Due to the amount of stuff going on in my personal and professional life, I have been and will continue to be on a temporary hiatus. As soon as things calm down and I get a number of issues settled I will be back, and better than ever.
Due to the amount of stuff going on in my personal and professional life, I have been and will continue to be on a temporary hiatus. As soon as things calm down and I get a number of issues settled I will be back, and better than ever.
Flat out - this is an awful choice by the President. Once again we have a nominee we know nothing about. However, unlike Roberts, it is unlikely that we will ever know anything about Harriet Miers. She has no long paper trail from prior work in government. She has no opinions from a stint on the bench. She simply has lots of advice given to the President, and as his personal lawyer, that will certainly be privileged.
And there is much anecdotal evidence out there to be discouraged about. Stephen Bainbridge has a good summary. A couple of interesting points - Miers was troubled by the number of Federalist Society members working in the White House Counsel's office because Federalist Society-types loathe the ABA - which she loves; she doesn't have, and has never needed to develop, a coherent judicial philosophy - which makes her dangerous as she will be able to "grow" on the Court (which usually means veering left ala Souter, Blackmun, and Kennedy); Sen. Cornyn himself has said "She obviously is no Scalia or Thomas."
We are yet again told to "trust the President." Well, I don't any more. He has given us boatloads of new spending, larger government, and has done nothing to reign in any of the runaways in Congress. His token conservative policy has been tax cuts. And, in the end, I really don't know if the President truly has a commitment to conservative judicial principles that would merit my trust in him.
I am genuinely hoping that some of the hints from Republican Senators that they are not enthused will be brought to fruition. Trent Lott and Sam Brownback have expressed reservations, if not disapproval of the choice. Republicans need to look at this with skepticism and understand what this has the potential to do to the conservative base. This is especially true of some Republicans who may face tough re-election battles next year (Santorum, Burns, Talent). The base needs to feel that it is being heeded or they won't show up at the polls 13 months from now. And that could mean that 2007 will see a Senate with fewer Republicans, and will lead to the loss of any chance of holding a majority on a conservative position (as defections from the likes of Snowe, Collins, Chafee and Specter could knock us below 50).
What would be sweet justice would be for the ABA to issue Miers a "not qualified" rating, since she fought hard when the Administration made the decision to abandon the ABA vetting procedure for potential nominees. That would also provide cover by which Republicans in the Senate could grow spines and defeat this nomination andd demand that the President pick from the scores of qualified conservative academics and jurists who have proven their qualification, merit, and suitability.
Shame on you Mr. President for giving your supporters the middle finger with this nomination. Now was not the time to make a nomination because you can - we know you have the power and authority to nominate anybody you wish. What you fail to realize is just because you can doesn't mean you should. This nomination blows off your base, and sets back the movement to bring conservative principles back to the judiciary. How many men and women like Michael Luttig and Edith Jones will you find now? If a Republican President with 55 Republican Senators does not have the will to elevate a long-serving, eminent jurist who issues openly conservative opinions, when will those judges have a chance for promotion? The answer - never. And so, you will see more judges making fewer and fewer conservative rulings, choosing to protect their hopes of advancement by keeping their paper trail "clean" rather than doing what is right by the country.
Shame on you Mr. President.
First - and a biggie - Rhode Island. Stu Rothenberg has a new piece, reprinted from Roll Call, discussing the entry of Mayor Stephen Laffey into the Republican primary race. His assessment is that incumbent Chafee will be running from behind and that recent polling showing Laffey well behind is probably off the mark. I wouldn't disagree with the eminent Mr. Rothenberg. In fact, his comments about Laffey's populist approach (as opposed to a hard-line conservative approach), suggest that Laffey may be positioning for the general election. But, Rothenberg doesn't address what I think could be used by the Chafee campaign - polls that show Laffey would significantly trail both Democrat candidates. Chafee continues to run ahead of both Democrat options (though Sheldon Whitehouse seems to have a nice lead on the Democrat side). The "electability" card will be powerful with a number of Rhode Island Republicans. I see the fervor for jettisoning Chafee to be coming more from vocal parties who are outside the state. Inside the state, I think there is a significant bloc of GOP voters who want to hold the seat. If polls continue to show Laffey trailing the Democrats while Chafee leads them, Chafee will remind voters of that and suggest that Laffey can't win - and that they should keep him on the ticket if they want to hold onto that seat.
