always the dominant economic societal structure, that marriage was always a romantic relationship between a consenting adult male and a consenting adult woman.… [Read more]

LGBT Rights and the Supreme Court

DOMA and the SCOTUS

Much progress towards full LGBT rights was achieved last year; marriage equality was won in several states, bringing the total to nine (Maryland, Iowa, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia). Additionally, a hate crimes law was enacted, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended and, for the first time ever, a sitting President stated his full support for marriage equality and instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was enacted in 1996.… [Read more]

‘Lawyered Up’: Anniversary of Landmark Supreme Court Decision

Gideon v. Wainright

“If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell . . . to write a letter to the Supreme Court . . . the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter, the Court did look into his case .[Read more]

Some Senators get it, but some on the SCOTUS don’t: Voting Rights are Crucial

Supreme_Court_Voting_Rights-024ce

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent this e-mail today, hoping that the citizens of her state, and citizens around the nation, will take action:

The Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Voting Rights Act begin today.

We have to speak up in support of this landmark civil rights act now. There’s no time for silence. Not when a strike to this civil rights law would cause serious harm to our democracy.[Read more]

Voting Rights and the SCOTUS

Voting-Rights-Act-of-19652

Election day is months behind us but the issue of voting rights has once again become a ‘hot topic’. Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case, Shelby County v. Holder. At issue in this case is whether the decision made by Congress in 2006 to reauthorise one portion of the Act in particular, Section 5, has exceeded its authority under the 14th and 15th amendments (equal protection and voting privileges), thereby violating the 10th amendment (state sovereignty) of the U.S.… [Read more]

“It’s a Sad Day for Conservatives,” a.k.a Good news for healthcare reform

rickscott-shot

The  attention-grabbing title, “I am very disappointed in Governor Rick Scott” was enough to let me know that I would soon have something to smile about. Red State’s Eric Erickson’s morning e-newsletter said the following:

I was one of the few national conservatives to support Governor Scott in 2010 during his primary. He is a fundamentally great person.[Read more]

Dummy’s Guide to Understanding Stem Cell Transplants

Stem Cell Transplants

Stem cell research has appeared on the front pages once again. This week, the US Supreme Court announced that they have rejected an appeal that had been filed to block the government’s funding of stem cell research so that the research can proceed. The court refused to hear an appeal from scientists who have been challenging the federal funding for stem cell research — which is used with the hope that the cells will enable scientists to find cures for spinal cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease — on the grounds that it was violating a law that prohibits taxpayer financing for work that harms embryos.… [Read more]

The Supreme Court, Its Relation To The Election, and You

United_States_Supreme_Court

The Supreme Court started a new term this week and it is being argued that this may in fact be one of the most important sessions in over 60 years. After a three-month recess which began after the last session upheld the Affordable Care Act — which included the divisive Individual Mandate — the Supreme Court has released its list of potential cases.… [Read more]

Our Herculean President

Our Herculean President Obama

We loyal lefties have had to endure some hits this go around. From the ACA (“ObamaCare”) without a public option, to necessary bank bailouts with no strings attached, to continued wholesale tax giveaways for the rich and corporate welfare for Exxon/Mobil and the like, to watered down legislation of all varieties, it hasn’t been a perfect ride.… [Read more]

Citizens United Continues to Undermine Our Once Democratic Election Process

Ballot Paper

The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United against the Federal Election Commission has certainly been controversial. Those in favor of the ruling simply argue the ruling is a victory for freedom of speech and the freedom to raise unlimited campaign funds. The fact that unions, non-profits, and corporations are now viewed as ‘citizens’ has critics of the ruling up in arms.… [Read more]

Professor Antonin Scalia: Judicial Independence 101

Justice Scalia, trending now

In the midst of the gloom expressed over the continued moribund state of the American economy, it heartened yer obedient scribe to see that even a 76 year old, life appointed US Supreme Court justice can rock his inner capitalist and push publishing royalties with the best of them. Hollywood celeb tell-alls, the Harry Potter franchise, Da Vinci Code hilarity, and (forthcoming) the wit and wisdom of Nancy Grace, certain contender for the world’s thinnest book award – step aside!… [Read more]

“Just doing our job” – for once

Supreme Court Justices 2012

The torrent of Obamacare emotion that cascaded northwards across the border last Thursday is an intriguing phenomenon for this Canadian observer. We embraced the benefits of universal health care long ago, and in a series of occasional articles on what is now cast as the crucial U.S. election issue for 2012, I will attempt to assist the citizens of the Great Republic in their better understanding of the Canadian medical health insurance system.… [Read more]

Wrap It Up, July 1, 2012

Time for Change

We started the week with a simple question: “Where’s the humanity?” What made us think about this was an article from an overseas newspaper that reported a man died because of the lack of access to health care — caused, in part, by policy. We found ourselves understanding that processes and procedures allow organisations to run more efficiently, but when those same means of operational effectiveness result in loss of life, all for the sake of following codes, then those procedures should be re-evaluated.… [Read more]