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Oprah for the Supreme Court

Justin Webb | 07:37 UK time, Tuesday, 5 May 2009

General Jones works standing up. So did Lord Palmerston. So did Donald Rumsfeld. I am going to try it in the hope that people respect and fear me. Not that the General seemed the remotest bit interested in conflict with anyone.

The Supreme Court nomination is not a big deal in terms of changing the balance of the court - it won't - but it might say something wonderfully interesting about the Law Professor Presidency.

Here are my suggestions: (bear in mind they don't have to be lawyers)

John McCain

Tony Blair (visiting)

Oprah Winfrey (seriously: empathy)

The Governator (he is coming to the end of his term and has a mind to match his muscles.)

Comments

  • 1. At 08:17am on 05 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    How about Judge Judy Sheindlin?

    I can see it now... "The court rules in favor of the plaintiff for $546.13."

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  • 2. At 08:30am on 05 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    I would like to add Caroline Kennedy to the list. She has been rejected so many times that I feel sorry for her. The governor of New York doesn't want her. The pope doesn't want her. The girl needs something to boost her spirits. Supreme court justice is perfect. They don't work very hard and most of the stuff is researched and written by their clerks. She would have enough time left over to give parties and attend charity balls, and stuff like that. Also, a big plus, she would get ot wear black which is THE color in New York.

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  • 3. At 08:39am on 05 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    1, guns.
    "How about Judge Judy Sheindlin? I can see it now... 'The court rules in favor of the plaintiff for $546.13.'"

    I don't think Judge Judy would take the job. She has turned the $546,13 into millions. It's a shame though. Think of her yelling at all those suits who bring cases before that stuffy court.

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  • 4. At 10:54am on 05 May 2009, extremesense wrote:

    Fine, if we're coming-up with anything then I'd say Sister Helen Prejean.

    There has to be some balance on the issue of capital punishment. At the moment Antonin Scalia describes himself as part of the machinery of death and is certainly very pro whilst Roberts, Alito and Thomas appear it in their rulings.

    Sister Prejean has witnessed cases from arrest through farcical trial (particularly in the death belt states) to execution. She knows more than anyone else about the process and knows how time and time again it goes wrong. She's also strongly anti-crime particularly murder.

    Otherwise, forget it being a woman and let's go for John Grisham.... a great lawyer, writer and people know him.

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  • 5. At 11:24am on 05 May 2009, yet_another_dave wrote:

    I see that respondents have been taking the question very seriously so far. In the same spirit, I'll recommend Justin Webb. He meets the following traditional qualifications for the post:

    1. He thinks he knows America well.
    2. He is opinionated.
    3. He has the ability to compose a brief written piece in a short time.

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  • 6. At 12:13pm on 05 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    I think you got it wrong Justin. Supreme Court nominations, regardless of who is being replaced, do matter and are part of a long term strategy to change the ideological leanings of the Court. Conservatives understand this well and are re-energized in their efforts to mobilize their base, influence GOP lawmakers to reject whomever is nominated, and show this as an example of what happens when one party dominates all branches of government.

    The likelihood of a female, pro-choice, candidate being nominated is obvious and it is bound to energize social conservatives in a way nothing else would. The possibility of two additional vacancies in the near future puts a damper on their dream of someday overturning Roe V Wade.

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  • 7. At 1:01pm on 05 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Since this is suposed to be humorous:

    Sam Waterston- Jack McKoy from Law and Order

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  • 8. At 1:09pm on 05 May 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Team,

    Michelle.

    Or a Hispanic Lesbian to sit between Scalia and Thomas.

    Legal Sam

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  • 9. At 1:59pm on 05 May 2009, canadacold wrote:

    Definately not Lou Dobbs

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  • 10. At 2:19pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Pauline Newman.
    As fine a judge as ever lived, and no shrinking violet, either.

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  • 11. At 2:19pm on 05 May 2009, Feohme wrote:

    Hey if Tony Blair can make the list, them we should be able to consider other former heads of foreign governments.

    Accordingly, in the spirit of full rapprochement with Cuba, why not Fidel Castro?

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  • 12. At 2:23pm on 05 May 2009, Feohme wrote:

    Sam - didn't see your suggestion before I posted. Any chance that Fidel is a lesbian?

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  • 13. At 2:51pm on 05 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    Given some of the people who are reputed to work standing up, do they do that to relieve unnecessary pressure on their brains?

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  • 14. At 2:52pm on 05 May 2009, mike wrote:

    It goes without saying that President Obama needs to look no further than himself to sit on the Supreme Court.

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  • 15. At 3:03pm on 05 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Rosalynn Carter
    Nancy Reagan
    Barbara Bush
    Ann Coulter
    and Forrest Gump as their intellectual advisor.

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  • 16. At 3:10pm on 05 May 2009, cbiswhite wrote:

    I think Judith Sheindlin is an excellent candidate for Supreme Court Justice. She possesses an extensive background in discerning truth from fiction; in this crucial time in America, any addition to the nation's highest bench must be able to wield justice faithfully and without partiality. Judge Sheindlin's masterful command of the law, vocabulary and administration of justice has been proven time and again as she has blurted out legal truths like, "Boloney, madam. You're a liar!" to deadbeats who don't pay their phone bills. She will do the same to high executives and attornies who want to bend the Constitution too far.

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  • 17. At 3:11pm on 05 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    I got it! How about Richard Simmons? He would definitely shake the Supreme Court, not to mention the nation. If his nomination fails he could be put in charge of the healthcare reform initiative...

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  • 18. At 3:15pm on 05 May 2009, carolinalady wrote:

    Well, the more I think about this, the better I like the idea of Ophrah on the Supreme Court, but I don't think she'd agree to serve. And I seriously don't think Senator Jeff Sessions, the new ranking GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (replacing Arlen Specter) will find her nomination at all amusing.

    So, Justin, how about taking a chill pill? The nominee doesn't exist yet. Let's refrain from speculation, stirring up the partisans, getting the echo chamber and the circular firing squad all riled up and everyone in a swivet about one more distraction. There's enough news to go around. And if you really want to do your readers a favor, go investigate Jeff Sessions.

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  • 19. At 3:17pm on 05 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    "Not that the General seemed the remotest bit interested in conflict with anyone."

    Justin: I think many of us had actually taken that on board, but the thread (as is becoming all too frequent now) was swamped very early, so we didn't have chance to debate it. Sorry.

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  • 20. At 3:25pm on 05 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #18

    Oprah would not serve she likes to run the show.

    I don't think her ego could take Judge Roberts lead

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  • 21. At 3:50pm on 05 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    13 lol didn't work did it

    on the judge Judy

    good joke but don't take it serious eh.
    16.
    that judge is a sexist and sometimes petty bigot.Her TV courts are a joke. the rulings jokes.
    I would trust her as my judge if I had NO other choice , but not before.

    Not racial bigot but a bigot.
    along with that and the examples of the good "cops" are enough to give anyone the chills.

    Chills because so many think they are OK or spunky or cool.

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  • 22. At 3:51pm on 05 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    But Oprah. Now I'm with Justin on that she does understand people and is not a sexist and bigot.

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  • 23. At 3:54pm on 05 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    the answer is obvious
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 24. At 4:00pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    The nominee likely won't be someone most people have heard of, and certainly won't be any of the preposterous choices presented here.

    And by the way, Gov. Schwarzenegger doesn't have the build he once did. Oprah will be acclaimed queen when the US becomes a constitutional parliamentary monarchy, like the UK. McCain will be named court jester. Tony who?

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  • 25. At 4:05pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Sam (#8) " ... to sit between Scalia and Thomas."

    Won't happen. The justices (except the chief) sit in seniority order. The new justice will be at one end of the bench.

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  • 26. At 4:07pm on 05 May 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    We have just finished with an administration that did not respect the rule of law. As a nation of laws it would be nice to see this taken seriously and that the appointment reflect an understanding of the constitution and protection of the rights of citizens. It wouldn't hurt to have an intellectual on the court. This is the court that decided an election for political reasons, so some new blood with less idiological flavor might be a good start. Anything that will balance and counter the Scilla wing of the court will be a step toward a return to American principals and away from the supreme executive. We have a quota court with the majority representing the interest of rich white people and the businesses they own.

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  • 27. At 4:10pm on 05 May 2009, TanSauNg wrote:

    Simon Cowell. Plenty of experience in judging (albeit in 'talent' shows).

    Plus, they could then turn it into a reality TV show. Surely it couldn't be any worse than those idol shows. It may even give Judge Judy a run for her money.

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  • 28. At 4:16pm on 05 May 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    I'm pulling for Russell Means. It's time the country has a real, native born citizen on the bench. Not all these immigrants.

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  • 29. At 4:17pm on 05 May 2009, KristinaBrooker wrote:

    I'm going to live next store for a week, I was there over christmas
    from Dec 26 to Jan 8th, I think the effect was positive. Living next
    door does change my sleep, I find tv sleep or exercise sleep effects
    the stocks the next morning.

    Also Thursday (April 30th) changed direction when I started posting
    on The Wall Street Journal.

    Remember I'm only claiming a percentage and some days it really does
    seem to be that my noted actions move a gross lot of stock cash.

    Just fix St. John's the city and then the provience, their are so few
    people, and they'll never let me "win" alone, it's fair to point out
    that should be an option to total employment.

    -------------------------
    As for Oprah, react, fill in personality, demand cash. Find more of my postings about classing at [Personal details removed by Moderator](pwd):interest

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  • 30. At 4:18pm on 05 May 2009, KristinaBrooker wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 31. At 4:21pm on 05 May 2009, Feohme wrote:

    No 27 - I think that idea has legs. "America's Got Judgement" or something. Each week a range of candidates propound their view on a major subject of the day and one by one they get voted off by the general public.

    The money made for the high cost phone calls could be used to pay off some of the national debt.

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  • 32. At 4:40pm on 05 May 2009, newsjock wrote:

    For any favour DO'NT pick the second candidate.

    McCain is too political.

    So that leaves Oprah.

    No appoint a lawyer. That will be less contentious.

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  • 33. At 4:50pm on 05 May 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 20 MagicKirin

    "Oprah would not serve she likes to run the show."

    You are right. She would be on the low end of the bench. There are no television cameras and goggle-eyed, adoring fans. Her opinions would be challenged. She might just discover, after putting it on her reading list, that the U.S. Contitution was written by a Boston fish-monger instead of the Founding Fathers.

    Though it might be interesting to find out what kind of 'prizes' would be hidden under the seats in the gallery.

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  • 34. At 4:59pm on 05 May 2009, moderate_observer wrote:

    There you go being the devil`s advocate again Justin.

    Oprah, oh please... I doubt she would like the pay cut anyway. But its interesting to hear someone go on about nothing for a very long time. That is the Oprah show .
    Id say we replace the whole suprme court with the cast of Boston Legal.

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  • 35. At 5:15pm on 05 May 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 8 SamTyler1969

    If we cannot find an Hispanic lesbian, how about Rue Paul? Now there's a person who is more than willing to look at both sides of an issue. Those dowdy old black robes would be in for a costume change.

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  • 36. At 5:18pm on 05 May 2009, growinglawrence wrote:

    John McCains running mate, i think she has some points to prove especially on her policy together with mccain on the war on terror. Give the governor a chance

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  • 37. At 5:50pm on 05 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    "The Supreme Court nomination is not a big deal in terms of changing the balance of the court - it won't."

    May be not immediately, but given that there are almost four more years of President Obama's first term, who knows what other replacement/s will be made? If all goes well and he is elected to a second term, then it would seem inevitable that he would be able to change the makeup of the court to reflect his (and our) views in the 21st century. It could also be that Congress would decide to add more justices and which would reflect the present political climate. Now that would be a shake-up!

    As for the Justin's suggestions, I can only hope they were tongue-in-cheek, hoping to spur discussion. Nevertheless, his choices would be dreadful - Tony Blair (or Bliar as he is known by some in the UK) would be quite unsuitable, not least because he is not an American citizen and shows no sign of being a Permanent Resident in the United States. As for The Governator, clearly Justin has spent little or no time in the Golden State; he's been a disaster for California, now the highest taxed state in the nation. He was elected because of his celebrity, not his mind, and now the chickens have come home to roost. No way could he sit on the bench. McCain's too old and Oprah has no experience of the law, so they're out too. It would make as much sense to nominate Bill O'Reilly, who considers himself fair and balanced (which we need in Supreme Court Justice) as any of the other dubious selections.

    Let's wait until the real thing happens and then debate the merits or faults of the nominee; some sources suggest that the name will be made later this week.

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  • 38. At 6:00pm on 05 May 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re 15 Why would anyone suggest Coultergiest. I wouldn't place her on a committee to organize a local Memorial Day Parade. I wouldn't put Oprah on the court either. She doesn't really understand what people actually need; although she thinks she does.

    Seriously though, whom to put on the court. That is a very good question. I have thought about it seriously here are a few suggestions.

    1. Prince Charles- Seriously folks, it would actually give him something to do instead of being a figure head.

    2. Manny Rameriez- I think this would be an interesting appointment. Although he's a millionaire athlete, he really seems board and seriously needs a new challenge.

    3. Bono- He's a really good political activist in addition to being a Rock Star. He genuinely cares about people.

    4. Bill Clinton- he's young enough. Only about 60 or so. He's also a former president. This would not be the first President to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

    Just a few suggestions.

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  • 39. At 6:07pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#37), the best we can hope for from even two Obama terms is protection from the Court becoming solidly aligned with Roberts and Alito. It will not become a so-called "liberal" court in eight years' time.

    As for expanding the Court, it won't happen. If FDR couldn't do it Obama can't, and he wouldn't even want to.

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  • 40. At 6:10pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    25. Gary

    Well, Judge Newman is no spring chicken, but there's no shortage of steel in her spine, or lightning bolts in her pen. If you've ever read her dissents, you would be in no doubt that she could woodshed, e.g., Judge Scalia, faster and more thoroughly than Hell could scorch a feather.

    Or, if we are really serious about promoting science, why not elevate Judge Randall Rader? A true voice of sanity.

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  • 41. At 6:25pm on 05 May 2009, arclightt wrote:

    While we are ruminating on good nominations to the Supremes, here are two questions, one inspired by Mr. Cunard:

    1. @37 (Cunard): "...he would be able to change the makeup of the court to reflect his (and our) views in the 21st century."

    Your comments, David, caused me to think the following: Is the Constitution (or its interpretation) supposed to reflect "our" views, or the views of the majority, or is it to reflect something else, and are we to adjust our actions (if not our views) to it?

    2. If the "living" Constitution is supposed to change with the times, what parts of it (if any) are fixed? Where are those parts? If none of it is fixed, what does that mean? Does it mean that:

    a. We are ultimately under the control of the 9 SC justices, because they control the Constitution. In other words, we are not a nation of law, but of 9 people to be exact.

    b. Control of the SC is THE ultimate thing to be fought over by the two groups of partisans we have, and their supporters. From the contentious nature of SC hearings starting with Bork in 1987 (and Ted Kennedy's 180-degree turn on judicial independence) it sure seems this way.

    c. Impeachment of SC Justices is the only check and balance for the Supremes re-interpreting, for example, the First Amendment out of existence (or changed in such a way as to make it essentially a dead letter, as they did at least partially with the "takings" clause not too long ago).

    I've heard the "living" part for a long time. Where is the part that is going to remain, if any?

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  • 42. At 6:26pm on 05 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 36, Growing

    "John McCains running mate, i think she has some points to prove especially on her policy together with mccain on the war on terror. Give the governor a chance"

    Excellent choice! I withdraw Simmons' nomination and will devote all my energies to see the Governor's with a clear insight into the Gulag (due to geographical proximity) take over where Souter left off. Her new attire would fit right in with her new inquisitorial role, and it is a lot more inexpensive than the stuff she got a few months ago. Will her estranged son in law get a job in the Court? He would make a good night watchman or part-time plumber...

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  • 43. At 6:27pm on 05 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    My bet: a professor of constitutional law. I have no idea who that would be.

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  • 44. At 6:34pm on 05 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    opps they didn't like the link to Judge Dread and "Big 6"

    well it was worth a try.

    38 Charlie does a fair amount. I thought you were in the UK
    have you heard of the Prince's Trust

    http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/
    All those farms gone organic.

    You're lucky the plant talker is in such a high position.


    I 'm not against his appointment.
    Big Ag will have a hard time with it though.

    Bono?

    Yea OK sort of. um

    Bill Clinton. He could legalise the selling of evry one's homes under them.
    Opps he already did.
    and their jobs.