Personally, I'm torn at the moment. If I voted in Rhode Island, I would be in that "pragmatic bloc." On an absolute scale I don't care much for Chafee. But I also don't care for Democrats. If polls around primary day show Laffey trailing Whitehouse, I simply wouldn't be willing to take the risk of losing the seat simply to "send a message" or even for the simpler reason of purging Chafee. This one will likely be a roller coaster, and I wouldn't be surprised to see poll after poll showing big numbers of undecideds.
Second - West Virginia. I still haven't seen any news about Rep. Capito jumping in. I know her dad wants her to get in. But here's why I think she'll stay out. One - 2006 is not going to be a Republican disaster year, but it is certainly not going to be another 1994 - second term midterm with a seemingly unpopular Congress doesn't bode well. Two - Bob Byrd is Bob Byrd. He has almost taken on mythic proportions, is so associated with his state (most of the state is named after him), and is such a skilled politician (you don't spend nearly 70 years in public life without being good at the game), that he has a definite edge, even in Red West Virginia. Three - and the clincher for me - 2008 is riper. West Virginia's presidential leanings will provide a coattail to any Republican Senate candidate, especially one of Capito's stature. In addition, she would face off against Jay Rockefeller, who is more liberal than Byrd and splendidly less noteworthy than Byrd. While we all salivate at the idea of unseating a guy like Bob Byrd, the reality is that we should save our big gun for the better circumstance - and in West Virginia, that's 2008. Capito losing to Byrd in 2006 would damage her and would make it difficult for her to run another campaign in 2008 against another incumbent. I'm sure that's part of her calculus - and I would probably want to keep the powder dry here.
I've been working on this for a while, and will continue to work on it. I have put together an Excel spreadsheet (download here) that records virtually every single roll call vote in the Senate this year. I have excluded certain "token" votes - like the Resolution expressing condolences on the death of John Paul II and other such non-binding resolutions that have no political effect and are virtually always unanimous.
I have taken each vote and assigned a "conservative" vote position. And have then sought to rate each Senator's conservativeness. This goes farther than most ratings as they take into account only certain "major" votes. But there are many amendments and procedural votes that are quite important.
Finally, I have also sought to give Republican Senators "loyalty scores" indicating how often they vote with the Republican caucus. In order to do that, I considered a "loyalty vote" any vote in which at least 47 Republicans vote on the same side. I chose the number because it is about 85%, and it also sounded about right. As we know there are 4 or 5 "moderates" in the caucus - so a number like 50 would have left few votes to count. Where the caucus loses 9 members however, it seemed fair to say there was more than just RINOism going on.
I will be regularly updating the votes. I encourage those reviewing the info to give me feedback - are the parameters right, do you think I mischaracterized a particular vote, is there a vote on which I missed the "conservative" position?
Please see below for some of the findings and some conclusions on those numbers.
Lucky for the Mayor, I am not registered in NYC anymore, because his pointless and (my opinion) ignorant announcement that he opposes confirmation of John Roberts, would have lost him my vote.
Excuse the language, but, who the hell does Bloomberg think he is. The absolute last thing that is at all relevant to a mayoral election anywhere in this country is a Supreme Court nomination. So firstly, the Mayor doesn't even need to take a position on John Roberts, or any other nominee. But he couldn't help himself, even with polls showing he is going to attract large swaths of Democrat voters.
