Patterico's Pontifications

8/14/2010

Starting with Chapter Two

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Current Events — Jack Dunphy @ 9:33 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

“When you don’t win an argument on the merits, change the subject. That seems to be the favorite tactic of groups opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

So begins an op-ed piece, “Lose the ruling, attack the judge,” in Friday’s Los Angeles Times. The column was written by Jon W. Davidson, the legal director of Lambda Legal, the organization that brought the federal lawsuit attacking California’s Proposition 8, so it comes as no surprise that it supports U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to rule the proposition unconstitutional.

But note where Davidson chooses to begin his timeline, rather like picking up a book and starting with chapter two. I recall there being an election some time ago, one in which a majority of California voters — for the second time — made known their preference to define marriage as it has been understood for thousands of years.

I propose an alternative opening for the column, one that more accurately reflects the sequence of events: “When you don’t win the argument at the ballot box, as indeed advocates for homosexual marriage have failed to win in even a single instance in the 31 times they’ve tried, take the campaign to the more accommodating venue of the courtroom. There, a lone judge, blessed with finely attuned senses denied to both his predecessors and the ignorant proles of the voting public, can discover a constitutional right that mysteriously remained undetected through all our nation’s history. That seems to be the favorite tactic of groups advocating for same-sex marriage.”

–Jack Dunphy

Greg Sargent: Obama’s Unqualified Support for the Ground Zero Mosque Is a Defining Moment for His Presidency, and Shows the Kind of Courage that Proves . . . Huh? He Said What Now?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 pm

Comedy gold at the Washington Post:

One of the finest moments of Obama’s presidency

A few quick thoughts about Obama’s forceful speech yesterday expressing strong support for Cordoba House, which will go down as one of the finest moments of his presidency.

Obama didn’t just stand up for the legal right of the group to build the Islamic center. He voiced powerful support for their moral right to do so as well, casting it as central to American identity. This is a critical point, and it goes to the the essence of why his speech was so commendable.

Many opponents of the project have been employing a clever little dodge. They say they don’t question the group’s legal right to build it under the Constitution. Rather, they say, they’re merely criticizing the group’s decision to do so, on the grounds that it’s insensitive to 9/11 families and will undercut the project’s goal of reconciliation. The group has the right to build the center, runs this argument, but they are wrong to exercise it. In response, Obama could have merely cast this dispute as a Constitutional issue, talked about how important it is to hew to that hallowed document, and moved on.

But Obama went much further than that. He asserted that we must “welcome” and “respect” those of other faiths, suggesting that the group behind the center deserves the same, and said flat out that anything less is un-American . . . .

. . . .

Obama issued this statement in the full knowledge that his opponents have been itching for him to wade into this battle. . . . Yet Obama entered the fray anyway, in dramatic fashion, asserting that our identy [sic] rests on “our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us.” . . . . [T]his couldn’t have come at a better time for Obama. His core supporters, frustrated, were badly in need of a display of presidential spine. They got one.

Ultimately, though, Obama’s speech transcends the politics of the moment, and will go down as a defining and perhaps even a breakthrough performance. Obama recognized that this dispute is a seminal one that goes to the core of our running argument about pluralism and minority rights and to the core of who we are. He understood that the gravity of the moment required an equally large and momentous response. And he delivered.

UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Did Obama really walk back his support for the project?

D’OH!

Obama: I Wasn’t Saying It’s Wise to Put a Mosque at Ground Zero

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:29 pm

The courageous Barry O.:

I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding.

Right. As I said last night, you were ducking the tough question to expound on the easy one.

I wonder why he didn’t say this last night?

Brad Friedman’s Latest ACORN Falsehoods

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:13 pm

Last seen trying (unsuccessfully) to get me fired for calling him on his lies, Brad Friedman resurfaces today (no links for liars!) to mischaracterize yesterday’s decision on ACORN funding:

The appellate court determined that Congress can target a specific group for punishment . . .

Oh, really?! The appellate court approvingly quoted a past decision saying the precise opposite:

We therefore hold that corporations must be considered individuals that may not be singled out for punishment under the Bill of Attainder Clause.

What the court actually said was that defunding ACORN does not constitute punishment:

[W]e doubt that the direct consequences of the appropriations laws temporarily precluding ACORN from federal funds are “so disproportionately severe” or “so inappropriate” as to constitute punishment per se. . . . In sum, the plaintiffs have failed to show that the appropriations laws constitute “punishment” under the functional test. . . . Nor is the legislative record sufficient to demonstrate “punishment” cumulatively with the historical and functional tests of punishment analyzed above.

If one did not have Friedman’s history of deception as a guidepost, one might call Friedman’s mischaracterization a mistake, born of some combination of laziness and poor reading skills.

But we do have that history. So there you go.


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