Thursday, August 19, 2010

Respecting Ground Zero

Mark Fiore's take on the Muslim Community Center:

But around Ground Zero, there already is a mosque or two in the area, Masjid Mosque on Warren St--since 1970 and Masjid Al Farah, on West Broadway.

But if we are really talking about respect--what of all the bars, the cheap stuff stores, the strip club?
The fact that the 9/11 responders health bill that did not pass?
That we are disrespecting the colonists, founders and the Constitution's Bill of Rights when we try to limit (or impose) religion.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Activist Justices

The so-called activist justices, Judges Walker and Bolton, are just doing their jobs: upholding the constitution. In both of the cases in front of the judges--same sex marriage in California and immigration in Arizona the critical constitutional amendment was the 14th.
Judge Walker's decision declared California's Prop 8 unconstitutional because it denied equal protection and due process to lesbians and gay men who were seeking to marry. His decision also stated that making laws based on disgust/morality have little standing. But that's another post.
Judge Bolton temporarily struck down Arizona's immigration law, because States do not "do" immigration, immigration is the purview of the Federal government (Federalism 101) and it is the federal government that declares who are citizens--again the 14th amendment.

The 14th Amendment in its entirety follows,but the crucual section for both laws that were struck down is Section 1.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Here is another article on activist justices:

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Law, Marriage & Morality

Judge Walker issued his finding that Proposition 8 which rescinded same sex marriage in California was unconstitutional yesterday*. The ruling was based on due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution's Bill of Rights. He also said
"Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians.The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples." (P.135)

The decision will most likely be appealed to the 9th Circuit, and then potentially on to the Supreme Court.

Some might find that the decision has one troubling aspect: it denies the result of citizens' votes and majority rule. But we do have to remember tht the majority is not always right: slavery? segregation? miscegnation?



Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hot Air (not a weather report)

The last thing we need this summer is more hot air, yet that is exactly what many esteemed members of congress--Senators Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina),and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), among others-- seem to be blowing off regarding immigration. The latest is a call to repeal or at least change the opening sentence of the 14th amendment to exclude children born to non-US citizens or birthright citizenship.

The opening sentence of the 14th amendment reads:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

This call for repeal or amendment is an election year ploy. Even Lou Dobbs, who leads the charge for strong immigration laws is against this action. He told Fox News: "We have a law in which they become American citizens for being born here. If you’re going to insist upon the rule of law and order—and I do—I have to insist that we recognize these anchor babies as US citizens."

The 14th amendment, adopted in 1868, was the first time that the Constitution defined citizen, to ensure that former slaves, among others, would be citizens. BTW, the amendment was promoted and passed by Republicans to help ensure the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (my, how times have changed!).

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