    Just cause the GOP hate him doesn't make him any good.
    sometimes they get it right but for the wrong reasons.


    I say Mike Judge.

    Matt Groening

    Or

    Woody.

    Yea Woody the dude.

    I find you guilty and sentence you to a hundred bongs.


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  • 45. At 6:37pm on 05 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    I didn't realise you didn't have to be a US citizen to be a member of the Supreme Court. One Mr Ahmedinajad could be looking for another job soon? And I think Mr Pervez Musharraf is a bit peeved with the way the US turned on him suddenly, so that would be a slight compensation for getting him kicked out of his? It would add a little more religious diversity, after all, wouldn't it?

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  • 46. At 6:42pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    IF (#40), Newman and Rader both seem to be Republican appointees to the bench. They won't be going anywhere under Obama.

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  • 47. At 6:42pm on 05 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #39. Gary_A_Hill: "It will not become a so-called "liberal" court in eight years' time."

    If only we could predict the future accurately; there's no telling what could happen within eight years.

    "As for expanding the Court, it won't happen. If FDR couldn't do it Obama can't, and he wouldn't even want to."

    Congress (not a president) may expand the Court if it so wishes, and a Democratic-controlled Congress might well do so to ensure that it's mark has been made. I wouldn't presume to say what the President might want or not want to do, I'm sure he is keeping his cards close to his chest.

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  • 48. At 7:26pm on 05 May 2009, cannonballmartin wrote:

    Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky to split time.

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  • 49. At 7:29pm on 05 May 2009, Parrisia wrote:

    my pick for the supreme court: JON STEWART

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  • 50. At 7:59pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    arclightt (#41), your point no. 1 is well taken. The Court should not be composed so as to reflect the views of Obama or society as a general proposition. It is appropriate, however, that the judicial philosophy of a prospective justice be taken into account. How a justice decides individual future cases can never be predicted, and we don't even know what cases will come before the court.

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  • 51. At 8:02pm on 05 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    David (47)

    "...a Democratic-controlled Congress might well do so to ensure that it's mark has been made."

    I don't think so. The Constitution gives the other two branches of government the power to thwart the legislature's attempts at defining how the government behaves. No Congress likes that. It certainly has no interest in giving those two branches any further power in that regard. If they could, they'd stack the court with justices that agree with their way of thinking. Since they can't do that (they can't nominate prospective jurists), they're certainly not interested in helping the executive branch do so.

    Also, the administration and Democrats in congress could kiss goodbye to all but the most liberal support of their constituency if they tried to expand the court.

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  • 52. At 8:04pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#47), your point about accuracy is correct, but we may predict anyway. My opinions only, but I am quite comfortable with my predictions in this case.

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  • 53. At 8:04pm on 05 May 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 41 arclightt

    The "living" part of the Constitution is the ability to amend the Constitution. It has been amended 27 times, starting with the Bill of Rights. That is how it changes with the times.

    Corrections have been made. The 18th amendment was superseded by the 21st amendment, thus ending Prohibition. Voting rights have been extended. Slavery abolished. Presidential term limits...

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  • 54. At 8:22pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Oh, and of course it is Congress that has the power to legislate. Often it does so at the request of the President. FDR had a friendly Congress, and they rejected his attempt to "pack" the Supreme Court.

    Here's a link to FDR's fireside chat on the subject:

    http://www.hpol.org/fdr/chat/

    In recent times we have had many 5 to 4 decisions from the Supreme Court. The Republicans didn't try to pack the Court when they controlled everything, and the Democrats aren't going to do it either. That's my prediction.

    As a supplementary note, the analogy to "keeping his cards close to his chest" isn't a particularly good one. If a deck of cards is fairly shuffled and dealt, each card has an equal probability of ending up in one's hand. It is not the case that everything that the President could possibly do is of equal probability.

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  • 55. At 8:27pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    publiusdetroit (#53), the Constitution can also be changed through interpretation, without amendment. The "incorporation doctrine" is a good example of this.

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  • 56. At 8:29pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    I should have added this link to the incorporation doctrine.

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  • 57. At 8:31pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    46, Gary

    That is, no doubt, the sad truth of it.

    The thing is, we desperately need a judge with a science background on the court, and whether they were appointed by republicans or not, Judges Newman and Rader are preeminent, top-notch science judges.

    In the history of the federal circuit, which is about the only place where you're going to find senior judges with a heavyweight science background, you think first of the late Judge Markey, then of Judge Michel, who is also an outstanding and eminently qualified Judge, (and former assistant to Arlen Specter, if Sam is reading), then Judge Newman, who has been a pillar of that court and who has served her country exceptionally well - it will be a long time before they find another like her -; and then Judge Rader, whose text is widely used and whose qualifications are impeccable.

    As far as I am aware, none of the other Circuit courts have a heavy-duty science judge. Perhaps you will inform me if I am mistaken. Yes, there has been a shortage of women and hispanics and others on the court, sure. True enough.

    But when was the last time that an honest-to-goodness science judge was appointed? Has it ever happened?

    Long, long overdue.

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  • 58. At 8:45pm on 05 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Gary, IF, being a scientist I would volunteer for the job, but being
    a conservative, I would probably just hang all of the guilty people.

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  • 59. At 8:45pm on 05 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    IF (#57) "The thing is, we desperately need a judge with a science background on the court."

    How about the Hon. John Jones? That would be interesting.

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  • 60. At 8:49pm on 05 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    A little more seriously:

    I have just found out about Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Of whom (mercifully) I had never heard before, and wish I hadn't now.

    Whoever Obama chooses, it looks as though the process could be very long and very unpleasant. Unless he picks Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions The Third, of course.

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  • 61. At 9:14pm on 05 May 2009, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Justin, you're really slipping up in recent days and I don't like it. First you link to an radically liberal (even in my opinion!) article which views America not through rose tinted glasses (as do most of the other articles of which you link balanced with truthful, acurit observations of your own,) but through dark tinted ones, excentuating and exaggerating America's flaws and mistakes over its assets and right decision making, then you turn right around and interview James Jones in a tone that suggests that the world is about to come to an end if we don't do something to secure Pakistan's neukliar arsonal right after that article you linked to absolutely scolded this country for even developing and employing the use of the bomb in the first place, not to mention its hypocritical attitude regarding neukliar weapons ever since, pledging to reduce neukliar weapons and pushing for a neukliar free world while refusing to act on those pledges ourselves, and now these utterly rediculous Supreme Court nominations!!

    John McCain is a Republican. The Court is already dominated by Republicans. Putting John McCain on the Court would cement the Court as a conservitive one, and its rulings on every case that comes before it as such. The goal is to keep the Court balanced, objective, and dedicated to the rule of law. Not politically motivated. The same goes for the terminator, who by the way gave his full, open, and unconditional support to John McCain during the campaign. Can we really trust him to be objective?

    Oprah despite her sometimes over powering ego I think would make a good nominee. She truely is empathetic to the average person's plite, and 80% of the time has everyday ordinary people on her show.

    Tony Blair...hahahaha don't make me laugh!! You honestly think that a man who was elected the leader of his country as a liberal and who instantly and surprisingly converted to posessing conservitive values right after a conservitive came to power in another country should be given a seat on the highest Court in that country's land? If he flip flopped and screwed his own people over for 10 years, the last thing the American people want is to suffer the same unpredictability and/or subservience. Plus, such a nomination would I fear permanantly entangle the alliance between the US and UK, one which has been entangled enough as it is, and continuing to do so would utterly defy the wise advice given this country by George Washington before he stepped down from office. Do we really want to scorn the advice of a founding father? Entangled alliances only lead to trouble.



    Who I think should be nominated? Nelson Mandella or Ron Howard. Now there are two people whom I feel can and would be truely concerned with the preservation of the constitution of the United States!!



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  • 62. At 9:21pm on 05 May 2009, rodidog wrote:

    Since we have descended into the ridiculous, how about ex Gov. Blagojevich? He's a democrat, from Chicago, and has a unique opinion about the law. If anything, his opinions would be colorful and entertaining. We can create a drinking game, similar to 'Hi Bob', based on the number of F-bombs he drops while on the bench.

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  • 63. At 9:25pm on 05 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    60, british-ish, you have exquisite taste in ferreting out potential movie
    characters. According to wikipedia, Sessions "didn't think that the KKK was
    too bad until he found out that some of them had smoked marijuana."

    Obviously, he is not the kind of guy who would show up at an Allman Brothers
    concert back in the 70s. He sounds more like the kind of guy who would be
    one of the bad guys in a movie like Revenge of the Nerds.

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  • 64. At 9:53pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    59. Gary.
    LOL.
    Yes, that would be interesting.

    Not quite the context I meant by a "science judge", but clearly he must be sound on the fundamentals to have made that decision, and to have made it the way he did. Perhaps not all that surprising, though - Lutherans don't tend to put up with nonsense. A good man, to be sure.

    Still looking for a senior circuit court judge with a really solid background in science, appointed by a Democrat. There just can't be very many fish in that pool.

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  • 65. At 9:55pm on 05 May 2009, toughdirtyjoe wrote:

    A Hispanic will help him in 2012. They will be Ultra left to the delight of the Brits.

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  • 66. At 9:57pm on 05 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    There are at least three potential SC vacancies during President Obama's first term. Considering the fact that women and Hispanics are grossly under-represented, and considering their record and reputation, I expect the following individuals to be among those nominated to fill upcoming vacancies:

    Judges Sonia Sotomayor, Adalberto Jordan, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm or Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

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  • 67. At 9:59pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    58. Guns
    But, no doubt, you would hang them methodically...

    ... keeping in mind, of course, that the French introduced the Guillotine because it was the most scientifically advanced apparatus of its day - thought to be more humane than previous methods.

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  • 68. At 10:13pm on 05 May 2009, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    arclightt #41: '"If the "living" Constitution is supposed to change with the times, what parts of it (if any) are fixed? Where are those parts? If none of it is fixed, what does that mean?"

    Generally it is accepted that the amendments, particularly the bill of rights, are fixed parts of the constitution. This is evidenced by the fact that the Democrats have never seriously tryed to reform gun ownership laws, for fear of being accused of tampering with the second amendment. If the nation operates on this premmous, then I think this would be a very healthy way to live. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has all too often caved under pressure and ruled in favor of whatever histaria and emotional stress, fear, and termoil ruled the day throughout our nation's history, which was not what our founders intended the judiciary branch of our government to do. Simply put, the Supreme Court is supposed to objectively examine issues, topics and cases, and decide whether whatever proposals are being put before them are constitutional or not. That's all. They are not supposed to please either party. They are not supposed to please any lobby group. It sounds simple, but often times it is not.


    But you're right, the Supreme Court has often times in the past acted as though no part of the constitution is fixed, which as a result made all of your subssiquent eliquently expressed fears come true. Whether it be the sedition and espeonage acts of the first world war making it illegal to declare support for the axis powers and ensured support for the war in favor of the allies, the Japanese internment camps during the second world war whereby thousands of wholly innocent Japanese-Americans were rounded up and put in camps, having been stripped not only of their first amendment rights, but their fourth, fifth, and sixth as well, to most recently the warrentless wire tapping, journalist spying, and Patriot act, which enabled the government to spy on whomever it wished for any reason at all, which was largely a violation of the fourth amendment. These actions have unfortunately proven that our "democracy" is only as strong as the willingness of its potencial "domestic enamies" to protect it. Which based on the Supreme Court's checkered history, is obviously not much.



    Hopefully this goes some way toward answering your question. Perhaps others can chime in.

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  • 69. At 10:14pm on 05 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    63.gunsandreligion:

    Well, I wasn't really thinking of that. He's about to become leader of the Republican bloc on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/may/05/jeff-sessions-arlen-specter-judiciary-committee

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  • 70. At 10:15pm on 05 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    67, IF, I have no problem with new ideas...

    I guess that you could call me a "progressive conservative."

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  • 71. At 10:20pm on 05 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    I've got it: Simon Cowell

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  • 72. At 10:35pm on 05 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    67. At 9:59pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    58. Guns
    But, no doubt, you would hang them methodically...

    ... keeping in mind, of course, that the French introduced the Guillotine

    Actually, I regret to say one was in use in Halifax (UK) much earlier. Hence (quoted in Defoe's "Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain") the 'thieves' prayer': "From Hull, Hell and Halifax Good Lord Deliver Us". Though given the level of hanging expertise, it might have been more merciful.

    How Hull came into it I've forgotten, unless it was just for a snappy bit of alliteration and scansion.

    (We prefer, on the whole, however, to let the French claim the credit. There are some inventions you don't really want to admit to.)

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  • 73. At 10:56pm on 05 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 65, Tough

    "A Hispanic will help him in 2012. They will be Ultra left to the delight of the Brits."

    Does that mean Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican, will have an advantage in 2012? I doubt the Brits, and the rest of the world for that matter, will be cheering...

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  • 74. At 11:07pm on 05 May 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 55-56 Gary_A_Hill

    Thanks for adding the information and link on the 'incorporation doctrine' to my post 53. That is a process that is not well known. The link explains it well.

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  • 75. At 11:40pm on 05 May 2009, David wrote:

    "How about Judge Judy Sheindlin? I can see it now... 'The court rules in favor of the plaintiff for $546.13.'"

    I don't think Judge Judy would take the job. She has turned the $546,13 into millions. It's a shame though. Think of her yelling at all those suits who bring cases before that stuffy court.

    I truly..."dislike" her. She is a crank and an undignified (denying any dignity to her "co-stars."

    How about Bill Clinton--he would live a longggg time lololol? ::)

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  • 76. At 11:54pm on 05 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    70. Guns.

    Droll.

    Actually, in that context, both words are nouns, neither is an adjective.

    It dates from the time (1946) in which John Bracken, a successful premier of Manitoba, became the federal party leader.

    And, fittingly, now there aren't any more Progressive Conservatives at the federal level. Not as if you'd mistake Stephen Harper for one anyway.

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  • 77. At 00:49am on 06 May 2009, David wrote:

    Poetic Justice:

    Nominating Al Gore to the Supreme Court lololol

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  • 78. At 00:53am on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    75, stellar.
    "How about Bill Clinton--he would live a longggg time lololol? ::)"

    Great idea. That would put a stop to his influence peddling. Or would it.....

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  • 79. At 01:16am on 06 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    75, stellar, Ms. Marbles, if Congress just passed a law prohibiting smoking
    in federal buildings, Clinton wouldn't last 5 minutes.

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  • 80. At 02:19am on 06 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Alberto Gonzales

    There's a guy. years of experience,even handed.
    reads the law well.
    ;)

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  • 81. At 02:33am on 06 May 2009, Pass Torian wrote:

    Oprah? Not bad. Since you are serious - me too. I propose John Demjanuk, currently visiting Germany. We need a polyglot on the bench, for a change. Ukrainian (Slavic tongue, similar to Russian), German, English, some Hebrew, after extended vacation in Israel; in short, a man of this world, with long, diversified experience in handling human subjects. John, my man for the revered position.

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  • 82. At 02:41am on 06 May 2009, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    Gary_A_Hill numbers 55 & 56. . .

    So you mean to say that the 14th amendment, to this day, does not incorperate all of the bill of rights into it when it demands that the rights enshrined in the constitution must apply, without exception, to all the states in the union? So what does this mean? Do we have to pass another amendment just to make the 14th absolutely 100% clear?

    You'd think it would be self explanitory!! Unbelieveable!

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  • 83. At 02:59am on 06 May 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Ya know, I think it is interesting that some people are suggesting that Obama should appoint someone who is not a lawyer or someone who has not served as a judge. I have no problem with it because the Constitution is silent on qualifications for the Supreme Court, but I remember like it was only yesterday when everyone attacked Bush's Harriet Miers appointment with the argument that she was unqualified for the position because she never served as a judge.
    --Just something to think about when Obama makes his choice.
    Pres. Obama will most likely pick someone with judicial experience.

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  • 84. At 03:32am on 06 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    arclight (41)

    'Is the Constitution (or its interpretation) supposed to reflect "our" views, or the views of the majority, or is it to reflect something else, and are we to adjust our actions (if not our views) to it?'

    225 years down the road the country is still a test of the proposition that a people can achieve true freedom through the equal application of the law and the equal distribution of power. However, the definition of those ideals has become more and more liberal of the years. The Court is the means by which we reflect those changes. It adds context to the Constitution.

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  • 85. At 03:34am on 06 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Personally, I like to see a Hispanic woman. A woman for sure. 8:1 just isn't representative of the population.

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  • 86. At 03:39am on 06 May 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #58

    Guns,

    You have my vote.

