The Supreme Court considers the question of whether California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage is constitutional. So what should happen when the majority acts against a minority, as in Proposition 8? Particularly when we see the executive branch make a craven political decision to not act, and legislators at both the federal and state level unwilling to act. In such a case, it seems obvious that the judiciary is the last firewall to protect our civil liberties, and it is only the judiciary that can preserve minority rights against the will of the majority. In such a case, not only is judicial action acceptable, it is necessary, even when it means substituting judicial fiat for democratic majority or legislative action. Self evident inalienable individual rights should trump the majority every time.
Archive for the 'Civil Liberties' Category
Some described Rand Paul’s historic 13 hour filibuster as “libertarian porn”. Note we are talking about a CSPAN feed of a man speaking at a podium for 13 hours, yet it was far more engrossing and entertaining than it had any right to be.Ultimately the Senate voted to confirm John Brennan as Director of the CIA 63-34. But Senator Rand Paul got the answehe was looking for and the country got the debate we deserved.
My hometown supervisors again set up The City for national ridicule and general hilarity, this time with the ban on Mcdonald’s Happy Meal toys. I guess it is a good thing that in these trying times we can offer ourselves up to the rest of the nation as civic clowns to help lighten the national mood.
I fully understand that – in the most progressive major city with the most progressive governing body in the country – it is impossible for them to resist the temptation to occasionally succumb to their core belief that no one is capable of making decisions for themselves or their family without their benevolent dictates guiding forcing us in the right direction. But… when even the Daily Show is pointing and laughing – you’d think our Supes might get a clue.
In America, in matters of religious tolerance, there should be no close calls, no qualification of primary principles, and the first amendment should not be location dependent. I hold no quarter with the distinction of “rights” vs. right which strikes me as a Clintonian parsing for those looking to rationalize making the Cordoba Project move the mosque/cultural center.
This week the ACLU released a disturbing report documenting the permanent enshrinement of the Bush/Cheney definition of the Unitary Executive by the Obama administration. With the tacit acceptance of the Democratic Congress, the balance of power between executive and other branches continues to shift heavily to the executive. While distressing, the report is unsurprising as it was clear in the first few weeks of the new administration that Obama’s campaign rhetoric of rolling back the Bush/Cheney power grab was just that – empty campaign rhetoric.
About the author: Byron C. Tau is a journalism graduate student at Georgetown and a recent graduate of McGill University in Montreal. You can find him all over the Internet, from his politics and commentary website Heartless and Brainless to his Twitter account to his personal blog. His favorite topics tend to be civil liberties […]
The unusual case of a cancer-stricken thirteen year-old who is refusing treatment is quickly becoming one of those unusual and unfortunate legal cases that mix religion, law and the rights of the individual. With the support of his parents, the thirteen year-old in question is refusing chemotherapy because the family believes in â€œnaturalâ€ healing (they […]
2008 Senator Lindsey Graham seems to disagree with 2009 Lindsey Graham. This is Mike Fritz and David Murdock from ANP. Senator Lindsey Graham was a passionate critic of the Bush Justice attorneys during this past summer’s Armed Services Committee hearings on interrogation. Lately, however, Graham seems to have had second thoughts on the matter. At […]
First, let me say that I respect Sonny Bunch. A lot. I rarely agree with Sonny, but he is clearly and genuinely interested in engaging those with whom he disagrees. That said, the posts (and subsequent responsive comment) with which E.D. and Mr. Schwenkler take issue is emblematic of something that has been particularly frustrating […]
There was some question, with Obama’s statement on the release of the OLC memos, whether he was making a blanket declaration that there would be no prosecution of former torturers or torture-enablers, or whether he was being wishy-washy. Today he was asked again. Wishy washy it is. I take this as, more or less, reassuring. […]