I don't really fault him as much for the opposition - though I think there is every reason to stand behind the choice of the President on this, especially when you want to play on the Republican team and take the party's support to advance yourself. My fault lies in his absolute and utter tunnel vision as to the reason. He is opposing Roberts because he did not show a clear commitment to Roe v. Wade. You read that correctly. One - why is the Mayor choosing his position on a single issue? Two - why is he taking a side based on what he admits is an ambiguity - not enough commitment? What does that mean - apparently the Mayor wanted Roberts to state that he would under no circumstances reconsider the most legally deficient and most regularly criticized legal decision of the Supreme Court. Three - if the Mayor is going to base his decision on a single issue, why is abortion the issue? The Mayor of New York, in fact even the judicial department of the City of New York has exactly zero control over the issue. In fact, even were Roe overturned, I would doubt that a local government would have control of the issue - it would almost certainly be decided by statute at the state level. If a mayor is going to express an opinion about a Supreme Court nominee based on one issue, I would think it should be the issue of federalism - and the nominees willingness to allow state and local government to act according to the best interests and preferences of the municipal electorate.
We've all seen the spike in gas prices, especially since the supply disruptions stemming from Katrina. We have also seen numerous calls by Democrats (Chuck Schumer comes to mind) asking for the President to release the Strategic Reserves to lower prices. We also know that there is a good chance even that act would do little to alleviate prices in normal circumstances (where production issues are not in place due to infrastructure damage).
So what does this all mean and why am I talking about it? Because yesterday I was thinking about gas taxes. Every state and the federal government impose taxes on gas per gallon. So I did a little search and found this site laying out state gas taxes. Note the feds charge 18.4 cents per gallon. And it occurred to me that the most effective, and quickest, way to reduce gas prices and provide relief to the average citizen is for both state and federal governments to waive part or all of their gas taxes at least temporarily. It's the perfect Republican/conservative policy - lower taxes always work for Republicans. And there's no way such a move could be labeled "tax relief for the rich." Sure there would be a hit to tax revenue, but aren't these the kind of times when we actually need to take these steps?
In many states, the relief could be significant - California totals 50 cents a gallon, NY almost 49 cents, Florida 48 - and a three-month suspension (lasting until the end of the year) would be most welcome. It also might help to then reinstitute the taxes in a phased in manner, adding a portion of the tax back each month, to prevent a sudden price shock come January.
I can only wonder why this hasn't been seriously discussed in Congress or the larger states.
The California Senate has approved a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state. While I commend the members of the California Senate for their decision to take up this issue, to debate it, and to give it their approval, I can't help but wonder why California continues to be the great battleground for this cause, or why the legislature has opted to make this statement.
First, the State Assembly has previously rejected bills for gay marriage, meaning that this latest attempt may well go nowhere.
Second, there is presently a state court case moving to the California high court dealing with definitions placed into California law through voter-approved ballot measures.
Third, that ballot measure seems to stack the deck against the measure. In 2000, Californians, by a 61%-39% margin approved an initiative ballot measure that defined marriage as between members of the opposite sex. Under the California Constitution (as I read it), a measure raised and approved by initiative cannot be unilaterally amended by the Legislature - any law amending the initiative must be approved by the state's voters. A mere 5 years since the original vote, it seems unlikely that the electorate's opinion will have so greatly shifted as to give this amendment a chance to succeed.
***UPDATE - 9/18/2005: I'm glad Gov. Schwarzenegger has decided to veto this legislation and respect the will of the people in voting for the prior initiative. There is still too much going on in California on this topic for this to be a good idea. The courts have not completed their work as to the 2000 initiative and its meaning. Once that decision comes down it may be appropriate to put the issue on the ballot again and see what the voters think about the issue. With extensive Domestic Partnership benefits in California, it is not clear why "marriage" is so urgent.
It remains a mystery to me why marriage continues to be the great crusade of the gay Left. Many gay and lesbian Americans could care less about having the right to marry - they do not wish to get married, or are not in a position to get married (people without any significant relationship that could become a marriage). Yet in many places in the country, gays and lesbians still lack some much more basic rights - they live in the midst of extreme intolerance that makes it difficult for them to safely live an open existence in their workplaces and communities. Gays and lesbians remain anathema in the military services in this country. We have so many more important things to expend our energy on.
