Gay Marriage Supporters Should Not Celebrate the California Court’s Ruling

You’ve probably already heard that the California federal court has found that California’s Prop 8 gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.  Not California’s Constitution Un-Constitutional, but Federal, Constitution that applies to all of us Americans, unconstitutional.  Gay rights groups are celebrating.  But , this is not good news, regardless of how you feel about gay marriage. (For what it’s worth, I support it, both on liberatarian and socially conservative grounds.)

The ruling will be appealed, and the Ninth Circuit will certainly uphold the decision.  So this battle will really be fought in the Supreme Court.  And that is exactly the battle that gay groups have been avoiding, with good reason. 

Let’s say that same-sex marriage supporters suffer a loss at the Supreme Court.  That’s huge.  SCOTUS only takes a few cases a year; it will likely be decades before they may be willing to take such a decision back, if not generations.  Having such a devastating loss from the highest court in the land will gird opponents and inspire revisits, and perhaps reversals, of the pro-gay marriage decisions that have been made up to now. 

On the state level, gay marriage supporters have made incredible strides in a very short time.  Gay marriage has been, and can continue to be, growing in acceptance, and people are becoming more comfortable with it.  A renouncement from the highest court in the land will be a devastating blow, and may stop that progress in its tracks.  Gay marriage opponents, which, it is important to remember, still constitute a majority of Americans, who may have lost interest or given up will be reminded of their opposition, and will take up arms again. 

On the other hand, let’s say that the Supreme Court upholds the California court’s decision.  A win for gay marriage across the country?  Perhaps.  Four years ago, I would have said that, should SCOTUS find such a right, we would expect a Constitutional amendment within days.  Things have changed in that regards, and opponents of such an amendment would have a much stronger case.  Stronger, but far from airtight.

If there is an amendment against gay marriage, it sets an alarming precedent.  It is not the place of the U.S. Constitution to set rules about popular social issues, and we should not start making it so.  Attitudes are changing; it does no good to set into stone a rule based on attitudes that may change in a matter of years.  As above, having a Constitutional Amendment, even one that gives states the right to make the decision, would reinvigorate opponents and gay marriage supporters would likely lose a great deal of the traction that they have gained in the past few years.  In our nation’s history, we have only overturned one Constitutional Amendment, so restrictions on gay marriage would be likely to last much longer than it would if it had been allowed to win support on its own.  It is simply not worth this risk. 

Even if such an amendment does not happen, the mere spectacle of a Supreme Court case and the national debate over an amendment will be a massive distraction from the important issues facing our country. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, it will almost certainly be a 5-4 split, which will mean that opponents will have every reason to question its validity.  Whether we like it or not, people care about this issue, and it is bound to bring up passionate debate and public interest.  Normally, debate and public interest are a good thing; however, our nation is now facing serious issues about the nature and role of government.  Like many of my fellow libertarian leaning Americans, I have been overjoyed at the new attention that this debate has brough to the public, and revel in the sudden attention that regular people now pay towards the government’s actions.  Distraction, in the form of a nationwide gay marriage debate, will allow government to grow, unchecked, while the people who would keep it in check debate an issue that in no way affects their livelihood and our country’s economic future.  We do not need to debate social issues right now; we need to keep the focus on the government.  A debate on gay marriage will not help that focus, and it will hurt our country.

Take it like a man!

One of my pet peeves, particularly in the summer, is that female attorneys seem to try to get away with dressing so casually as compared to the men.  The male attorneys that I see are universally in coats and ties, and usually in suits.  (Makes it a lot easier to spot the pro ses and clients.)  But the women often show up, even when they are arguing motions, in sleeveless tops, slacks, unstructured skirts, skimpy sandals, etc.   They don’t look lawyerly; they look like they’re heading to the mall or a casual dining restaurant. 

The way I see it, if you want to be treated like a man, and I’m sure that these female attorneys do, you should ensure that you are presenting yourself as professionally as the men are.  I know it’s hot, but, for crying out loud, be thankful that you aren’t expected to wear a tie! 

Anyway, on that note, one of my new favorite blogs is Corporette, which bills itself as “a fashion and lifestyle blog for over-acheiving chicks.”  They generally discuss things to wear to work, and also foray into work-related dilemmas, often with an emphasis on the female perspective (for example, a guest blogger did a post on breast pumping at work, and a recent discussion went into how to control your tears if you feel the urge to cry at work).  I think it usually strikes a good balance between recognizing the uniqueness qualities of being a woman but not expecting special treatment or worship because of sex. 

The Corporette comments very often mention the book “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” recommending it as a warning against things that professional women tend to do to hurt their chances at workplace success.  Since I’m going to be out in the “real world” of law pretty soon, I thought that might be a good read.  After all, I’m always told that I am nice.  (For example, recently, on Althouse, I told a commenter who was going on about Sarah Palin’s “big tits” to stfu with the misogyny, and commenters chimed in that if I was telling him to stfu, he must really be out of line.  If I’m known as “the nice one” when using an assumed name on an internet political blog, I must be an absolute peach in real life.)

Anyway, I was looking at buying the book, but then I thought, would a man read a book called “Nice Boys Don’t Get the Corner Office”?  That sounds kind of lame; men, particularly successful men, don’t usually navel gaze like that.  Or, if they do, they don’t let on.  So, maybe girls that get the corner office don’t read books like Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office?  Now I’m torn.

I admit that I kind of appreciate DOMA as a compromise . . .

But I’ve always thought that it was probably unconsitutional, so I can’t disagree with this ruling at first glance.  I’ll try to read it more and see if that changes later.  Love, love, love that we’re talking about the 10th Amendment, though.