    Constitutional Sam

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  • 87. At 03:42am on 06 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    BienvenueEnLouisiana (83)

    "...everyone attacked Bush's Harriet Miers appointment..."

    I have no idea why he nominated her. As a national figure she really was notable in very few ways.

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  • 88. At 03:46am on 06 May 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #57

    IF,

    I like the idea of a scientific Judge, and my like of Arlen(despite USA Today's Democrat inspiring column today) does not cloud my desires for the supreme court.

    I want a new SCJ who strictly interprets the constitution, within the constraints of the knowledge at the time. And extrapolates the principles to what we scientifically know now. And is also pro business.

    I will not get what I really want. I hope to live with the agreed answer.

    Sad Sam

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  • 89. At 03:48am on 06 May 2009, Orville Eastland wrote:

    Some people have already suggested Gore- columnists, mostly.

    My personal pick? Nat Hentoff. He may be over 80, but he's a legal expert (And a jazz expert...). He would be an interesting choice. I do disagree with him on many issues (including the Iraq War), but find him fascinating reading. Republicans might be willing to vote for him, since he's an opponent of abortion.

    I would pick Pat Fitzgerald, but he's too busy right now, plus he's more effective as a prosecutor.

    Non-US citizen to pick for the post: Balthasar Garzon. I have a feeling we'll be seeing quite a few Americans in his court soon...

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  • 90. At 03:52am on 06 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Sam, #86, my role model would be judge Roy Bean. If you have any spare time, you could
    drop by and keep a watch out for Miss Lilly.

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  • 91. At 03:54am on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    It is interesting that the GOP is planning objections to Obama's appointment, even though he has not appointed anyone as yet and no one knows who his appointment will be. What does this tell us and why has no one commented on it?

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  • 92. At 04:06am on 06 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    91. At 03:54am on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    It is interesting that the GOP is planning objections to Obama's appointment, even though he has not appointed anyone as yet and no one knows who his appointment will be. What does this tell us and why has no one commented on it?

    I did mention Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III a while back, but no-one seemed to want to explore the implications.

    I think Judge Dee would be ideal.

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  • 93. At 04:40am on 06 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    83. Bienvenue.

    She wasn't criticised because of lack of judicial experience. She was criticized because she did not have the kind of legal qualifications required for the position. I was going to say something more precise, but it would have been gratuitously unkind, and at this distance, a bit mean. There wouldn't be any point in that.

    Still, that episode was one that did great damage to the President, because it showed a profound lack of respect by the executive branch for the judicial branch, and a lack of respect for knowledge and learning.

    When you are President, you have to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, which, among other things, means it is your duty to appoint people of the highest possible legal ability to the judiciary. In particular it means doing whatever you can to see to it that the USSC is and remains the strongest common law bench in the world. You have to show greatness and wisdom in your choices.

    The Bush/Cheney/Rove White House didn't understand the concept of a non-partisan duty to the public to maintain the quality of that court before all other considerations. Nothing else matters. If you seek that one objective, all the other considerations will find their own way to balance out. But with those folks, it was all politics, all the time. The Supreme Court is just way too important for that kind of small-mindedness.

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  • 94. At 04:44am on 06 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    92, british -

    The implications of someone with the middle name of Beauregard are too disturbing to explore.

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  • 95. At 04:45am on 06 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    88. Sam:

    And so we turn to prayer, that somehow through the alchemy of the judge nomination process President Obama finds a scientist-judge to put on the court.

    How ironic.

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  • 96. At 05:28am on 06 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    94, bere, sounds like a character in a remake of Gone With the Wind
    written by Mel Brooks who leads a cavalry charge and winds up with his
    sabre stuck in a huge barn door with him swinging around uselessly while
    the rest of the dram unfolds.

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  • 97. At 05:33am on 06 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    oop, meant "drama"

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  • 98. At 09:33am on 06 May 2009, TanSauNg wrote:

    Ref 72. british-ish

    "Hence (quoted in Defoe's "Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain") the 'thieves' prayer': "From Hull, Hell and Halifax Good Lord Deliver Us". Though given the level of hanging expertise, it might have been more merciful.

    How Hull came into it I've forgotten, unless it was just for a snappy bit of alliteration and scansion."

    If you've ever been to Hull, it's not hard to imagine how it came into it. I have some friends who live there and call it "the armpit of Britain" (apparenty, looks a bit like an armpit on the map).

    Having said that, though, it was recently nominated as one of the most romantic cities in Britain. Not sure why. Also, not sure what that says about British romance, or British armpits...?

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  • 99. At 10:09am on 06 May 2009, Eugenian wrote:

    Clearly, this is the guy for the job:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-08-18-judge-sentenced_x.htm


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  • 100. At 10:33am on 06 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    93. At 04:40am on 06 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    83. Bienvenue.

    She wasn't criticised because of lack of judicial experience. She was criticized because she did not have the kind of legal qualifications required for the position. I was going to say something more precise, but it would have been gratuitously unkind, and at this distance, a bit mean. There wouldn't be any point in that."


    She was also handed back her application form and asked to do it properely. The choice was bizarre.

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  • 101. At 11:56am on 06 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 91, Marbles

    "What does this tell us and why has no one commented on it?"

    It tells me that the GOP has embraced the strategy set by Rush Limbaugh, which is focused on doing whatever is necessary to ensure President Obama fails. Lacking anything positive to say or propose the only thing they can do is attack, destroy, or distort. You would think that after the disaster in November they would have realized that the tactics of Cheney, Rove, DeLay, Limbaugh, Coulter and the rest of the gang are not the way to go, but there they are agaon using the same hammer to get their point across. The Dems could not have asked for a better gift.

    The fact that President Obama will nominate a pro-choice candidate is a given, and robust opposition from a party whose base is pro-life is understandable, but I would have expected a little more concern for the process and at least a minimal amount of class from the opposition. No wonder Arlen Specter abandoned that sinking ship.

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  • 102. At 1:20pm on 06 May 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    I like your choice of Governator Arnold best

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  • 103. At 1:40pm on 06 May 2009, DavidGins wrote:

    Hi Justin, I had the pleasure of visiting the Supreme Court last may. I was really impressed that as a tourist you could visit the worlds most important courtroom and even have a hot dog in it's canteen. I think it is so important that pillars of state such as the supreme court are open and actively encourage people to visit. I wish we did the same over in the UK where the courts and judiciary are a closed shop to most.

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  • 104. At 2:13pm on 06 May 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #95

    IF,

    Then I think we are agreed that an Hispanic Lesbian with a background in science, who is an ordained priest, has a history of practicing constitutional law in a pro business manner would be the ideal candidate.

    Shoudln't be hard to find.

    Headhunter Sam

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  • 105. At 2:25pm on 06 May 2009, Richard_SM wrote:


    Ref 103 DavidGins

    David, you said : "I wish we did the same over in the UK where the courts and judiciary are a closed shop to most."

    Closed? Are you sure? What about the 'public gallery'? Its a long time since I've visited a court to watch a trial, but I wasn't aware a restriction had been introduced.


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  • 106. At 2:28pm on 06 May 2009, arclightt wrote:

    @55/66 (Gary Hill): Thanks very much for the addition. That was valuable.

    @68 (NoRashD): Nice summary, and I agree. The Federalist Papers discusses the power of the SC and notes that it is the weakest branch of the government, and because of that its members should be appointed for life. It also notes that if the judiciary is ever combined with either legislative or executive powers, it becomes the strongest branch of government. Considering how much the supporters of the two parties fight over judicial nominations, it's obvious that they view it as a source of power, and therefore its original purpose is on the way to being lost. This is why I asked the question about whether the Constitution was to be molded (or interpreted) to our desires, or whether we should mold our desires to it. Your second paragraph provides, unfortunately, too much evidence that we desire the former rather than being willing to adjust to the latter.

    @84 (AndyPost): I appreciate your comments; however, I must disagree that the Court is to add context to the Constitution. The Congress can always amend the Constitution, if the nation believes it necessary. However, whenever the Court reinterprets the Constitution to mean something differently than it meant before (because an amendment is too inconvenient) it means that the Court, and not the Constitution, becomes the real source of authority. When the Court does that, it is coupling legislative power to judicial power, and as the Federalist Papers pointed out, that makes it the strongest branch of government (and the reason SC appointees are so bitterly fought over).

    Side note to all: If you want to understand what the Founders intended with regard to the formation of the US Government, there's no better place to start than by reading the Federalist Papers.

    @88(Sam): I'm with you on this one. I am also yearning for a group of justices who will look the First Amendment in the face very intently, and then case by case tell the partisans of all stripes, and on all issues, that none of them have the authority to subvert the Constitution of the United States to support their particular beliefs, regardless of whether they are secular, religious, humanist, or any other ism. All such attempts, for whatever reason, tear at the foundation of the country. It would probably be useful for the SC to publicly humiliate the Congress on this score whenever they transgress, until the Congress stops pushing to the limit while trusting the SC to keep them out of trouble and again starts upholding their oath to protect and defend the US Constitution.

    I have very little hope that that's the kind of appointee we will get, however.

    @@101 (StD): It could well be that. It could also be that the GOP is reacting rather than responding. It could be that the reportage is either incorrect or incomplete. It could be some combination of all of the above.

    Regards to all.

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  • 107. At 3:36pm on 06 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    I'd like to see someone that when asked about abortion answered" is there nothing else on your mind you sick sick twisted individual, look at the big picture the country was robbed blind by thieves and every one faces environmental disaster and you want to harp on on the one subject that we all know we disagree on and should agree to differ. You half witted mentaly unstable idiot"

    At which point I would say "good on ya , you got my vote.

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  • 108. At 3:51pm on 06 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    105. At 2:25pm on 06 May 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 103 DavidGins

    David, you said : "I wish we did the same over in the UK where the courts and judiciary are a closed shop to most."

    Closed? Are you sure? What about the 'public gallery'? Its a long time since I've visited a court to watch a trial, but I wasn't aware a restriction had been introduced."



    In the case of the Law Lords there is nothing much to see just old men in lounge suits sitting behind a desk, listening to other men presenting some huge digest of information

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  • 109. At 3:59pm on 06 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #103. DavidGins: "the Supreme Court . . . the worlds most important courtroom"

    What make you think that? It is no more important than the ultimate arbitrator of the law in the United Kingdom, the Law Lords or before getting to that, the High Court of Judicature.

    "I think it is so important that pillars of state such as the supreme court are open and actively encourage people to visit. I wish we did the same over in the UK where the courts and judiciary are a closed shop to most."

    That's nonsense; from a local magistrate's court to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand in London, all (with the exception of the very few cases heard in camera) are open to the public. If you are ever in London, visit it or The Old Bailey (The Central Criminal Court), famed for its high profile murder trials and also the figure of Justice on its dome. Unlike so many others, she is not blindfolded, the reasons given in the linked article.

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  • 110. At 4:05pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    all.. (#91) "It is interesting that the GOP is planning objections to Obama's appointment, even though he has not appointed anyone as yet and no one knows who his appointment will be. What does this tell us and why has no one commented on it?"

    You might get more comments if you provide a link to a document of some statement which you find noteworthy. It is normal for appointments to the Supreme Court to be contentious. In looking for recent statements by Republicans about the vacancy in response to your query, I haven't found anything unusual.

    Note that while in the Senate, both Obama and Biden voted against cloture on the Alito appointment. Obama can expect to get some opposition in return. That's just politics.

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  • 111. At 4:21pm on 06 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This has been one of your sillier blog entries Mr. Webb. Nothing in the news worth commenting on or is it so terrible a light diversion is needed?

    "General Jones works standing up. So did Lord Palmerston. So did Donald Rumsfeld. I am going to try it in the hope that people respect and fear me."

    Tired of being snickered at behind your back? Are you sure that strategy wouldn't just make it worse?

    Usually a Supreme Court justice isn't just required to understand the rule of law, the justice is supposed to understand the law itself. How would Oprah Winfrey abjudicate an arcane matter of corporate law, discuss it with her girlfriends on her TV program and then put it to an audience vote?

    So why not appoint a failed governor at the end of his term as a Supreme Court Justice for life? Is the Governator a failed governor? California is so broke it can't pay state tax refunds with money, its issuing IOUs which may turn out to be worthless. When I got to California in 1978 it had a 15 billion dollar surplus in its coffers. Now it has over a forty billion dollar debt. It has spent nearly 2 billion a year more than it's taken in for 30 years and the Governator did nothing to reverse it during his term. If that's not failure tell me what is.

    So if we can have a President whose experience is unsuited for his job, why not a Supreme Court Justice of the United States who isn't suited for that job. Here's a suggestion for you Mr. Webb. How about Paul McCartney for the next Prime Minister of Great Britain. He may not know anything about how a government works but when it collapses all around him, he can make Britain feel better about it by strumming his guitar and singing a nice song.

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  • 112. At 4:36pm on 06 May 2009, seven839 wrote:

    Winfrey?... this could happen only in America...small brain and big behind is exactly politically correctwhen you look at the news stand, there you see magazines with beautiful girls and then you see Oprah that makes your day

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  • 113. At 6:07pm on 06 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    I think the confusion of the court access being restricted is because they DO NOT allow cameras into the camera.

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  • 114. At 6:09pm on 06 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    ohhha slight is taken kitchen crew.

    well done.,

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  • 115. At 6:10pm on 06 May 2009, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    What about American comedian/social commentator Doug Stanhope?

    Not partisan, if anything he's a Libertarian.

    Bang his name in You Tube and enjoy.
    Though if you are of a delicate or easily offended disposition, well you've been warned!

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  • 116. At 6:14pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#109), that's an interesting link about The Old Bailey. I've always thought that Rumpole of The Bailey was one of the better British television exports. Then there's the film Witness for the Prosecution, which may be a better depiction of proceedings in The Bailey.

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  • 117. At 6:17pm on 06 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    111, MAII, a typically nasty remark. Reminds me of a coffee shop where
    there is a little note that says, "Be Nice or Leave."

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  • 118. At 6:18pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    MAII has somehow missed the fact that the entire Justin Webb's America feature is "a light diversion."

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  • 119. At 6:21pm on 06 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    seven what are you saying?
    it seems offensive

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  • 120. At 6:46pm on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    101, saintD.
    "It tells me that the GOP has embraced the strategy set by Rush Limbaugh, which is focused on doing whatever is necessary to ensure President Obama fails. Lacking anything positive to say or propose the only thing they can do is attack, destroy, or distort. You would think that after the disaster in November they would have realized that the tactics of Cheney, Rove, DeLay, Limbaugh, Coulter and the rest of the gang are not the way to go, but there they are agaon using the same hammer to get their point across. The Dems could not have asked for a better gift. "

    You have expressed my thoughts to a T. The GOP wil; oppose anything and everything proposed by the Dems. And they will lose whatever credibility they have (had). It must be particularly galling to them that the economy, at least superficially, is recovering. This is measured by many as the rise in stock market prices, which, of itself, is invalid. But perhaps the appearance of recovery will lead to recovery since it serves to raise the spirits of the populace. I suspect that it was Obama's intention to create optimism first and foremost. In that he appears to be succeeding. How the GOP must be cursing him!!

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  • 121. At 6:50pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Here's the official statement of the GOP on the vacancy on the Supreme Court:

    RNC Chairman Steele statement

    He says that Republicans will "reserve judgment" until the nominee is announced. Nothing wrong with that.

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  • 122. At 7:00pm on 06 May 2009, seven839 wrote:

    81. Passtorian...
    ...agreed, however you have omitted that your candidate has also first hand experience of the intricacies of the American judicial system...

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  • 123. At 7:53pm on 06 May 2009, canadac wrote:

    I think you have been in the states too long. Considering your four choices, you need a vacation. Seriously.

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  • 124. At 8:02pm on 06 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Gary Hill;

    "MAII has somehow missed the fact that the entire Justin Webb's America feature is "a light diversion.""

    Yeah, like whether Pakistan's arsenal of nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of the Taleban and al Qaeda. It was so amusing when I first read it I could hardly stop laughing.

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  • 125. At 8:05pm on 06 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    120. At 6:46pm on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    This is largely bye the bye. It wil lnot matter if the economy improves markedly as much as if Obama can depict it as doing so.

    Going by the odds he seems to be on track.

    The republicans have noone to touch him so far,

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  • 126. At 8:07pm on 06 May 2009, mudilamk wrote:

    I would prefer a Spanish person to the Supreme Court and mostly a woman. The Spanish population has grown and the number of educated lawyers as of educated Spanish in general as been multiplies and for sure we can find one to feel that shoe or to create a new shoe too. America is a multi-pie and it needs to start looking like. Then, after that we will be looking for an Asian.