Even were this not the case - even if marriage were the only issue left to be addressed, the single-minded insistence on the term "marriage" is wholly pointless and counter-productive. Civil Unions, now the law in Connecticut and Vermont, provide all the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage - and have proven to be infinitely more acceptable to many members of the population - a population that has expressed its opposition to gay marriage in poll after poll. Yet, activists continue to insanely, and to my mind, unreasonably, scream "separate but equal" and other such garbage at the idea of accepting something that isn't called marriage. What this proves to me is that the gay Left is more interested in the issue than in truly helping the gay and lesbian families that they claim to be representing.
Read more below...........
I am greatly saddened by the death of the Chief Justice. I am still rather young - and for me this is big news - much akin to the death of Pope John Paul II. Rehnquist was the only Chief I really remember - I was still much too young to be paying attention when he rose to the seat in 1986.
Of course, much over the next few days will be about the Chief, and I do not seek to diminish his immense impact and extraordinary legacy, but I will look ahead to the future.
One thing that is certain is that the Chief's replacement will not be confirmed prior to the commencement of the 2005 Term (unless the President converted the Roberts nomination to a nomination to Rehnquist's Chief seat and sought someone else for the O'Connor Associate seat - not impossible, but not probable). Given that, the President should wait to make a nomination until the Roberts hearings are completed. I think that will allow the President a more conservative choice without jeopardizing Roberts, or letting Democrats wrap Roberts into a package deal. Having proved in hearings that Roberts is an eminently reasonable choice, they will be hard-pressed to hold him up based on the second choice.
The President also should resist the temptation to play the cronyism card and name Gonzales to the seat. The base will not be much enamored with a trade of the conservative Rehnquist for the mushy moderate Gonzales. Of course, we already have a short list, it's much the same as the one that came up earlier this summer - and we know that the White House has prepared for Rehnquist's departure (though they were expecting a retirement not a death). So a name will emerge fairly quickly.
My own proposal actually draws on the unlikely conversion option. I don't know - but in the absence of a Chief, I would assume the Court would be "run" by the senior Associate - that would be Stevens. Even as a stand-in I dislike this idea to no end. Thus, Roberts should be named to Rehnquist's seat as Chief. Nothing in the calendar has to change - and it would provide that there be a Chief in place come October and that there would also be a full complement of nine justices (since O'Connor's retirement doesn't take effect until her replacement is confirmed). Keep O'Connor for another month or two while the Senate does its work on a second nominee. For that seat I would actually love to see Edith Jones - twice passed over now. While many clamor for Janice Rogers Brown - I think that exuberance is misplaced - she has yet to decide a case on the DC Circuit, and until we actually see her in a federal setting, we can't be certain how her decisions will come out. Too many issues like federalism, separation of powers, executive powers, etc., don't come up at the state level and Brown has no track record. Jones has been a federal appellate judge for 20 years and is a solid commodity.
Of course, we also must now acknowledge that the legislative business of the country will practically cease for the year. By the time the Senate works out this second seat it will be November and the holiday recesses will roll around. It's disappointing, but the air will be sucked out of everything else while we all talk about the second round to follow the Roberts process. I suppose it will be an even more interesting fall than originally thought.
So today I read what has to be an awful job of coverage by the Washington Post on the issue of federal student aid. The article addressed efforts to repeal provisions of the 1998 Higher Education Act that prevent those convicted of drug crimes from receiving federal student aid. The awful coverage job is that the article made the story into some sort of "rich vs. poor" issue - as if the law was passed to oppress the poor because rich people don't need financial aid.
In reality, the issue is government responsibility to its citizens and taxpayers. I grant that the law doesn't affect "rich kids" who don't get financial aid - but the simple answer to that is - the government can't do anything to them, and rightly, because the government is doing anything for them in the first place. Most of these "rich kids" attend private institutions by using private dollars (from parents and relatives). If little Johnny's parents are still willing to pay $40K a year so they're little druggie can go to Princeton, good for them. But I, as a taxpayer, should not have my tax dollars go to support the education of a half-baked kid who can't manage to go to class because smoking up is more important.
