Thursday, December 02, 2004

Free-Floating Hostility

Here's a few random thought nuggets that I've wanted to write in extended form for a while...

The next conservative I hear bitching about "judicial activism" gets a punch in the face. Seriously, folks. In the past weeks, the Supreme Court has taken up cases dealing with Oregon's right-to-die law and medical marijuana law. Conservatives, not surprisingly, want to get rid of both of them. Apparently, judicial activism is horrible, bad, and awful, unless it strikes down laws that conservatives don't like, in which case go right ahead. In fact, I might note that the Supreme Court showed remarkable judicial restraint in choosing to stay the heck out of Massachussets' constitutional issue regarding gay marriage. A taste of your own medicine there, eh, right-wingers?

And how about the media coverage here? When the Supremes refused to rule on the Mass. court issue, they "sidestepped" gay marriage. But when they refused to rule on the Pledge case, it was support for the "under God" wording. This despite the fact that the ruling in Newdow was on procedural grounds, just like the refusal to hear the Mass. case was made on jurisdictional grounds. And yet, one is a "victory" for an ideological point and one was a "sidestep." Liberal bias my ass.

CBS and NBC are dumb. Here's why. Their rationale for rejecting this ad was that they "do not accept commercial advertising that deals with issues of public controversy." And yet, somehow, the political ads that we were saturated with during election season don't fall under this banner.

I have this to say to anyone who says that the Democratic Party isn't welcoming enough - Harry Reid. Seems the new leader of the anti-religious Northeastern elite babykillers is a Mormon from small-town Nevada who is pro-life (in the "outlaw abortion" sense). Dare I say it - our Big Tent is growing, the GOP's is rapidly shrinking.

Remember when Zellephant was talking about how Democrats were playing politics with our national security? Now there's this intelligence bill up there on the Hill, a bill that was thought through by a commission of experts. Were it allowed to come to a vote today, it would sail through both houses. Hell, the President even supports it. So what's stopping it? A Republican leader who refuses to put forth a bill that would split his caucus - even if it would prevent future terrorist attacks. Who's playing partisan politics? At least we didn't filibuster the DHS bill even though most Dems didn't like using the war on terror as an excuse to cut benefits for employees.

Republicans are pushing hard for a Constitutional "Arnold amendment." My question to the Republicans is this - if Arnold had been subject to our new stringent visa rules, would he have even bothered coming here in the first place?

You can all go home now. There's nothing left to see.


Anonymous said...

Here's some interesting thoughts for you to chew on re: the medical marijuana case. The liberals on the court are very likely going to vote AGAINST medical marijuana. Why, you ask? Wouldn't they support medical marijuana?

Yes, but that's not all this case is about. Congress passed its law banning medical marijuana under the Commerce Clause. Now from 1937 (post FDR's "court-packing" scheme) until 1995, not a single law passed under the Commerce Clause was struck down under the "oh, come on....this isn't really about Interstate Commerce" argument. The Supreme Court went through some really contorted logic to support, say, the Civil Rights Act.

But since 1995 the Court, led by its conservatives, has started striking down laws passed under the Commerce Clause b/c they weren't really connected to commerce. See US v. Lopez (Gun Free School Zone Act forbidding carrying guns near schools isn't related to commerce...that's for states to regulate) and US v. Morrison (provision of Violence Against Women Act authorizing victims to sue isn't about interstate again it's beyond Congress's power).

This has liberals afraid....afraid that the ultimate target of right wing nutjobs like Clarence Thomas is the Civil Rights Act. Like I said, it's connected to Interstate commerce by some pretty contorted logic. But it's a VITAL act for the protection of minorities' civil rights!

What's this got to do with medical marijuana? Well, the proponents of medical marijuana want to say that it's not interstate commerce. Many liberals who are sympathetic to medical marijuana fear that voting for its use in California here will undermine the Commerce Clause and continue down the road to killing the Civil Rights Act.

That's your Conlaw lesson for today. Over and out.

- Ben

Mike said...

Just wanted to say something briefly on the Ah-nold amendment. I for one support the measure, as much as I am uneasy about the prospect of President Schwarzenegger (I mean, "Demolition Man" was a pretty good movie, but it wasn't meant to be psychic). My reasoning is simple: Why should a person 35 years old be allowed to run for President, while a 50 year old who was naturalized at age 15 not be? Same amount of time as a U.S. citizen, right? Besides, it's a hell of a lot tougher to become a U.S. citizen if you weren't born one. Have you seen the citizenship test? You gotta know more about this country to become a citizen than you do to run for President. C'mon. Give the legal, naturalized immigrants a chance.

(Of course there's also the argument that we're all immigrants, except for the few Native Americans remaining. Which would add a whole new meaning to "Hail to the Chief".)

As for Ben's comments on medical marijuana: scary, just plain scary. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we really are the Divided States of America.

Mike said...

Oh, and excellent point about visas, Jeff. I have a friend here from Colombia who hasn't been able to leave the country and visit his family in 5 years because he knows he wouldn't be able to get back in and continue his education. Another Rice grad student went to China to get married, and then couldn't come back. A friend of mine got his office.