    Mudila K.
    Bellflower-California

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  • 127. At 8:31pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    mudilamk (#126) "I would prefer a Spanish person to the Supreme Court and mostly a woman."

    Sotomayor is the leading candidate who fits that description.

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  • 128. At 8:43pm on 06 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I want a Spanish person on the Surpeme Court, I want a woman, I want a this, I want a that. How about wanting the best qualified person or doesn't that count for anything anymore? I suppose it doesn't. Look at who our President is and whom he chose for Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State. Case close. What not make it an audience participation choice on the TV show America's Best Bloopers.

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  • 129. At 9:02pm on 06 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Women constitute over half of our population, but yet there is only one in the Supreme Court, Hispanics 18% and yet there had never been one appointed to that agustus body, and African Americans are 12% of our population and only a token few have been chosen. Are we to believe that only white males are qualified to interpret the Constitution and the laws of the land? Are they the only ones whose judgment, sense of impartiality, and understanding of the problems we face are sound and fair? The case, I am afraid, will remain open for years to come as it will be a long time before the cultural and gender bias that have dominated politics and business in America becomes a thing of the past.

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  • 130. At 9:11pm on 06 May 2009, U13817236 wrote:

    ....and you actually get paid for turning out this drivel??!! (seriously: idiocy)
    ....maybe you should check with People magazine and see if they could use another 'foreign correspondent' gossip columnist.

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  • 131. At 9:19pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    saitD (#129) " ... Hispanics 18% and yet there had never been one appointed to that agustus body, ... "

    Depends on how you look at it. "Hispania" was the name given by the Romans to the entire Iberian peninsula. The ancestors of Justice Cardozo were from Portugal.

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  • 132. At 9:53pm on 06 May 2009, NoRashDecisions wrote:

    arclightt #106. . .

    Thanks for your kind reply. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentament in your first two paragraphs, however, I feel its worth pointing out, and advise you to keep in mind, that when our founders drafted this country, they didn't expect hard and fast political parties to be formed. They rather saw the congress as being made up of individual free thinking people, who all made up their own minds on all matters before them according to their own personal values and beliefs. Personally, I think that this assumption was a bit strange and naive (especially coming from such brilliant men on every other constitutional regard,) because how can one run for office without a firm platform on which to do so? One can't say, '"Vote for me because...whatever bills and/or major decisions come before me in the future, of which I haven't the faintest of what they will be, I promis I will try to be fair minded and cool headed when deliberating on them." So based upon this firm assumption, the prospect of Supreme Court judges being fought over is eliminated. And that, therefore, resets the role of the Supreme Court back to its original intention by our founders. Now this is not to say, as I stated above, that the Supreme Court hasn't, shamefully, been corrupted and/or given in and delivered on whatever demands of whatever specific parties and/or people throughout our history (I.E. reinterpreting the constitution beyond its explicit declarations!) It is merely to say that had this nation no political parties to speack of, the Supreme Court's original purpose would not be even near extinction as you have observed above.


    But regarding your comments on the first amendment, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall any recent Supreme Court cases in which one's first amendment rights were challenged, and the Court ruled in favor of the party wishing to stifle those rights. So I'm not sure what you were trying to say in that paragraph.




    PS. In my post #68, I referenced warrentless wire tapping, Guantanamo Bay, journalist spying and the like as examples of the Supreme Court giving in to pressure. I didn't mean to. The Supreme Court did rightfully (all be it in five to four splits) take the view that such actions were unconstitutional, thusly putting a huge damper on the Bush administration's actions and plans. But as I'm sure you well know, the Court's rulings did not stop those actions from being caried out, and that is what I was lamenting about. Perhaps we need a constitutional amendment which clearly commands that if an action is deamed unconstitutional, it must be stopped immediately and permanently or those involved shall be fired?

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  • 133. At 10:18pm on 06 May 2009, seven839 wrote:

    119. happylaze...
    offensive is to consider oprah in this cattegory, what contribution she made for society?...gossiping on television and putting her picture on a news stand...

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  • 134. At 10:37pm on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    129, saintD.
    "Women constitute over half of our population, but yet there is only one in the Supreme Court, Hispanics 18% and yet there had never been one appointed to that agustus body, and African Americans are 12% of our population and only a token few have been chosen."

    Taking the last first, if there are only 9 justices, 12 per cent of that number is is 1.08. So it would seem that blacks are in fact representated. As to hispanics, a huge part of that population consists of recent immigrants who have not yet achieved education comparable to the population at large and who are not yet fully integrated into our culture. Your point about women is valid. However, although I would not take as strong a position as you on the gender matter. When men take up a career, they are in it for life. Women tend not to be as consistent, due mostly to having to bear and care for children. So, although they consitute roughly half the population, they do not constitute half of the dedicated career population.

    Having replied to your comments, I will add my own. We should chose the best person for the job. We should not look to race, or ethnic origin, or gender, in making our choices. By the same token, we should not exclude anyone because of race, ethnic origin, or gender. But politics is politics and Obama, being a politician, may feel he has to pander to the voting public, and to various pressure groups. I am sorry for that, feeling as I do that merit, and merit alone, should be the criterion.

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  • 135. At 10:42pm on 06 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    arclight (106)

    "When the Court does that, it is coupling legislative power to judicial power..."

    The question boils down to the purpose of the Constitution. Is it a set of restrictions on government actions with regard to its citizens, or does it mandate a set of conditions that the government must strive to create or maintain? In other words does the Court's jurisdiction cover just errors of commission or also errors of omission by the government? If the government acts in a way that denies equal protection under the law, for instance, then clearly the Court can stop that action. Nobody disagrees with that. However, what if the government is failing to take action to ensure equal protection? The Constitution clearly demands equal protection under the law. What is the Court to do if the legislature fails to enact laws to that end? The Court has no power to force the legislature to enact (or even introduce) bills, which leaves it the option of either accepting that the Constitution is being violated or handing down judgments that specify a course of action to remedy the situation. The latter is referred to as "legislating from the bench" and judges who take part in it are called "activist judges". The Constitution doesn't give the judiciary the power to make law, but it is also a clear contradiction of the Constitution's purpose if the legislature can ignore violations of the Constitution with impunity.

    Personally, I think there is no one solution to the problem and that the judiciary needs to exercise restraint lest things get out of hand. The Court has overstepped its authority on occasion (busing for example), but I'm not ready to say that such legislation from the bench is always wrong.

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  • 136. At 10:47pm on 06 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Am I the only one who thinks Justin's suggestions were tongue in cheek?

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  • 137. At 10:54pm on 06 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #126. mudilamk: "I would prefer a Spanish person to the Supreme Court and mostly a woman. . . Then, after that we will be looking for an Asian."

    It should be an American without regard to his or her cultural heritage. Perhaps there is an indigenous person ("American-Indian") who could serve. If the new Justice is to be chosen on the basis of ethnicity, surely someone whose ancestry pre-dated all others should be first? The President will select someone who he believes is right for the lifetime appointment, not on the basis of their sex, colour of skin or family heritage.

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  • 138. At 11:25pm on 06 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    133, seven.
    "offensive is to consider oprah in this cattegory, what contribution she made for society?...gossiping on television and putting her picture on a news stand..."

    Can't you take a joke? Jeesh!

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  • 139. At 11:50pm on 06 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Andy (#136), everyone does.

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  • 140. At 00:24am on 07 May 2009, markingtime wrote:

    How can people call Justins' piece " a light diversion"?
    Who really can relieve America,- all us little people here, of the burden of our failed and useless lives.?
    A big man who can handle the truth is needed, because the Supreme Court is big time!
    My money is on Randle Patrick McMurphy to get the nomination. Honest. Outspoken. Balanced.
    A man's man, in a world gone mad.

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  • 141. At 00:36am on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    137, David.
    "The President will select someone who he believes is right for the lifetime appointment, not on the basis of their sex, colour of skin or family heritage."

    I hope you are right.

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  • 142. At 00:39am on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    135, Andy.
    "Personally, I think there is no one solution to the problem and that the judiciary needs to exercise restraint lest things get out of hand. The Court has overstepped its authority on occasion (busing for example), but I'm not ready to say that such legislation from the bench is always wrong."

    What is wrong is that they have found a way to link just about everything with the constitution. And the liberals are the most adept at this.

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  • 143. At 00:44am on 07 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    NoRash (132),

    • "Perhaps we need a constitutional amendment which clearly commands that if an action is deamed unconstitutional, it must be stopped immediately and permanently or those involved shall be fired?"
    Or shot.

    Andy (136), No. You're part of the overwhelming majority.

    ;-)

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  • 144. At 01:03am on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    140, marking.
    "My money is on Randle Patrick McMurphy to get the nomination. Honest. Outspoken. Balanced. A man's man, in a world gone mad."

    I don't know who this guy is, but "a man's man" sounds a lot like John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway, and other macho stereotypes who do dumb things to show how touch they are. How about a man who lives in a world half peopled by women? (I gather you are a man.)

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  • 145. At 01:15am on 07 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    NRD, Hesiodos, why don't we just give lawyers dueling pistols and thin the herd
    a little bit? Hamilton and Burr were actually ahead of their time, they just
    weren't able to set a trend.

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  • 146. At 01:16am on 07 May 2009, british-ish wrote:

    136. At 10:47pm on 06 May 2009, AndyPost wrote:

    Am I the only one who thinks Justin's suggestions were tongue in cheek?

    Where else would he put it? It's very rude to stick it out.

    (No, honestly, you are not alone . . .It's just nobody thought it might have to be spelt out until around No 111.)

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  • 147. At 02:35am on 07 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #136. AndyPost: "Am I the only one who thinks Justin's suggestions were tongue in cheek?"
    #146. british-ish: "you are not alone . . .It's just nobody thought it might have to be spelt out until around No 111.)"

    But see #37, third paragraph!

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  • 148. At 02:53am on 07 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    What about Perez Hilton for the Bench? I just read a statement by Miss California, who he had derided for being "stupid" and which was criticised by many "Christians", even on Justin's blog. She said "Unless we bring men and women together, children will not have mothers and fathers." And I don't believe she was thinking of IV fertilisation. Perhaps Mr Hilton had a point and judged her correctly. That's what we need - a common sense approach!

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  • 149. At 03:31am on 07 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    allmymarbles (142)

    "What is wrong is that they have found a way to link just about everything with the constitution. And the liberals are the most adept at this."

    Ok, I'm game. Examples?

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  • 150. At 04:58am on 07 May 2009, BraunSA wrote:

    The most wonderful outcome, would be if President Obama allowed the Bar Association to recommend three qualified candidates, as former New York Mayor Ed Koch did when filling posts. One could certainly seek input from both sides of the field, but neither would produce a similar name. To nominate a star player, or friend of the party, runs opposite of the role of the Supreme Court. Find the qualified person whom has the temperment for the job and can provide sound judgement regardless of the public outcry. So courage and Constitutional understanding are essential to this task! It is after all the Third Branch of Government, and you know what they say, "three's a crowd!"

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  • 151. At 05:08am on 07 May 2009, TimothyR444 wrote:

    This entire thread is just one feeble joke after another. What is the point? It might be an interesting discussion.

    You are not nearly as funny as you think you are.

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  • 152. At 05:14am on 07 May 2009, BraunSA wrote:

    I want to bring to your attentions, a previous post from this blog about Mormen Backlash concerning California Voters. While Nationally the talking heads are focused on the economy, be aware that the hidden agenda of Socialism is alive and well! The Supreme Court nominees are certainly the showing of all the cards...

    18 November 2008
    Hmmm, I'm afraid what you are seeing is skirmishes on the picket lines. The Mormans are the first target hoping to evoke some sympathy from Christians in their cause.
    What happens if they are successful in this assault? Then move on to the Evangelicals of course! Then the Catholics, and any other "moral absolute" organization willing to take a stand!
    When, (not if) homosexuality is considered a political issue (and don't forget abortion), the Left will move in for the kill! Starting with the 501C charitable organization status. Then to "Hate Crime/speech".
    The next two Supreme Court nominees will certainly be telling of the this...
    Beware! Not only the Taxman Cometh!

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  • 153. At 05:22am on 07 May 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    135. At 10:42pm on 06 May 2009, AndyPost wrote:

    "The question boils down to the purpose of the Constitution. Is it a set of restrictions on government actions with regard to its citizens, or does it mandate a set of conditions that the government must strive to create or maintain?"

    The Constitution was written to be both a framework for government and a plan for the development of the nation. The evidence of this, beyond the tone of the Federalist Papers, is the struggle to bring a national government into being, and with it a nation, that continued through the 1830's and on through the states' rights debates, until the Civil War. Marshall and Taney had powerful influences on this debate from the bench during the ebb and flow before then,(as did Jackson and Lincoln from the presidency) and Holmes solidified the independence of the Court and of the Law in the period after the War settled ultimate authority on the federal government.

    'Bringing a nation into being' has changed into 'pursuing the better angels of our nature' - i.e. perfecting the experiment, a dream expressed by Lincoln and given a new voice by Obama in his own inauguration this year. Andrew Jackson was much more interested in preserving the union and giving it access to new territory stolen from the Spanish (Florida), Mexicans (Texas)and the natives (much of the southeast).

    So we have moved from giving birth to the nation to maturing the nation. To me, the question has become: Is the Constitution we have inherited still the essential framework of our civil society?

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 154. At 05:47am on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    149. Andy.

    The question of abortion.

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  • 155. At 05:49am on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    151, timothy.

    And maybe you have no sense of humor. What is wrong with humor anyway? There is a lot of truth in it.

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  • 156. At 07:38am on 07 May 2009, seven839 wrote:

    134. allmymarbles:"Women constitute over half of our population, but yet there is only one in the Supreme Court"...
    it seems that you are very serious...but I fail to see your argument about 50% women, is this for selected activities only or for everything?...how about the army or mining, do we have 50% female representation there?...on the other hand, we (men) are underrepresented in delivering babies but we are not whining...

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  • 157. At 07:39am on 07 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #152. BraunSA: "I want to bring to your attentions, a previous post from this blog about Mormen Backlash concerning California Voters. . . The Mormans are the first target hoping to evoke some sympathy from Christians in their cause."

    What about the Morwomen? Mormons consider themselves to be Christian just as other denominations.

    "When, (not if) homosexuality is considered a political issue (and don't forget abortion), the Left will move in for the kill!"

    It is already a political issue; the USA is way behind European nations in this regard. Presumably in jest, Justin suggests Tony Blair as a Justice and, if ever that ever came to pass, he would certainly be in favour of federally recognised civil unions and equality for homosexuals at every level. Something to do with the phrase All men are created equal . . .

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  • 158. At 11:02am on 07 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #148

    I hope you are not serious. Perez Hilton and his cohorts are bigots. If you are a blond and a beautiful woman and don't agree with him completelt you are dumb and deserve to have your reputation smeared.

    I have no problem with gay marriage but as a solution I think cival unions with all the legal rights would be a solution every should be able to accept.

    But it can't, because people like Hilton havbe a moral superiority of their lifestyle no different than those who bash gay marriage. Others I don't know; it is one of those areas that people won't listen to rational arguments from opposing viewpoints

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  • 159. At 2:13pm on 07 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    158. At 11:02am on 07 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #148

    Perez Hilton is gay - which is your problem with him

    And if you are going to sprout "family values" better not have photos taken of yourself half naked.

    Otherwise you come across as a venal hypocrit.

    eh.

    "I have no problem with gay marriage but as a solution I think cival unions with all the legal rights would be a solution every should be able to accept."


    Just with the gay people who enter into them?

    "But it can't, because people like Hilton havbe a moral superiority of their lifestyle no different than those who bash gay marriage. Others I don't know; it is one of those areas that people won't listen to rational arguments from opposing viewpoints"


    Hre's a tip - rascism, antigay bigotry, despising the disabled, poor and powerless - there is no "other [point of view".

    Who knows you may end up that way yourself one day.





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  • 160. At 2:15pm on 07 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    156. At 07:38am on 07 May 2009, seven839 wrote:
    134. allmymarbles:"Women constitute over half of our population, but yet there is only one in the Supreme Court"...
    it seems that you are very serious...but I fail to see your argument about 50% women, is this for selected activities only or for everything?...how about the army or mining, do we have 50% female representation there?...on the other hand, we (men) are underrepresented in delivering babies but we are not whining... "


    So you would be happy if the Supremem COurt only had women, ditto the COngress, ditto the executive.