Mind you, I don't claim the law in question is flawless. I think there are many things "wrong" with it, but I do strongly disagree with the alleged answer of repeal. The answer is not to eliminate the provisions, it's to make them real restrictions. The underlying principle - that taxpayers should not support the education of kids who are twice (twice!) convicted of possession (or once convicted of selling drugs; and both possesors and sellers are at first only suspended from receipt for two years - a ban only activates on additional convictions) - is a good one, and should be one that receives broad support.
That said, read on below the fold for some of my "corrections" that might make the law better - and more equitable.
I obviously must weigh in on the announcement from Bill Weld that he will run for the Republican nomination to be Governor of New York.
Now, many a blog site on the right seems to be wailing and gnashing their teeth at the "RINO" running. Unfortunately, many of these bloggers have never lived in a state either East of the Mississippi or North of the Mason Dixon line. As a lifelong New Yorker (until two months ago when I moved to DC), I know better. The bloggers want the second coming of George W. Bush to run. Problem is that Bush got 40% of the vote in New York. A Santorum-style conservative cannot win a statewide election in New York. Compromises must be made to the socially liberal views of New Yorkers. If folks want a Republican governor, they can get one. If they want a Conservative, then the Red Staters need to start moving up to the Empire State to tip the balance. The worst part of the criticism is that it is not constructive - it amounts to not wanting Weld and hoping the GOP can do better - but fails to even suggest a possibility that would be more to their liking. The reason is that there is no such person - no viable politician in New York is a conservative to their liking.
That said, I am full-square behind Weld. He has the strong support of Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is the only person who has polled better for the Governor's mansion than Eliot Spitzer. Campaign help from Rudy and a Giuliani endorsement would be huge boosts for Weld. Plus Weld has the seriousness to run - he managed to run, win, and govern Massachusetts. Can Eliot Spitzer say that? Of course not.
Finally, and the biggest reason I am for Weld - we have nobody else on the bench. The other names I have heard are very lackluster. Randy Daniels, the current Secretary of State (an appointed office in New York), is a virtual unknown, and is himself a converted Democrat. Tom Golisano spurned the Republicans three times to run for Governor as an independent - and he never gained any real traction - a loser if I ever saw one. Joe Bruno is a mess and shouldn't even still be thinking about it - he carries with him the burden of being responsible for scuttling the West Side Stadium in NYC (and any shot at the Olympics with it) and for the total dysfunction that has characterized the state government.
In the end, 2006, for New York Republicans is probably not about winning another term in the Governor's mansion, or defeating Hillary, we likely will lose both. What 2006 is about is keeping our Senate and Assembly candidates from getting swamped by coattails from big wins by Spitzer and Clinton. Pirro is a good choice in the Senate race. We need to make a similar one at the top of the ticket. The Senate majority stands at 35-27 - and the GOP manages to hold a number of suburban districts that have trended Democrat in presidential, US Senate and congressional elections. A sweeping Democrat victory could be the difference in some of those districts and could cost us the chamber. Coupled with an already overwhelmingly Democrat Assembly and a Democrat governor and the state will surely go to hell right quick.
So all the naysayers on the right should probably just quiet down and support Weld as a pretty good shot at holding this seat.
I always take a little bit of joy when people who act morally superior get hit with something like this.
The always "morally superior" Jimmy Carter now has a convicted criminal in the family. Grandson Jeremy Carter (a mere 18 years old - son of Jeff Carter - Jimmy's youngest son) plead guilty to stealing a video game console. He was arrested after being found in a friend's home but the burglary charge was reduced to a misdemeanor "theft by taking" charge. That was because the victim did not want young Carter to go to jail (burglary would carry a three-year prison sentence). Jeremy will only suffer 30 days of house arrest and 36 months probation thanks to the victim's generosity.
Maybe old Jimmy should get his own house in order before he tells the rest of the country how to run its business.