Bork thinks Kagan Should Be Borked

bork[bawrk] –verb (used with object)

to attack (a candidate or public figure) systematically, esp. in the media. Origin: 1988, Americanism ; after Judge Robert H. Bork,  whose appointment to the Supreme Court was blocked in 1987 after an extensive media campaign by his opponents

Well I guess it’s only fair.  (via Ann Althouse)  That being said, I think Kagan is weak and inexperienced enough that she will be the best thing possible for conservatives and lovers of the Constitution in an Obama administration.  He says that he wants a consensus builder on the court; there is no indication at all that Kagan is that person.  She’s been nice to conservatives in the past (well, not that nice); I expect that she won’t be a stubborn voice that changes minds in the future.  She’s no liberal Scalia, and it’s a fantasy to think otherwise.  But she’s clearly smart and capable, and I expect her to do well on the issues that don’t involve political or constitutional questions.  So, she gets confirmed = we win. 

Kagan Confirm

That said, I’d like for them to make it a little rough on her.  I’d like to see the confirmation hearings turn into a referendum on the Constitution.  And a referendum on its limits.  In particular, I’d like for her to strongly, unequivocally define what she believes to be the limits of the Commerce Clause.  Because there is simply no good answer that shows that there are limits, yet supports a liberal agenda.  We need that on record.  And then, in 2012, we need to be sure to remind people that, in an Obama world, the Constitution sets no limits, and is meaningless.

Update: Kagan says that the Bork hearings were “great,” “educational” and “the best thing that ever happened to Constitutional Democracy.”  (via Instapundit)  Hope she still believes that.

Why did we go to war in Iraq?

A few days ago, I wrote a post thanking Former President George W. Bush for his unwavering support for doing what was right in our fight against terror.  Commenter hdhouse objected on the grounds that he believed that we were misled into the war:

No one disagrees that Saddam was one of the worst of the lot and justice caught up with him. That we trumped up all the other hoopla to invade Iraq when if Mr. Bush had just said, “hey..I wanna get that guy so we are going in” then it would have been something for an up and down vote.

But what Mr. Bush did was borrow the family car to go to the library and instead went out drinking.

I responded that I believed that removing Saddam and his regime was not only a valid reason for the war, but that it was a valid reason given for the war at the time as well. 

 I guess we all have different memories of our impressions at any given time, but I distinctly remember having discussions w/ my husband about getting rid of Saddam and his regime being the main, and clearly justifying, reason that we should go in during the time leading up to the invasion. WMD was still being debated at that time, but we agreed that, even if there were no WMD, it was still the right thing to do (I recall comparing it to a bodybuilder witnessing an old lady being beaten- although not perhaps required, it would be morally correct to intervene, and a moral failing not to).So, in other words, I don’t feel that I was misled that that was the plan and the goal, in the way you seem to. But memories are faulty things, and we all read them in our own ways.

I also commented that it would be an interesting project to do a media survey of the time before the war in an effort to understand what the public was told were the reasons for going.  Well, I can’t do that, exactly, but I can link to the Congressional Resolution on Iraq, which authorized the use of force.  It’s too long and legislative to really excerpt, but it clearly shows a number of reasons that the U.S. decided to go to war, only a few of which involve weapons of mass destruction. 

Of course, that was the law.  What the media actually said about it may be another story all together.

In what kind of world is this an excuse?

Hot Air (via Instapundit), in discussing Attorney General Eric Holder’s admission that he has not read the Arizona law that he is claiming may warrant a constitutional challenge, asks the following:

 Here’s the money question, prompted not just by Holder’s ignorance but the fact that Hillary criticized the statute without having read it either: Are they deliberately not reading it so that they have an excuse to walk back their criticisms later if this gets too hot politically?

So, I ask in response: The bill is 18 pages long.  This man is the attorney general of the United States; he is our highest ranked legal authority.  Hillary Clinton, while not serving in a law based position, is also a trained attorney.  Will the public really accept “I didn’t read the bill before I criticized it” as any sort of excuse whatsoever?  Really? 

My town has been in the mist of a very controversial criminal trial which included frequent complaints that the defendant was getting a raw deal.  One of my friends, who is not an attorney, asked me what my thoughts were on it.  I answered her, but made sure to state very clearly that I was only basing my opinion on what had been offered in some of the main media outlets, and that I had not examined the evidence or studied the proceedings unfiltered.  I specifically said that my answer was only applicable if the coverage I was reading was accurate and complete. 

Now, I don’t get paid to answer legal questions to facebook friends, and she was in no way relying on my answer other than to satisfy her own curiosity, so I can do that without all of the facts.  But, even so, I am an attorney, and she asked me because of my experience; I felt that I owed it to her to answer with the caveats or to give a completely informed answer.  Attorney General Holder owes us a lot more, and he is not following through.

Related: NRO is also outraged, calling this “the most transparently irresponsible administration in history.”

What do vitamins have to do with the financial crisis?

Like the apparent connection between the financial crisis and internet regulation, we are expected to simply trust congress to do what’s best for us, hiding and burying provisions into bills that seem unrelated to us mere mortals.  Financial regulations also include vitamin regulations. 

While no one was looking, he injected amendment language into the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173) that would expand the powers of the FTC (not the FDA, but the FTC) to terrorize nutritional supplement companies by greatly expanding the power of the FTC to make its own laws that target dietary supplement companies.

Once again, maybe this is a good law, maybe it’s not.  But, if it is, then it should be able to stand on its own.