    You would think that OK?

    Answer - no.

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  • 161. At 3:41pm on 07 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    157 lol DC we haven't had other issues voted on for 20 years it seems. they are the only two topics of american politics.

    abortion and homosexuality.

    anyone could be forgiven for believing the reason we are all in such a big mess today over economy etc. is essentially because we have debated no other topics.

    Politics forgot economics, workers rights, health care, technological (i hate to use the word advance when some blatantly are not advances, but for lack of a better word) "advances" the state of farming, environment, water quality,food labeling,food safety.

    Justa bout everything but abortions and sex.

    And now for whoots Bristols Palins is heading around the country to say " had had sex and it was great and now I have the best gift in the world but DON'T SHAG"

    And that will be more important to some than the real world , cause she didn't.



    I'm with Gherkin on the gay marriage. sort of , I say take away all legal references to marriage and let it be religious.(what ever) apply those legal references to civil union.

    churches can do what they like but the state does not recognise it.

    Can we find a SCJ that thinks like that. I'll vote for them.opps we don't get to vote. How UNDEMOCRATIC.

    Today we have ballots to vote for the school board and principle (or some such rubbish) and people in america like to complain about micro management and wasted money.


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  • 162. At 3:48pm on 07 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #158. MagicKirin: ref Perez Hiltion 'I hope you are not serious.'

    Credit me with some sense - the suggestion was in the spirit of Justin's list - light humour, although a commonsense approach to the law would not be out-of-place.

    "Perez Hilton and his cohorts are bigots."

    No more than those he and others are fighting; some very unpleasant things have been said and done to to those who support his aims.

    "If you are a blond and a beautiful woman and don't agree with him completelt you are dumb and deserve to have your reputation smeared."

    She may be blond and beautiful, but bright she ain't. It now emerges that she may also have lied about her past and could very well lose the Miss California title.

    "I have no problem with gay marriage but as a solution I think cival unions with all the legal rights would be a solution every should be able to accept."

    Agreed - it's the word which is the problem. "Marriage" should be a religious ceremony with no legal ramifications, the contract being a civil one, just as in France and Italy. And remember, when bigoted anti-gay persons trot out "it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve", according to the Old Testament, they were not themselves married - only the snake was around, not a minister.

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  • 163. At 3:54pm on 07 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    KScurmudgeon (153)

    "Is the Constitution we have inherited still the essential framework of our civil society?"

    Oh, I think so. After all, what else defines America?

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  • 164. At 4:05pm on 07 May 2009, sharksfinsoup wrote:

    The obvious choice is Diana Ross....

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  • 165. At 4:07pm on 07 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    allmymarbles (154)

    "The question of abortion."

    Roe v. Wade concerned a Texas state law which the court saw fit to strike down as a violation of individual civil rights (at the same time refusing to view embryos as individuals with rights). Depending on where you stand on the issue, that may represent a mistake by the court, but it's not an example of activist judging.

    Believe me, there are decisions handed down by the court that I disagree with, too. That doesn't mean that those are examples of activist judging either.

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  • 166. At 4:22pm on 07 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#162) " ... according to the Old Testament, they were not themselves married - only the snake was around, not a minister."

    I think this proposition is debatable. The "marriage" is something that happens in the minds of the couple - in the commitment they make to each other. The ceremony is merely a public declaration of the marriage, which is unnecessary when there is no one to declare it to. I hadn't thought about this until I attended a Catholic wedding service a few years age, and the priest made that point. I don't know if that is the standard Catholic view, but I think it is a reasonable one.

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  • 167. At 4:24pm on 07 May 2009, markingtime wrote:

    allmymarbles # 144
    I must lay a longer trail of breadcrumbs for you next time - " Can't handle the truth, eh?."
    Randle Patrick Mcmurphy is the character played by John Joseph Nickolson in "One flew over the cuckoos nest", the actor being not only a man's man but from what one reads a ladies man too. Macho is a questionable adjective for him, but he has managed to keep in touching distance with the feminine 50% of the population at one level or another and I am sure he would wear a skirt if necessary should nomination for the Hispanic lesbian with a science backround fall through.
    I was indirectly suggesting Jack as a Democrat, intelligent, multi faceted talent to bring a bit of life to the fuddy duddy club at the top, in response to Justin suggesting a dinosaur in Mccain, a self centered foreign jerk in Blair, a former illegal alien film star now Republican governor, Arnie, and Oprah, but your vote goes for the talentless token fat lady singing in the Supreme Court.
    You wouldn't be a woman by any chance?? I gather you must be.
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jack_Nicholson. Keep smiling. Jack does under all circumstances.

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  • 168. At 4:26pm on 07 May 2009, sharksfinsoup wrote:

    Diana Ross and The Supremes on Abortion: "Baby Love Oh Baby Love"

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  • 169. At 4:28pm on 07 May 2009, sharksfinsoup wrote:

    Gun control: Back in n my arms again
    Death Penalty: You keep me hangin' on

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  • 170. At 4:32pm on 07 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #159

    One you don't know me.

    2 Go to youtube and google Perez Hilton and listen to his tirade and tell me he is not a bigot.

    There are white bigots, black bigot, Female chauvinists and gay bigots.

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  • 171. At 4:51pm on 07 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    162, David: ""it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve", according to the Old Testament, they were not themselves married - only the snake was around, not a minister."

    I always thought the lesson of that story was that if two people are naked and alone together in a garden they can do whatever they want, without benefit of clergy, except eat apples.

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  • 172. At 4:59pm on 07 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    166, Gary: "The "marriage" is something that happens in the minds of the couple - in the commitment they make to each other."

    Since there was not only not a clergy person present but no other people at all, I wonder if the idea of making a commitment to one another would have occurred to them. Forsaking all others? What others? The snake? Kinky . . .

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  • 173. At 5:19pm on 07 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    170. At 4:32pm on 07 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #159

    One you don't know me."

    Oh but I do old son. You and your type are not uncommon - despise the different, denigrate the weak and powerless.

    If one of the despised seeks the same rights as privileged - they are uppity, rascist, bigoted.

    They must have immaculate manners while others offend them.

    Hilton does want the same rights as your exalted self.

    "There are white bigots, black bigot, Female chauvinists and gay bigots."

    And the difference betweeen them?

    Is power.

    Whether you can use your bigotry to crush, humiliate and deny others.

    As one "black" (sorry) person put it - no one cares about a rascist eating his cornflakes - bit different when you have to ask him for a job, bank loan, etc

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  • 174. At 5:20pm on 07 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    166 Gary .
    good example there.
    the if there is no one there.

    though I think Adam and eve didn't bother and would have had no concept.

    Marriage was a way of saying
    " we are hooking up. do not try to split us up or chase after me because I am in a committed relationship.( Nothing about monogamous ).

    Do not covet me or my partner and let us work things out before you try to get between us.

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  • 175. At 5:21pm on 07 May 2009, dianaatkin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 176. At 5:26pm on 07 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    161. At 3:41pm on 07 May 2009, happylaze wrote:
    "Today we have ballots to vote for the school board and principle (or some such rubbish) and people in america like to complain about micro management and wasted money."


    Democracy is not intended to work as suggested. It is simply anohter system of political control which goes by a nice name.

    And one way you can effectively wreck the system is to give people too much of it so they do not bother taking an interest.


    Largely the same elites are in power now as they have been for the last 100 (150) years - Obama not withstanding.

    It's like the use of information. How do you make sure people remain uniformed? Give them too much info. The series Yes Minister used to make a regular joke of this - Ministers were always told what was happening, but in such a way as they would never find it.


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  • 177. At 5:31pm on 07 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    168, 169, sharksfinsoup, how about:

    abortion: "Bye, Bye, Love," by the Everly Brothers
    gun control: "Happiness is a Warm Gun," by the Beatles
    death penalty: "You Send Me," by Sam Cooke
    gay marriage: "Crying in the Chapel," by the Orioles

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  • 178. At 5:49pm on 07 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    163 greed
    opps

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  • 179. At 5:58pm on 07 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 180. At 6:10pm on 07 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    165. Andy

    So true.

    When you agree with the result, it's a fine, well reasoned, black letter interpretation of the law.

    When you disagree with the result, it's because they're all a bunch of activist judges legislating from the bench.

    Some things never change.

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  • 181. At 6:52pm on 07 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 134, Marbles

    "As to hispanics, a huge part of that population consists of recent immigrants who have not yet achieved education comparable to the population at large and who are not yet fully integrated into our culture."

    I thought that line of thinking went away in January 1867...

    Yes, a significant number of "Hispanics" are recent immigrants, and a relatively large segment of that ethnic group are unskilled or have limited formal education, but many are as educated as the average American. Don't forget that Hispanics also include Puerto Ricans, who are US citizens at birth, Cuban Americans who place a lot of emphasis on education, and many professionals who migrate to the USA for a variety of reasons.

    Considering the fact that we rank Nr. 17 in high school graduations, and judging by the number of hillbillies and red necks in places like West Virginia and the deep South, perhaps we should consider filling important government vacancies with people from Japan, India, and Western Europe who tend to pursue higher education in larger numbers than we do.

    Judicial qualifications, intellect, good judgment, and honesty should be the main considerations for the job, but you can rest assured those attributes are not limited to white males. Those that are outraged by the audacity of minorities daring to ask for representation should read history and consider what happened in our country before our Independence.

    Women and minorities ought to be chosen to fill SC vacancies as well as other high government and corporate positions. Yes, I am very much aware of President Obama's ethnicity...it was about time! I am also aware of the tiny number of minorities that occupy top ranking jobs in the military, government, and corporate America. More often than not, they are nothing but tokens used to satisfy EEO quotas.

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  • 182. At 7:01pm on 07 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 131, Gary

    "Depends on how you look at it. "Hispania" was the name given by the Romans to the entire Iberian peninsula. The ancestors of Justice Cardozo were from Portugal."

    That is the reason I often use asterisks when I refer to Latin Americans as "Hispanics", a term used often - and incorrectly - in the USA. Obviously "Latin" is more often than not inaccurate as well, but barring the possibility of referring to people as descendents of Aztecs, Mayans, Chibchas, Incas (Quechuas), Africans, "mixed blood" and other such terms the only choice is to categorize them linguistically.

    I am quite familiar with Hispania, my maternal lineage is Basque and Cantabrian, my paternal ancestors are from the Canary Islands and Galicia. Interestingly, some of my Hispanics relatives prefer to speak Euskera and Galician rather than Castilian (Spanish), which would present a problem if they came to the USA.

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  • 183. At 7:15pm on 07 May 2009, toughdirtyjoe wrote:

    I feel gays should be protected under hate crime status, however I am against gay marriage.

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  • 184. At 7:23pm on 07 May 2009, sharksfinsoup wrote:

    Ref: 177
    Gunsandreligion... You are right. All good song choices for the topics. But since the question was about the appointing someone to the supreme court I was trying to stick with "the Supremes"... and my nominee is Diana Ross. (Do you think Scalia plays bass?)

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  • 185. At 8:02pm on 07 May 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    I would like to nominate:

    MarcusAureliusII,

    for his outstanding contributions to international understanding, racial and sexual equality, use of factual based evidence and....


    oh alright, really, anything just to stop the guy continuing to ruin these Blogs with his repeatedly inane, trivial and unbalanced nonsense!

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  • 186. At 8:15pm on 07 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Oh but I do old son. You and your type are not uncommon - despise the different, denigrate the weak and powerless.

    If one of the despised seeks the same rights as privileged - they are uppity, rascist, bigoted.

    They must have immaculate manners while others offend them.

    Hilton does want the same rights as your exalted self.

    "There are white bigots, black bigot, Female chauvinists and gay bigots."

    And the difference betweeen them?

    Is power.

    Whether you can use your bigotry to crush, humiliate and deny others.

    As one "black" (sorry) person put it - no one cares about a rascist eating his cornflakes - bit different when you have to ask him for a job, bank loan, etc

    Simon you are correct

    Hilton want more privilidges he wants the right to abuse and persecute anyone he want, while claiming protective status.

    As one of the few minority groups that does not get special privilidges or set asides don't talk to me about added advanatages.

    As proven on this board and other places in Europe and the U.S; Jews and Asians can be discriminated against but we have no legal recourse

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  • 187. At 8:53pm on 07 May 2009, arclightt wrote:

    @135 (Andy): "However, what if the government is failing to take action to ensure equal protection? The Constitution clearly demands equal protection under the law. What is the Court to do if the legislature fails to enact laws to that end? The Court has no power to force the legislature to enact (or even introduce) bills, which leaves it the option of either accepting that the Constitution is being violated or handing down judgments that specify a course of action to remedy the situation. "

    Remember that the purpose of the court is to determine whether or not laws passed by the legislative branch align with the Constitution, INCLUDING the "equal protection of the law" parts. If the legislative branch passes a law that violates that part of the Constitution, then the Courts can overturn that just as easily as any other law.

    Finding the places where equal protection really does not extend, and correcting them, is another part of the legislative responsibility that the Congress executes poorly, at best. It is NOT, in my view, the responsibility of the Courts to remedy that from the bench. Doing so couples legislative power to the Judicial Branch, with all the problems cited earlier.

    I WOULD, however, support a requirement for the Judicial Branch (including both SC and lower courts) to conduct an annual review of the state of US Law, with recommendations on new legislation for the sole purpose of correcting any such lack of equal protection. Such review could not be solicited by either of the other branches, or by any other party; it would be solely a product of the Judicial Branch. I would then require the Congress to consider all of these recommendations individually as separate bills, with full debate required on each one, and no opportunity for one party or the other to delay the debate or mush the items together. That would provide the necessary feedback to the Legislative Branch that the most learned experts in our country saw problems with the law, but would remove from the Judicial Branch any reason to "legislate from the bench". Any such effort could then be immediately punished, as it should be.

    @153 (KSC): "So we have moved from giving birth to the nation to maturing the nation. To me, the question has become: Is the Constitution we have inherited still the essential framework of our civil society?"

    "Maturing" the nation implies some defined direction for growth. Assuming we are dealing with adults, a "defined direction" implies loss of personal freedom to set direction. I think a better term might be "maintaining" the nation, for the same responsibilities of citizenship then land on each new generation. Those responsibilities are pretty simple, in my mind: Manage my own conduct to protect the freedom of those around me, and train the following generations to do the same. That's a daily commitment. Unfortunately, the focus over the past 40+ years on ever-expanding "rights" at the expense of personal responsibility has set the stages upon which we fight today.

    Turn every question into a responsibility question while maintaining the requirement to guard each other's freedom and maintain equality before the law, and who should do what becomes pretty clear pretty fast in most cases.

    One example: If we try to sort out the "rights" between homosexuals who want to "marry", and people who believe that marriage has defined conditions before God, we maintain the fight we are currently enduring. However, if we reconsider this to determine who has what responsibilities, we find that homosexuals and non-homosexuals have the same responsibility: to guard the freedom to believe and proclaim that belief of all those around them, including each other. They don't have to like each other, or "accept" each other, but they have to guard the freedom of each other without equivocation. That being the case, (a) no government at any level can deny equal protection before the law in terms of benefits to either group, and neither group can request such, and (b) no government at any level has the opportunity to redefine either group's beliefs or to judge one "acceptable" and another "not acceptable". The solution: Government removes the word "marriage" from its lexicon, and tells BOTH groups that "marriage" has no official meaning, but that all civil unions will receive PRECISELY the same non-emotional treatment before the law. It should then go on to remind both groups of their responsibilities before the Constitution as cited above, and conclude by telling both groups that any further attempt to use the power of government to force any group to change its beliefs, or to "accept" another group over and above just guarding their freedom to believe, will be properly and severely punished as a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    We won't see this, of course, but it's nice to dream.

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  • 188. At 9:03pm on 07 May 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    @170 - Perez Hilton is a professional prodnose; he says unpleasant things about famous people, insulated from retribution by the "freedom of the press" and a tendency to litigate. Allegedly, he misuses and abuses "fair use" legislation too.

    Perhaps if less of the world paid attention to the opinions of models (we don't care, please stand over there and look pretty) and even less to the opinions of the gossips, we could actually enter a reasoned debate about Gay Marriage.

    My opinion: it is fundamentally unfair to allow one set of people rights while denying them to others because of their sexual orientation. One of those fundamental rights is the pursuit of happiness: gay people cannot marry, therefore they a gay American cannot bring the person they love to live with them in the USA. An American citizen, with less rights than a hetero illegal.

    Would the conservatives please tell me how they square that?