I recently found an audio clip of the great Winston Churchill's speech to Parliament on May 13, 1940 - his first as the newly named Prime Minister. I love reading the quote. I also believe it is as applicable today in the face of Islamofascism and its terrorist tactics as it was against the Nazis in 1940.
See below for the quote.......or listen to the clip. Download blood.mp3
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
I don't believe (as apparently CNN does) that the Death Penalty will be a big issue in the Roberts confirmation debates. It seems pretty well-settled that the right place for these arguments is in the political arena - for Congress and state legislatures to decide.
But Justice Stevens seems to think now is the time to talk about his opposition to the death penalty (though I doubt there are many people surprised he holds this view).
But here's a question - if Justice Scalia recused himself in the Nedow case for making a speech about the Pledge of Allegiance, will the usual suspects be clamoring for Justice Stevens to recuse himself the next time a death penalty case comes up? I would think that Justice Stevens should be required to recuse himself. When a prosecutor tries a capital case, he may dismiss, for cause, any juror that has fundamental issues with the death penalty. That is, he is entitled to a "death-qualified" jury - one that has expressed a willingness to impose the death penalty if it is called for. Why shouldn't the people of this country be entitled to a Supreme Court that is "death-qualified" - one that can objectively weigh a death penalty case without bringing personal opposition into the equation? Seems to smack of partiality and bias to me.
My own view is that Roberts was right in 1983 when he said that the Supreme Court should stop playing "fourth or fifth guesser" in death penalty cases. By the time a capital case reaches the Supreme Court, the case has been ruled on by a trial court and appealed to two state appeals courts (usually) on any constitutional issues. Then it goes to the Court - so they are usually the 4th Court to look at the issues. It says much about what the Supreme Court thinks of both itself and the state supreme courts that it takes these cases from, when it second-guesses the factual findings made by those state courts. And all of what it says is arrogant and self-important.
I don't begrudge or disapprove of the Supreme Court looking at capital cases where there is a legitimate issue of constitutional validity - capital cases have the potential to raise important 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment questions. But many cases that wind up before the cases are nothing more than the arrogance of 4 members of the Court deciding that they want to muck around in the factual findings made by three different state courts and have little to do with constitutional questions. It is these latter cases that have to go. Unfortunately, Justice Stevens has exposed himself as a reliable vote for all death-row inmates looking for another bite at the apple.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against New York City for its new policy of spot searches for subway passengers. When will the Left understand that we simply cannot let every single person run amok, and that freedom is not completely unfettered - that my rights do not include the right to threaten others? What is shocking is that all groups like the NYCLU do is complain about the "police state," telling us that the government is taking away our freedoms without providing additional safety, but what they never do is offer any alternative policy that protects both safety and individual rights. Why? Because there is no such policy to them. To the NYCLU, regular subway bombings wouldn't even be a reason to search subway riders.
Read on for some choice quotes from the liberal loons that filed suit...........
The NCAA has decided to ban the appearance of American Indian mascots at all NCAA championship tournaments starting on or after February 1, 2006. So, say goodbye to Florida State's Chief Osceola, the Fighting Illini's Chief, and other "offensive" mascots. The NCAA will also ban any school that has an American Indian nickname or mascot from hosting post-season events. They also propose to eliminate "offensive" nicknames from cheerleader and band uniforms starting in 2008.
Didn't we already have this discussion? Are we to completely purge sports of any and all references that some small minority finds offensive? Is it derogatory for Florida State to call themselves the Seminoles? And if not, why is it offensive to have as a mascot a representation of a Seminole Indian in traditional costume? In 2002, the Harris Group conducted a poll of American Indians (not just of American Indian activist groups). As reported on a pro-Illini Chief website over 80% of respondents support the use of American Indian nicknames and mascots in high school, college, and professional sports. An Annenberg Election Survey of 768 Native Americans in 2003 and 2004 found that 700 of them did not have any problem with the use of the nickname "Redskins" for Washington, D.C.'s NFL franchise.
