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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

“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]