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  • 189. At 10:08pm on 07 May 2009, Long_Odds_Indian wrote:

    Anybody but Rush Limbaugh and... Dick Cheney! I'd prefer Brigitte Bardot to Tony Blair - at least she's from a republic, so she must be Republican. And don't forget Isabelle Adjani, she'd look good. You should recommend Prince Charles, his job's been downsized and he's got time on his hands. Finally, the bestest way to get over the trouble with Iran? Appoint Ahmedinejad to the Court (that way he won't be in Iran to trouble you no more...)!

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  • 190. At 10:10pm on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    156, seven.

    You are attributing a quote to me that was made by someone else. I replied to that quote.

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  • 191. At 10:12pm on 07 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    arclight (187)

    You're not addressing my argument. Let me try to restate it.

    The Bill of Rights saves the minority from the tyranny of majority. We are not a pure democracy. Majority doesn't always rule. If the Court cannot force the majority to act to protect the rights of the minority, then the majority has control by default, and the Bill of Rights is null and void.

    Take as an example the Civil Rights movement. Early on local law enforcement did nothing in response to the beatings and killings of civil rights workers in the South. The majority in those areas were just fine with that. In fact the police were acting exactly as the majority would have them act. So, the democratic process only served to perpetuate the injustice. The denial of the workers' civil rights was being allowed to stand. Is that ok with you?

    The Court must be able to dictate remedies in cases like this. There's no other solution.

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  • 192. At 10:14pm on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    160. simon.

    The way you structured your reply makes it appear that I made the original statement. Actually I was quoting someone else.

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  • 193. At 10:17pm on 07 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    arclight (157)

    "Government removes the word "marriage" from its lexicon, and tells BOTH groups that "marriage" has no official meaning, but that all civil unions will receive PRECISELY the same non-emotional treatment before the law."

    On this we agree entirely. The government didn't declare my wife and me married. The Church did. The government merely took record of it.

    I say remove all mention of the word "marriage" from the law.

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  • 194. At 10:21pm on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    165, andy.
    "Believe me, there are decisions handed down by the court that I disagree with, too. That doesn't mean that those are examples of activist judging either. (Roe vs. Wade)

    You misunderstand me. My reply had to do with cases that are appropriate for the Supreme Court to consider. I was not taking a political, but a constitutional, stance. As for where I stand personally, I am pro-abortion. I never saw this as a case of constitutionality. We should never be so partisan that we lose our objectivity.

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  • 195. At 10:32pm on 07 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #166. Gary_A_Hill: " ... according to the Old Testament, they were not themselves married - only the snake was around, not a minister."

    "I think this proposition is debatable. The "marriage" is something that happens in the minds of the couple - in the commitment they make to each other. The ceremony is merely a public declaration of the marriage, which is unnecessary when there is no one to declare it to."

    The authorities don't agree, and it's they who are the problem. To use an old-fashioned phrase, Adam and Eve were in fact "living in sin" as common-law husband and wife. Recognition of a legal, matrimonial contract provides both parties with certain rights which otherwise would be denied them. Adam and Eve couldn't have filed joint tax returns or have received information about each other if one of them were in a hospital, supposing that one existed. Considering the divorce rate amongst heterosexual couples, the idea of "marriage 'til death us do part" seems terribly outdated and really not worth the trouble. There can be religious ceremonies without involving the State at any level and I'm not inclined to support gay marriage since marriage of any kind is, in my opinion, outmoded. However, as long as married, heterosexual couples get better treatment, there will be a push for same gender marriage. I say strip them of their benefits and let's have a level - and equal - playing field.

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  • 196. At 10:33pm on 07 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    181, sanitD.

    You are taking my remarks very personally. I never suggested that Hispanics were unworthy. All I meant to point out was that it took at least one generation for poor immigrants to rise to the the level they aspire. We, who are descendents of immigrants understand this. It does not denegrate immigrants or Hispanic immigrants. Immigrants really come into their glory in the second generation. I am talking about economics, and economics means education and realisticaly higher aspirations. Immigrants are the salt of our earth. They understand the value of hard work.

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  • 197. At 11:29pm on 07 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#195) "Recognition of a legal, matrimonial contract provides both parties with certain rights which otherwise would be denied them."

    You are writing about something else. Civil marriage is a distinct thing from marriage as recognized by religions (which in any case did not exist at the supposed time).

    And by the way, civil marriage is not a legal contract, it is a legal status.

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  • 198. At 11:42pm on 07 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    187 Arc. 195 Andy.

    "I say remove all mention of the word "marriage" from the law."

    That is a better idea than it first appears.

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  • 199. At 11:48pm on 07 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 159 Simon21 wrote:

    "Hre's a tip - rascism, antigay bigotry, despising the disabled, poor and powerless - there is no "other [point of view"."

    Simon, on the assumption that you're going to continue hurling around accusations of racism, you really should learn to spell the word.

    [This may earn me the accusation of 'grammar troll' or some such - but frankly I care not a flying apostrophe.]

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  • 200. At 11:54pm on 07 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 185 ikamaskeip wrote:

    "I would like to nominate:/MarcusAureliusII,/for his outstanding contributions to international understanding, racial and sexual equality, use of factual based evidence and..../oh alright, really, anything just to stop the guy continuing to ruin these Blogs with his repeatedly inane, trivial and unbalanced nonsense!"

    No. no, no.

    You appoint Hillary to the Court - a woman and a pro-choice Democrat with a strong legal background. It also removes her as a possible political threat to Obama.

    You then make MAII Secretary of State.

    Either

    [a] the effort involved in being polite to foreigners - or, indeed, anyone - would kill him, or

    [b] probably more likely, he'd quickly start WW 3, 4, and 5 ['we had to destroy the planet to save it', as someone almost once said], so the whole issue would be rather academic...

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  • 201. At 11:59pm on 07 May 2009, herupakhered wrote:

    With Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas still on the court after Bush v. Gore (2000), the constitution isn't even symbolically meaningful. I don't have high hopes for any ideological movement to the left under Obama despite how far right the SCOTUS has swung. His economic and foreign policy to date suggest he has stronger right-wing leanings than even Clinton and will appoint accordingly. The SCOTUS pick's litmus test will ultimately revolve around how favorable their treatment of corporations and the wealthy have been.

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  • 202. At 00:01am on 08 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 186 MagicKirin wrote:

    "As proven on this board and other places in Europe and the U.S; Jews and Asians can be discriminated against but we have no legal recourse"

    Magic, if you'll excuse me introducing the bizarre and alien concept of "evidence" - who exactly has proven on this Board and/or in ' Europe and the U.S' that 'Jews and Asians can be discriminated against but we have no legal recourse'?

    Certainly in my country, and I imagine in most if not all of the EU, discrimination on racial or religious grounds is illegal, and plenty of people have taken legal action to uphold said rights.

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  • 203. At 00:25am on 08 May 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    arclight (187)

    "Remember that the purpose of the court is to determine whether or not laws passed by the legislative branch align with the Constitution"

    Well, there it is. That's the issue. The original purpose of the Court was as you say, yes. If you're a constructionist, that's the compelling argument.

    While I concede the validity of the point, I maintain that for the country to function in the way the framers intended, the Court has to be activist from time to time.

    I'm not in favor of writing this into (amending) the Constitution, because I can't think of a way to fit it into the checks and balances framework. It gives the Court a disproportionate amount of power especially when you consider how hard it is do get the country to ratify an amendment.

    (197)

    "You misunderstand me."

    Yes, my bad.

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  • 204. At 00:26am on 08 May 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    David, Gary and others

    re the whole gay marriage thing....

    The stumbling block is often simply the word "marriage", which to religious people has a deepe connotation than the simple issue of status which is important to those denied it.

    My solution would be that a civil contract (giving all the legal rights currently accorded to a married couple) could be issued by the state to any 2 people regardless of gender.
    Then for those who are religious, they could have a religious ceremony in keeping with their own faith to formalise their commitment in the eyes of their co-religionists.

    It seems odd to me that in a country with a separation of church and state, that a religious wedding service is accepted by the state. Even in Italy and France you must get married by the state first, and then do the church bit if you want it.

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  • 205. At 00:54am on 08 May 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    199 john

    I wonder if Simon21 has coined a new word ... rascism must be a cross between racism and fascism, thus saving valuable words while exchanging insults.

    Efficiency at work.

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  • 206. At 01:49am on 08 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #202

    How about proffesors who were barred from Oxford and other British universities because they were Jewish
    What about the racism of Sinead Oconner, Ken Livinsgston and the European protesters against Jews defending themselves?

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  • 207. At 02:15am on 08 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 196, Marbles

    Don't forget that the ancestors of many "Hispanics" were living in what we know today as the USA since long before the Mayflower arrived. There are several highly qualified "Hispanic" judges, governors, and intellectuals who would do a wonderful job in the Supreme Court, Denying them the opportunity to be nominated because recent Spanish-speaking immigrants have not yet been assimilated into our society would be the same as asking Justices Scalia and Alito to resign because some of their ethnic compatriots were mafiosi.

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  • 208. At 02:49am on 08 May 2009, davep01 wrote:

    Lydia Lunch. Or Sarah Silverman. But Lydia's the more judgmental. Just the ticket.

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  • 209. At 02:54am on 08 May 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #206

    Magic,

    Huge leap. You originally said folks could be racist with no legal recourse. When asked for examples you come up with Red Ken Livingstone.

    What on earth are you referring to? The time he likened a Jewish reporter who was exposing some of his behavior to a concentration camp guard? The reporter could have sued for libel, clear legal recourse, and Kenny apologized.

    So what anti Jewish action did Livingstone take that was not subject to legal recourse? Dates, quotes etc would be helpful.

    Unless you are just making sh!t up.

    Inquisitive Sam

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  • 210. At 03:26am on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    RomeStu (#204) "It seems odd to me that in a country with a separation of church and state, that a religious wedding service is accepted by the state."

    The service has nothing to do with it. The civil marriage is essentially nothing more than filling out a form with the signatures of the parties and witnesses, and that of a recognized official, paying a fee, and filing the document. The service can be anything or nothing. It is convenient to accept the signature of a clergyman as the official because most people want a religious service. As long as there is no requirement that a religious person officiate, there is no constitutional problem.

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  • 211. At 03:27am on 08 May 2009, frayedcat wrote:

    There are other Actors angling for the job http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/05/07/sutherland.charged/index.html
    Latest is we're looking for a head butter...

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  • 212. At 03:49am on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #197. Gary_A_Hill: "Recognition of a legal, matrimonial contract provides both parties with certain rights which otherwise would be denied them."
    "You are writing about something else. Civil marriage is a distinct thing from marriage as recognized by religions (which in any case did not exist at the supposed time)."

    If only it were - most religious bodies see it as the same thing.

    "And by the way, civil marriage is not a legal contract, it is a legal status."

    I'm not at all sure you're correct - in the UK it is my recollection that the wording of a civil marriage includes the words that "you are entering into a contract". I don't know what it is for "civil unions" - perhaps someone else has more information. But, if it isn't a contract, then why is divorce (the dissolution of the contract) such a problem - and expensive for the parties involved? If it weren't a contract, then one could walk away from the arrangement at will.

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  • 213. At 04:02am on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #204. RomeStu: "It seems odd to me that in a country with a separation of church and state, that a religious wedding service is accepted by the state. Even in Italy and France you must get married by the state first, and then do the church bit if you want it."

    Absolutely correct - but there would continue to be resistance from many who consider same-gender partnerships immoral.

    #206. MagicKirin: "How about proffesors who were barred from Oxford and other British universities because they were Jewish"

    How about providing some concrete evidence and a couple of links to verify that? After all, Britain has had a Jewish prime minister (head of government), not something the United States can claim. And it almost had a Roman Catholic, but Tony Blair was too chicken to announce his conversion before leaving office. I can't imagine anyone would have cared one way or the other.

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  • 214. At 04:39am on 08 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    207. saintD.
    "Don't forget that the ancestors of many "Hispanics" were living in what we know today as the USA since long before the Mayflower arrived."

    I am aware of that. What I questioned was the percentage of Hispanics in our present population. The vast majority are relative newcomers, and many of those are not citizens. To expect proportional representation in high positions is not reasonable. It takes a little time to reach the level of education required. The blacks, on the other hand, with some exceptions, have been in America longer than most of us.

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  • 215. At 04:47am on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#212) "I'm not at all sure you're correct - in the UK ... "

    I don't know anything about the UK law in this matter, but I'm not going to get into a debate about the law in any case. Any US divorce lawyer can explain it, if you like.

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  • 216. At 05:19am on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #215. Gary_A_Hill: ref marriage & contracts "I don't know anything about the UK law in this matter"

    Well, this is a British blog, so it does have some relevance, especially for UK readers and contributors.

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  • 217. At 05:40am on 08 May 2009, seven839 wrote:

    190. ALLMYMARBLES...sorry you are right, the respond is to 129. SAINTD idea of underrepresentation of women on the supreme court...

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  • 218. At 06:05am on 08 May 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    All the posters seem to me to have missed the intent of the institution of marriage. In every society its purpose, both civil and religious, has not been to recognize couples in love, but to provide special protection for children so that they are raised in the best possible circumstances for their stability and success, so that as adults they can take their places as productive members of society.

    The best circumstance for children has always been understood to be to live and grow with the support, protection, guidance and love of both of their natural parents, their mother AND father. (forgive the shout) Every child expresses a need to have the love of her parents, asks after a parent if he is not in the home, and wants to know that she is (or was) loved and 'wanted' by her natural parents. A parent's love is important, and too many have had to heal over this ancient wound.

    Of course, there are many circumstances in which this best arrangement is not possible, and then the next-best course is to provide substitutes for the missing or incompetent parent or parents who will show the same care, love and responsibility as a parent.

    But this is not the best situation. The best situation, as fragile as it can be, has been specially set aside for preferential protection and respect, as the essential component of human culture, survival, and civilization. This 'family' essentially includes grandparents, children and grandchildren as supporters and partners across the genertions, as well as siblings and their families.

    It seems to me, however, that the battle to preserve the traditional importance of marriage is already lost - if the opinions of it's meaning posted here are an indication. Not one has mentioned its importance in providing a secure home for children, or for the marriage partners, for that matter. It would appear to be a matter of legal and civil status, wrapped in some romantic aura that can be conveyed only by the privilidge of an old fashioned word.

    KScurmudgeon
    married father and grandfather, son and brother

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  • 219. At 06:31am on 08 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    218, KScurmudgeon

    Ditto.

    allmymarbles
    married mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister

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  • 220. At 08:00am on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    "Not one has mentioned its importance in providing a secure home for children, or for the marriage partners, for that matter."

    If a secure home for children is a factor, then please explain why 60% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. According to the latest census, there are 10 million "single mothers" and about 425,000 teens (ages 15 to 19) each year join that number. I don't see that as a good advertisement for heterosexual marriage. Same-gender families can do just as well - a loving home is better than no home. But perhaps you and Marbles would rather they were in safe hands in some institutional setting? Oliver Twist may be of former times, but there remain a great many children who are not placed in loving homes and remain in limbo. You should consider them, the product of a quick liaison resulting in unwed mothers who do not believe in termination or even "the morning after pill". The "octuplet mom" comes to mind - there is no happy family there, unmarried, fourteen children and on welfare benefits. Tell me that's ideal!

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  • 221. At 10:20am on 08 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 222. At 10:32am on 08 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    186. At 8:15pm on 07 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Simon you are correct.


    With you I usually am.

    Wish I could claim genius but it is like shooting fish in a barrel.


    "
    Hilton want more privilidges he wants the right to abuse and persecute anyone he want, while claiming protective status."


    Really does he say that? where? Quotes please in context.

    He asked a probing question and revealed this little miss to be bigot, an apparently dishonest bigot as well.

    Well done him

    "As one of the few minority groups that does not get special privilidges or set asides don't talk to me about added advanatages."

    Oh lamb, what special privileges would you like?

    Maybe if you stop despising people you consider your inferiors you might succeeed better?

    After all, gays, non-jewsih semites, blacks etc, it is rather a large number.

    I mean anyone who depsises Desmond Tutu as an extremistand considers him inferior to a complicit war criminal is not likely to have many friends.

    "As proven on this board and other places in Europe and the U.S; Jews and Asians can be discriminated against but we have no legal recourse"


    Really so er that makes it right to abuse "inferiors"? How?

    Sorry that is Dershovitzian logic ie rubbish

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  • 223. At 10:47am on 08 May 2009, SaintOne wrote:

    #220

    I'm slightly confused as to why you have worded your post like that, it would appear to me that you are in almost total agreement with KS!