Given this information, why is the NCAA still beating the dead horse? And why are long traditions being obliterated by the very organization that is supposed to represent college athletics? These latest bans are simply an indirect attempt to do what the NCAA established that it could not do directly - force all teams that use American Indian nicknames or mascots to change their names in order to eliminate the "offensive" Indian references. However, I am not surprised - any group that involves members of the liberal academic echo chamber is bound to try to forcibly control the thoughts and opinions of students (and in this regard alumni) to those views considered "appropriate" and "inclusive" by the ivory tower elite.
All fans of college sports, whether you attended a school with some American Indian reference or not, should voice their opinions on this travesty to the athletic directors at their alma maters and the bigwigs at the NCAA. For those interested, the NCAA website lists Bernard Franklin as the contact for the Executive Committee (the body making this fool decision). The mailing address is:
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
First, in the interest of full disclosure, for those that have not read the "About Me" page, I am gay. But my displeasure with the Amendment is not based even mostly on that.
Second, I note that, while many talk about The Federal Marriage Amendment, there are, proposed in Congress, at least 3 amendments pertaining to the marriage issue. In the 108th Congress, there were 4 such amendment proposals. So talking about the FMA is silly. However, for purposes of this short discussion I will take as the amendment, the one proposed in the Senate by Wayne Allard, which has received a good deal of the public attention. It reads:
`SECTION 1. This article may be cited as the 'Marriage Protection Amendment'.
`SECTION 2. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.'
Now, my great displeasure with this wording stems primarily from the fact that it flagrantly turns its back on even the basic pretense of federalism and opts instead to dictate to the states what is and is not allowable. I cannot abide that.
Read on for my thoughts, and for my own proposed FMA............
So the one of the Senate's M.D.s has gone ahead and endorsed expanded funding of stem cell research. Bill Frist, came out in favor of a limited expansion in a floor speech today. I am not shocked. I am also not all that bothered by the suggestion.
We have seen the Bush Administration's policy in action for 4 years. In 2001, the very notion of funding stem cell research was new (Clinton provided no money for such research). Bush put federal money where none was before. It has been successful, but it is not perfect, and scientist realize it may lead to an end to the very lines permitted for experimentation.
Thousands, if not millions, of embryonic cells are destroyed every year as couples undergoing fertility treatments become pregnant and choose to discard embryos that remain frozen or otherwise stored. Frist's support is for the use of funding for research on those embryos where the parents consent to that use without compensation. If for no other reason, I would support this because it does not actively seek to create and/or destroy embryos that would not otherwise be expended. If a couple is going to discard embryos, why shouldn't there be an option to use those embryos for scientific purposes.
More (along with election '08 analysis) below the fold..........
Governor Pataki has decided not to seek a fourth term in 2006. As a long standing critic of the governor, of course I think this is the right move for him, but I want to elaborate for those that may think this is a gut reaction.
After the Oregon State Senate passed a bill allowing same-sex civil unions, the Oregon House has gutted the bill. However, that's not the point of this post. This post is about the failure of House Speaker Karen Minnis (R-Wood Creek) to "play fair." After the Senate's passage of the bill (with some Republican support) Minnis declared that she would not permit the Republican-controlled House to vote on it. I wonder what Speaker Minnis was afraid of. The only reason to exercise this kind of authority is for fear that the majority of members support the bill. And if that's the case, why should a single individual be able to kill the bill? The other possibility is that Minnis sought to protect her caucus from having to go on record against the bill. But if members of the House are not willing to go on record with a no vote, then they have not earned their seats - and are not performing the public's business.
Karen Minnis should suck it up and let the members go on record concerning this bill so that their constituents can judge them at the next election. Anything less is undemocratic.
The President has nominated D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts to become Justice John Roberts, the 109th Justice of the Supreme Court. I personally, as a conservative, am very happy with this from what I know of the Judge. But I am going to go about rounding up his opinions of the last two years from the D.C. Circuit to see what's in them. I will update as interesting tidbits appear and will post the opinions he has written.