    And the octuplet thing is a disgrace. No single person can raise 14 children properly and gtive them all the attention they need. No doubt she loves them all but it is ridiculous to think that she can effectively care for more than 5 of them on her own, let alone 14.

    I the fact that she is on benefits is a real kick in the teeth for the US tax payer, to be quite honest. If you cannot provide for your children you certainly shouldn't have 14.

    One also has to wonder when she decided to try and reap benefits from the media coverage. I may be mistaken but i believe a reality tv show was being planned? I would hate to think she gave birth to that many children for a tv show....but I'm being cynical.

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  • 224. At 11:58am on 08 May 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    David # 220,
    If I may go off at a slight tangent.....
    I have no qualms with any partner relationships that now exist and agree that the homosexual couple in many countries are losing out. Marriage and having children [sometimes in the hope to glue it together] is a diminishing norm, the UK appearing to push the single parent situation and its associated handouts.
    In the last few years with economic hardship affecting the older and elderly family members who have lost their partners and have no children around, the situation primarily of sister and sister occurs [ the ladies exhibiting a longer lifespan] though that of brother and sister or brother and brother sharing a home is not uncommon too. They too are prohibited in drawing up a legal contract and often the same sex situation results in them too acquiring a tasteless label as "sinners" .
    Many, wishing to maintain their equilibrium of a loving family togetherness that has been lost through circumstance are often penalised along the same lines, with the rules and regulations that discriminate, applying the thumbscrews to extract every penny possible to fill their coffers. Government often wants the penny and the bun, especially in their own private circle.
    We live in hope that on a multitude of fronts authority will open it's eyes to an ever changing world on the status of what constitutes a chosen union of individuals, and the benefits can be equally spread across the board.
    Even Dickens, writing Oliver Twist 170 + years ago saw the law as an ass, an idiot, and a bachelor.

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  • 225. At 12:56pm on 08 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 206 Kirin, # 209 Sam and # 213 David

    As ever, it appears that Kirin is, as Sam so succinctly puts it, 'just making sh!t up'. That is to say, providing his usual combination of maximum prejudice and minimum evidence.

    Since he has provided neither links nor details, it is hard to address the 'specifics' of his claim. But when he was asked for details of how in 'Europe and the U.S'...'Jews and Asians can be discriminated against but we have no legal recourse' he comes up with the following - "How about proffesors [sic] who were barred from Oxford and other British universities because they were Jewish/What about the racism of Sinead Oconner [sic], Ken Livinsgston [sic] and the European protesters against Jews defending themselves?"

    Clearly , not for the first time, when Kirin refers to anti-semitism, or racism, or discrimination against Jews, what he actually means is any disagreement with the policies of the Israeli government.

    He's not the first nor the last person to do this, and I consider it not only wicked but tremendously short-sighted. Because there is no shortage of anti-semitism in the world. And I fear that the day will come when a genuine anti-semite will be accused of anti-semitism - and the general public will yawn and say 'anti-semite - that just means that he dared to criticise Israel'.

    Remember the boy who cried 'wolf'?

    And Kirin - I'm just really interested in hearing about the specific details of the professors who were barred from Oxford University purely on the basis of their religion...

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  • 226. At 1:41pm on 08 May 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    220. At 08:00am on 08 May 2009, David_Cunard wrote:

    "If a secure home for children is a factor, then please explain why 60% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. According to the latest census, there are 10 million "single mothers" and about 425,000 teens (ages 15 to 19) each year join that number. I don't see that as a good advertisement for heterosexual marriage. Same-gender families can do just as well - a loving home is better than no home. But perhaps you and Marbles would rather they were in safe hands in some institutional setting? Oliver Twist may be of former times, but there remain a great many children who are not placed in loving homes and remain in limbo. You should consider them, the product of a quick liaison resulting in unwed mothers who do not believe in termination or even "the morning after pill". The "octuplet mom" comes to mind - there is no happy family there, unmarried, fourteen children and on welfare benefits. Tell me that's ideal!"

    DC, you have done a creditable job of supporting my argument that children are best raised by their own, committed parents. You also rank the alternatives in diminishing order of desirability and benefit to the child. I can't but conclude that you understand the need in the same way that I do.

    The cause of all the miseries you cite is, in my opinion, in the personal choice of the parents - to have sex with no regard for the interests of the children they may conceive together. Sixty percent of American marriages, if that is the number that end in divorce, are tragedies for the partners, more so for their children, and perhaps even more so for our society. I know this because I was divorced when my children were six and ten. Why does this happen so often, you ask? For the same reason - too many people understand marriage in terms of sex over intimacy, material advancement over sharing, me rather than us.

    Still, I must conclude from your statement that the best way must be recognized, preferred, and protected whenever possible, for the sake of our children, ourselves, and our future. "A baby changes everything" - and I adore my grandchildren.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 227. At 2:36pm on 08 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Simon and John I am not required to provide links for your approval.

    Here are the facts Jews are a minority in the U.S there are fewer Jews than African Americans, we get no set asides and we are not allowed to registered as minority business. nor are Asains.

    The protests in Europe speak for themselves there were refrences to Hitler. No one protest in Europe when Spain goes after ETA. European academia encourages racism against Jews.

    As usual I have proven you both to be racists.

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  • 228. At 3:16pm on 08 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Majik,

    • "Simon and John I am not required to provide links for your approval."
    Nor is anyone required to take you seriously.

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  • 229. At 3:24pm on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #223. SaintOne: "#220: I'm slightly confused as to why you have worded your post like that, it would appear to me that you are in almost total agreement with KS!"

    Not in the least - he advocates heterosexual marriage in order to provide children with stability - when so many marriages end prematurely, how can that be? Same-gender families can provide love and stability just as well.

    226. KScurmudgeon: "DC, you have done a creditable job of supporting my argument that children are best raised by their own, committed parents."

    Presumably you meant biological parents, which for the most part I would agree - but failing that I can no reason why same-gender couples should not adopt and raise the cast-offs of others (for that is what they are) and to give them a loving and stable environment which they otherwise would not receive.

    However, your argument was about the desirability of (heterosexual) marriage in order to provide such a loving and stable environment. If 60% of those marriages end in failure, how then can that be providing stability? I do not see that marriage, as an institution, necessarily provides that. I note that both you and Marbles are significantly older and probably have a generational gap. Since you were/are divorced, I wonder if your wedding vows included the traditional phrases "in sickness and in health, 'til death us do part" or something very similar? For centuries couples abided by those contractual vows but now, regardless of the circumstances, couples quit and take the easy way out. If both the act of marriage and divorce were made harder, then perhaps there might be some stability and the vagaries of married life would be smoothed out by necessity.











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  • 230. At 3:49pm on 08 May 2009, happylaze wrote:

    227 Gherkin you have proven nothing.

    as usual. just left a strange taste on the bun.

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  • 231. At 3:53pm on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#216) "Well, this is a British blog ... "

    It is, but is called Justin Webb's America. I like the international flavor of the content here, but for those who don't already know, I am a US citizen. I prefer to comment only on those subjects with which I am most familiar.

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  • 232. At 3:58pm on 08 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    As for discrimination against Jews in European academia, I simply cannot
    believe this. There may not be many Jews left on the European continent,
    but certainly in the UK there are plenty.

    As far as I know, Jews were never persecuted in the UK. I would be amazed
    if a country which had a Jewish PM more than a hundred years ago could even
    do such a thing.

    Please, MK, post a link to the incident you are describing.

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  • 233. At 4:47pm on 08 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    G&R,

    • "There may not be many Jews left on the European continent, but certainly in the UK there are plenty."
    Around a quarter million, or less than one half percent of the population, but they don't seem to be suffering significant disadvantage, here or elsewhere!
    • "Britain, despite having a Jewish community 20 times smaller than that of the United States, has 59 Jewish members of parliament, including 18 in the House of Commons and 41 in the House of Lords. The latter number includes seven barons whose seats in the house were hereditary until recently. However, the umbrella organization of British Jewry said that in fact, the number of Jews in the House of Lords is even higher, totaling at least 46.
      ...
      After Britain and the United States come France and Ukraine, with 18 Jewish legislators each, followed by Russia (13), Brazil (11), and Canada and Hungary (10 each). The only Arab country with a Jewish member of parliament is Tunisia."
    I believe a similar situation obtains in Academi, with Jews being represented in a much higher proportion than their numbers in the general population. Many of my best professors at the (redneck) University of Florida were Jews at a time when not one was Black.
    • "Even into recent times Jews were little represented in the land-holding classes, but far better represented in academia, the learned professions, finance and commerce. The strong representation of Jews in science and academia is represented in the fact that at least 167 Jews and persons of half-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2004. In addition, of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of the 20th century, fourteen persons listed are either of Jewish ancestry or have converted to Judaism."
      Source
    "Disadvantaged" or not, Jews are certainly achievers!

    Majik should get out of the Middle Ages.

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  • 234. At 5:11pm on 08 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 227 MagicKirin wrote:

    "Simon and John I am not required to provide links for your approval."

    Nor evidence for anyone else's perusal, it seems. Then again, as I previously demonstrated, in MagicWorld, words mean what Magic wants them to mean - and 'facts' are any prejudices held by Magic.

    "Here are the facts Jews are a minority in the U.S there are fewer Jews than African Americans, we get no set asides and we are not allowed to registered as minority business. nor are Asains."

    The rights and wrongs of affirmative action is a complex issue that I do not propose to get into. Though I recall that someone suggested - wisely I thought - that Pres Obama should make it a priority to help the poorest, rather than specifically trying to help African-Americans - and this would in fact help AA's anyway, since they are disproportionately poorer than average.

    Irish-Americans, British-Americans, Norwegian-Americans - I am not aware that they get 'set asides' or 'registered as minority business.' I don't hear them whinging about it.

    So Magic - are you claiming that Jews have been so economically disadvantaged by years of slavery, oppression and lack of civil rights in the US that they now need Govt assistance to catch up with the rest of society? If so, please provide evidence.

    "No one protest in Europe when Spain goes after ETA."

    I did. After Spain continuously bombed the Basque region, indiscriminately killing men, women and children in their thousands, many times more than had been killed by ETA, bombing churches, schools and hospitals - I protested. Or at least I would have - if it had ever happened.

    "European academia encourages racism against Jews."

    Evidence?

    Some academics in the UK at least support an academic boycott of contacts with Israeli universities until Israel complies with the various relevant UN resolutions. AFAIK this boycott hasn't actually taken place. I don't know the rights and wrongs of it. I do know that to automatically conflate opposition to Israeli government policy with racism and anti-semitism is despicable.

    "As usual I have proven you both to be racists."

    As usual you have proven absolutely nothing - except your readiness to stoop to smears of racism when anyone dares to question you.

    Think yourself lucky that posts here are anonymous. In my country there are laws against libel.

    You said a while ago you were a graduate. Which university failed to teach you the basics of logic, evidence, proof, spelling and grammar?

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  • 235. At 5:14pm on 08 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 232 gunsandreligion wrote:

    "Please, MK, post a link to the incident you are describing."

    Guns

    [a] MK is 'not required to provide links for your approval' [see # 227]

    [b] Stop trying to confuse him with the facts! ;-)

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  • 236. At 5:20pm on 08 May 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 237. At 5:22pm on 08 May 2009, pinterseye wrote:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger? Ok, since this is now open to fictional characters, what about WonderWoman?

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  • 238. At 5:39pm on 08 May 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    For the benefit of British readers of this blog, it is true that Jews were
    systematically discriminated against before WWII, but started to change
    in the 50s, and by the 60s they were well integrated into American society.

    In the US, Asians and Jews are among the most affluent ethnic groups, perhaps
    as affluent as WASPs. I don't have the figures available to me, but recall
    reading this some years ago. It's simply not possible to do business in America
    at a high level and be a bigot - the days of Henry Ford are long gone.

    This is even true in the South.


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  • 239. At 5:41pm on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    john-In-Dublin (#234) " ... that Pres Obama should make it a priority to help the poorest, rather than specifically trying to help African-Americans ... "

    In fact, Pres. Obama has made this point explicitly.

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  • 240. At 6:06pm on 08 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    223, saintD.
    "I the fact that she is on benefits is a real kick in the teeth for the US tax payer, to be quite honest. If you cannot provide for your children you certainly shouldn't have 14."

    She was on public assistance when she got the last in vitro. Where did she get the money for it? It is very expensive. And what about the irresponsible doctor who performed the procedure?

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  • 241. At 6:12pm on 08 May 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 227, Magic

    "Here are the facts Jews are a minority in the U.S there are fewer Jews than African Americans..."

    The only fact I see in this statement is that you are comparing members of a religion (Judaism) with an ethnic group.

    Are you suggesting Semitic Jews are not white? If you are, you should inform all the Christian churches in the USA, I am sure their parishioners will be pleased to hear that. BTW, what ethnic group do you think European Ashkenazi Jews from the Rhineland belong to?

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  • 242. At 6:14pm on 08 May 2009, moderate_observer wrote:

    hey justin can you have a discussion about Obama's choice of Mustard, fox news seems to be all over that. Who cares about Supreme Court Judges, mustard matters.

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  • 243. At 6:36pm on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #227. MagicKirin : "Simon and John I am not required to provide links for your approval."

    Not for approval, but for confirmation of what you write. For example, you have provided nothing whatsoever which would substantiate your statement that Jews were denied professorships at Oxford and other British universities. You can't toss around accusations without providing some kind of proof.

    #231. Gary_A_Hill: "I like the international flavor of the content here, but for those who don't already know, I am a US citizen. I prefer to comment only on those subjects with which I am most familiar."

    And I'm a British citizen who lives in California and tries to see matters of morality and the law from more than one, insular, perspective. Just because something is done or considered correct in the USA does not mean to say that everyone else agrees - and vice versa. But it does help to understand the human condition. I believe that marriage, sanctioned by the state, is a contract between two persons. For some reason, you don't agree. Both parties make solemn promises to each other, and an oral contract can be as binding as any written on paper. If that were not so, then divorce proceedings would be unnecessary.

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  • 244. At 6:49pm on 08 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #234,235 243

    When I have provided links in the past, they have been derided.

    Will you three accept links with an open mind?

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  • 245. At 6:51pm on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#243), you are being argumentative for no particularly good reason. I am not being insular, I merely made a comment regarding something I have some knowledge of. A civil marriage in the United States is not a contract, as the term is used in law in the US. What it may be called elsewhere, I do not know.

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  • 246. At 6:55pm on 08 May 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    Rediculous!!

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  • 247. At 6:59pm on 08 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    241, saintDominick - (and john-in-Dublin et al)

    For much of history Jews were viewed, incorrectly of course, as a separate race in Europe and in the U.S. There are many references to the "Jewish race" throughout literature, and it didn't matter whether the Jews were practicing religionists or not. Disraeli was baptized as a child but was always considered a Jew because of his birth. Jews were often classed not as members of a religion but as "a people apart."

    Many universities in the U.S. as recently as the 40s (and perhaps later) had quotas and only so many Jews were allowed entrance. My father (Jewish) went to Georgetown in the late 40s and was reminded the whole time he was there of how lucky he had been to get in because of the quota.

    In spite of this, however, Jews in the U.S. have been way over-represented in, at least, the fields of law, medicine, and business. So it does not seem that whatever discrimination there was had a long-lasting effect. To compare this with what was done to black Americans is dishonest as well as ludicrous, as you have said.

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  • 248. At 7:38pm on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Here's a link to a nuanced discussion of the distinction between marriage as a "contract" or a "status," for the wonks among us who are actually interested in such detail.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09691b.htm

    As it happens, the family law in California, and in some, if not all, other US states, refers to marriage as a "civil contract." I suspect this terminology predates the concept of no-fault divorce, which is universal in the US today. It used to be necessary to allege some act which would constitute a "breach" of the marriage "contract" in order for a court to terminate the marriage. Nowadays, one party need only cite "irreconcilable differences" to terminate the marriage. This is not contestable by the other party. So if marriage is a "contract," it is a contract in name only.

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  • 249. At 7:47pm on 08 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    247, bere.
    "There are many references to the "Jewish race" throughout literature, and it didn't matter whether the Jews were practicing religionists or not."

    Which poses a particular problem for atheistic Jews. My atheist friends bridled at being classified as Jews because of the religious implication.

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  • 250. At 7:58pm on 08 May 2009, markingtime wrote:

    MagicKirin # many, and # 244
    I do realise that you feel it is your duty to fight your corner to the best of your ability and admire your tenacity, but a continual onslaught made up of dreams or dubious links does not pass muster for the better read on the blog.
    Suggestions about ignoring a blogger or even worse "black-balling" him would I imagine, not sit kindly with your personna.
    Not only open minds, but many inquisitive and one empty mind await here to receive the concrete facts.
    For my part "Written in stone" is only essential under extreme circumstances, but I would appreciate just a little more of the hard stuff, if you can find it.

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  • 251. At 8:11pm on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #245. Gary_A_Hill: "A civil marriage in the United States is not a contract, as the term is used in law in the US."

    #248: "As it happens, the family law in California, and in some, if not all, other US states, refers to marriage as a "civil contract."

    So I was correct in the first place? And what other kinds of contracts are there - criminal?? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it must be a duck. And I'm not being argumentative, just being accurate.

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  • 252. At 8:23pm on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #244. MagicKirin: "Will you three accept links with an open mind?"

    Only if they're from legitimate, independent, non-propaganda sources.

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  • 253. At 8:42pm on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#251), did you read the article in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia to which I linked? This article is as thorough a discussion of the topic as I think you will find anywhere. I have nothing to add to what is written there, except that the part about interracial marriage being prohibited in some of the United States is obsolete.

    You are correct only in the sense that the word "contract" does appear in the California Family Code, but you also seem utterly unable to deal with any nuance of meaning or usage of the term. Your obsession over form and disinterest in learning anything of substance about the topic is argumentative pettifogging, in my opinion.

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  • 254. At 9:04pm on 08 May 2009, cynic555 wrote:

    Sobriety is a wonderful thing ... you might give it a try sometime. Surely you can blog about something with a bit more substance.

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  • 255. At 9:12pm on 08 May 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #252

    Please define what you consider biased.

    will you accept major news networks or does have to be hated sights like the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos?

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  • 256. At 9:36pm on 08 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    253, Gary

    I think you are misunderstanding David's point, and the article in the Catholic encyclopedia doesn't explain (at least not that I saw) what the difference is between any other actual contract and the marriage "contract," except saying that it is not a contract but a status.

    David's point, and mine as well, is that it acts like a contract in that you cannot simply walk away and forget about it; it must be dissolved by law. Is there any other situation other than legal contracts where this legal dissolution is required for the parties to go their separate ways? A legal marriage works like a legal contract, even more so than a regular contract. In a normal legal contract, you can insert provisions whereby it can be dissolved by mere agreement of the signed parties. A marriage "contract" cannot be entered into that way, which makes it even more binding than what you call a real contract.

    So even though the marriage license you sign may not be considered a "contract" in legal definition, you are way more contracted by it than any other contract (except perhaps a mortgage or credit card agreement) you will ever sign. So, as with marriage itself, it is not the word itself that matters but rather what benefits or detriments you are tied to with the actual committment. Whatever it's called. So in that sense, a marriage is a contract. As David said, you cannot simply walk away from it.

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  • 257. At 9:56pm on 08 May 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #253. Gary_A_Hill: "David (#251) Your obsession over form and disinterest in learning anything of substance about the topic is argumentative pettifogging, in my opinion."

    Well, you're wrong! If two parties agree to do something and sign their names to it, then it's a contractual obligation - a contract, simple as that. I can't understand why you should think otherwise, unless you consider legally unmarried persons as married in the eyes of their family and/or religion. #256 bere54 (above) sees my point. Although their reasoning eludes me, same-gender couples want the (dubious) distinction of being contracted together in the eyes of the law; there are churches which will recognise their union in the eyes of a deity. However, at this moment, being legally recognised provides certain rights not otherwise available to them.

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  • 258. At 9:56pm on 08 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    bere54 (#256), now that's a thoughtful, substantive contribution to the discussion. I'll have think that over for a bit. In any case, however, marriage is sufficiently distinct from ordinary contracts that there is an entirely separate code to cover it. The contracts section of the civil code doesn't apply in any meaningful way.

    Thanks for the input.

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  • 259. At 10:21pm on 08 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    258, Gary

    There may be a separate code to cover it because it is much more serious than any other contract. The only thing I can think to equal it is the military contract. Either one of them can land you in jail if you violate the terms, although the terms of a marriage contract that can do this come after the dissolution of the original contract when the judge has perhaps forced you into a whole new contract stemming from the first with conditions (I refer here to child support payments) you either won't or can't fulfill.

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  • 260. At 11:59pm on 08 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 239 Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    "In fact, Pres. Obama has made this point explicitly."

    Well - good to see that he's reading this blog and taking my advice

    ;-)

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  • 261. At 00:02am on 09 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 262. At 00:10am on 09 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 255 MagicKirin wrote:

    "ref #252/Please define what you consider biased./will you accept major news networks or does have to be hated sights like the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos?"

    For those who've mislaid my handy guide, 'How To Speak Kirin'

    [a] 'hated sights' means 'Hate sites'

    [b] And 'Hate sites' means any website that is in any way liberal, left wing or in any way in disagreement with MagicKirin

    To answer your question for myself 'Magic', while I won't necessarily believe or agree with something reported in a reputable paper or by a 'major news network', I won't automatically dismiss it. Presuming of course the major news network makes some attempt to be fair and balanced. Which obviously excludes Fox.

    So - bring on the links.....

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  • 263. At 00:20am on 09 May 2009, seanspa wrote:

    JID, I would suggest that any links will do. I read a lot of slanted nonsense from Kos and Huff that is linked here but then do further research given at least some details. You may not like fox, but if the report gives you names, you can (and should) double check with organisations you are prepared to believe.

    So - bring on the links.....

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  • 264. At 00:30am on 09 May 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 243 David_Cunard wrote [to MagicKirin]

    "You can't toss around accusations without providing some kind of proof."

    I suggested at # 261 that, when it comes to accusations, tossing them around seems to be MagicKirin's usual practice - or words to that effect. The mods seem to have detected some unsuitability in my language.....

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  • 265. At 04:46am on 09 May 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    264, John-i-Dublin.

    Ubermensch (he uses an alias) has sucked you in. He doesn't care what the subject is, or if it makes sense. All he wants is to be the center of attention. Don't fall for it.

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  • 266. At 11:10pm on 09 May 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Bere & Gary & John.

    I'm not sure it is all that helpful to analogize marriage as a contract.
    It is in some respects, and it isn't in others.

    A successful marriage is based on trust and respect, and at some level equality.

    The problem is that human beings are, well, er, um, human beings.

    The opportunity for unconscionable behaviour is often very high in a marriage, and there is almost always inequality of bargaining power. Sometimes the inequality of bargaining power is stark, and that can lead to really quite horrendous injustice. The weaker party fears being thrown on the street. The weaker party fears a diminishment of lifestyle. The weaker party is afraid of being cut off from his or her children, or a web of social contacts or, or, or... and so the relationship can become exceedingly one sided and abusive. And it can be abusive in an almost infinite variety of ways. All of it stems from bad behaviour in the context of inequality of bargaining power.

    There is also the reluctance of the state to intervene in interpersonal relationships. I have only very limited patience with this kind of argument, but, historically, a man's home was his castle and under this rubric we have turned a blind eye to behaviour (pathologies, perhaps?) that would land you in jail if you tried it outside the home. (The same kind of blind-spot used to excuse drunk driving, smoking in public, or clearly deliberate attempts to injure in professional sports).

    Even now, if a spouse in an unequal marriage cannot afford effective legal assistance, they're really in a jam, and will have trouble obtaining the protection of the law other than for the most serious criminal abuse. A big deal was made about a case about parental alienation recently. It is an important case, for sure. But it only reached the Court of Appeal because the plaintiff was a Doctor, and spent more than ten years fighting. Imagine how much it must have cost! C$ 500,000? Most people don't have that kind of money.

    So we have this funny thing that is sort of like a contract, but really isn't, that is overlain with societal customs and taboos, for which the state has fairly elaborate means of public intervention, and which (in Ontario, Canada, at least) is covered by at least five major pieces of legislation, of which, of course, two are federal and the other three are provincial.

    Contract in the ordinary sense? No.

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  • 267. At 00:00am on 10 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    G&R (238),

    • "For the benefit of British readers of this blog, it is true that Jews were
      systematically discriminated against before WWII, but started to change
      in the 50s, and by the 60s they were well integrated into American society."
    There may have been "systematic discrimination" in some locales and segments of society, e.g. golf and country club membership, etc., but, long before WWII, Jews were "well integrated" into American society, as can be seen by perusing the list of signatories to this document from 1919:
    • "1. Congressman Julius Kahn, R-Ca.
      2. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau
      3. Simon Rosendale, Attny.General , State of NY, founder of the Jewish Publication Society.
      4. Simon Wolf, U.S. Consul in Egypt
      5. Max Senior, 1st Pres. National Conference of Jewish Charities
      6. Lee M. Friedman, attny, Boston Ma.
      7. Judge Seligman J. Strauss, Wilkes-Barre Pa.
      8. Dr. Morris Jastrow Jr., Professor of Semitic Languages, U.of Penn. & Librarian of the University.
      9. Rabbi Henry Berkowitz, 1st Sec. of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR - Reform Mvmt.)
      10. Rabbi David Philipson, founder and past pres. CCAR
      11. Edward Max Baker, Pres. Cleveland Stock Exchange
      12. Mayor L.H. Kempner, Galveston, Tx
      13. Jesse Isidor Strauss, Pres. Macy's, Ambassador to France
      14. E. Robert A. Seligman, Prof. Political Economy and Finance, Columbia U.
      15. Jacob H. Hollander, Prof. Economics Johns Hopkins U., Special Commissioner to Dom.Rep.(TR Roos.)
      16. Adolph Simon Ochs, publisher The New York Times
      17. Lessing Rosenthal, esq. trustee - Brookings Inst., Johns Hopkins U.
      18. Abraham Kochland, Boston Ma.
      19. Jacob R. Morse, esq. Boston Ma.
      20. Daniel Peixotto Hays esq., head of the NYC Municipal Civil Service Commission, member exec. committee UAHC, President of YMHA
      21. Louis Stern, Pres. Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, Pres. National Jewish Welfare Board
      22. Rabbi William Rosenau, Pres. CCAR, member board of governors HUC
      23. Rabbi Willaim Landsberg, Rochester, NY
      24. Judge M.C. Shloss, SF, Ca.
      25. Dr. Julius Rosenstein, Mt.Zion Hspt. SF. Ca
      26. Isiah Wolf Hellman, founder Union Trust Co., LA, Ca.
      27. Judge Josiah Cohen, Pittsburgh Pa.
      28. Judge Horace Stern, Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Pennsylvania.
      29. Julius Walter Freiberg, Past President UAHC
      30. Rabbi Abraham Simon, organizer of Nat.Conf. of Christians and Jews, past pres CCAR, founder Synagogue Council of America.
      31. Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, Distillery Owner, Louisville Kentucky and noted philanthropist
      ....."

    Note that the publisher of one of the most prestigious newspapers "of record" is included. The full list runs to over 300 prominent figures.

    Respect!
    ed

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  • 268. At 05:44am on 10 May 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    bere54 (#256), ok I've thought it over, and this is my conclusion:

    The term "marriage contract" may some rhetorical purpose, like Rousseau's use of "social contract," but "contract" its use is obsolete in a legal context since the introduction of no-fault divorce. Formerly, it was necessary to break the contract by alleging some breach of contract, such as infidelity. Nowadays, there is no adversarial proceeding to determine whether the marriage should end. When there are no children and when there is no real property, dissolution is so simple that couples can file the paperwork themselves, at least in some states. In fact, one spouse can literally "walk away" from the marriage, and the other can file the papers.

    What is difficult is settlement of property and child custody disputes. These matters are difficult whether married or not.

    In California, a "contract" is an agreement to do or to not do some specified thing. There is no such agreement for a marriage except the vows. When "until death do us part" had some legal force, this was the contract which needed to be terminated, but now it has no more legal significance than a vow to "love honor and obey." Would a court hear a suit asking for specific performance requiring one person to love another? No. Interestingly, though, there remains in a few states the legal notion of "alienation of affection." This is a claim made not against one's spouse, however, but against a third party. There is no contract there.

    There are some rights and duties that go along with the status of being married, without any specific agreement, written or oral. There are lots of areas of life in a civilized society to which right and duties attach, but we don't call them contracts except as part of the "social contract."

    So to summarize, I suppose you can call marriage a contract if you wish, but I see no utility in the concept. There are no conclusions you can draw from the term. If you can't claim breach of contract, or ask for specific performance or monetary damages in a court, then in what sense is it a contract?


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  • 269. At 11:52am on 10 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Bere, Gary,

    How about, "With all my worldly goods, I thee endow"?
    ;-)

    In Scotland, a verbal agreement (with or without handshake) can be a binding contract. Of course, in most marriages there are effectively teo contracts - the one he believes she has agreed to and the one she believes he has agreed to, and they are rarely totally congruent. ( have used gendered pronouns purely for the sake of convenience and clarity)

    Peace and Harmony
    ed

    "A man marries a woman, believing she'll never change, and a woman marries a man believing she can change him." Both are wrong.

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  • 270. At 1:32pm on 10 May 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Heloise - After my wedding ceremony, my mother remarked that she had never heard (not heard!) anyone promise to do less! Well, I consider myself an honest person, why agree (in the presence of a god who may or may not be there) to something I might have no intentions of doing! Sounds disingenuous to me..... "I never said that!"

    No starry eyed declaration of never-ending love - I'm not a fortune teller! Still together though, with a marriage contract signed before a Notary.

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  • 271. At 2:09pm on 10 May 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    #270 Is not the page I linked to, but the marriage contract is mentioned under - Divorce. Where the page is in that link, I have yet to find.

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  • 272. At 5:15pm on 10 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    270, timewaits

    That's a very impressive and daunting site anyway, even if it doesn't show the actual contract. I also signed a marriage contract but it was a Jewish one and as far as I know had no standing in civil law. It was not a standard Jewish marriage contract but rather custom-written because when I read the usual one (in English) I was appalled at what it required of me and its outdated language and told my husband there was no way I would sign such a thing, legal or not. I believe it required me to marry my brother-in-law if my husband should die! We got ourselves a reform rabbi who rewrote the contract to my specifications and also performed the marriage.

    (If you wonder why bother with the contract at all, my husband was very traditional in some ways and wanted some sort of ketubah [marriage contract] but didn't care what it said.)

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  • 273. At 5:25pm on 10 May 2009, bere54 wrote:

    267, Ed -

    Why does that document say the petition was presented "on behalf of the Zionist organization"? Is that an error in the original?

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  • 274. At 01:20am on 11 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    Bere (273),

    • "Is that an error in the original?"
    It seems so. the original (in pdf image form) is linked at the top here, and I noticed the apparent error when I faithfully copied the whole thing, but I typed it exactly as per the pdf - it was not for me to edit.

    It is clearly not "on behalf" of the Zionist Organisation. I suspect a typesetting or copyist error. A pretty damning and prescient piece, eh? If only we had heeded their warning...

    Peace and goodnight
    ed

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  • 275. At 01:35am on 11 May 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    FYI, The submission of the Zionist Organisation to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference is here, and it is there that I first learned of the statement linked above.

    Peace and goodnight (again)
    ed


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  • 276. At 8:13pm on 12 May 2009, CassidyG22 wrote:

    This is a list some of the most manipulative people in the public. I believe Oprah will find some way to use her position as a advertising scam. Yes she does a lot of good for people, yet I do feel she will find someway to brainwash the public. I believe most people that are in television are in it for the wrong reasons; therefore, I do not trust them. The same goes for Arnold. I live in California and all he knows how to do is raise taxes and spend money. I don't trust him either. Anyone who is good at pretending to be someone they're not (aka, an actor,) is someone who is a phony and a liar.
    -Cassidy
    San Fransisco, CA

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  • 277. At 3:14pm on 13 May 2009, MaasiesMess wrote:

    Oprah? Please...this woman (or whatever she is) couldn't find her rear-end with a flashlight! She has to have specialists on the show just to show her how to live properly!

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  • 278. At 09:23am on 22 May 2009, bfoulkrod1 wrote:

    It's sad to know that even the important life long appointment to our highest court has over the years been co-opted by attempts to stack the court with additional jurists (FDR), a president telling the court if it wanted to stop the trail of tears, it should raise its own army to stop me (Andrew Jackson), and the more disgustingly trivial attempts at using our highest court to further religious agendas.

    Now we've stooped to this...we're just lucky that, by and large, our justices have historically turned (at times) on their political mentors under the weight of their responsibility and have done their job.

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