Day: 2014.06.06

A Fairly Clear Explanation of Justice

Having reviewed the parties’ and amici’s filings, I am granting plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and denying defendants’ motion to dismiss because I conclude that the Wisconsin laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex coupels interfere with plaintiffs right to marry, in violation of the due process clauses, and discriminate against plaintiffs on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the equal protection clause.

WisconsinIn reaching this decision, I do not mean to disparage the legislators and citizens who voted in good conscience for the marriage amendment. To decide this case in favor of te plaintiffs, it is not necessary, as some have suggested, to “cast all those who cling to traditional beliefs in the role fo bigots or superstitious fools,” United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2717-18 (2013) (Alito, J., dissenting), or “adjudg[e] those who oppose [same-sex marriage] … enemies of the human race.” Id. at 2709 (Scalia, J., dissenting). Rather, it is necessary to conclude only that the state may not intrude without adequate justification on certain fundamental decisions made by individuals and that, when the state does impose restrictions on these important matters, it must do so in an even-handed manner.

This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion, whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged. It is not even about whether the plaintiffs in this case are as capable as opposite-sex couples of maintaining a committed and loving relationship or raising a family together. Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution.

Judge Barbara B. Crabb

(From the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, 6 June 2014, Wolf et al. v. Walker et al.)

Beyond Silly

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Steve Benen brings a setup certain to evoke an exasperated groan:

Former Sen. Bill Frist’s tenure as Senate Majority Leader is perhaps best known for an unfortunate misstep. In 2005, the Tennessee Republican weighed in on the controversy surrounding Terri Schiavo, declaring that he, as a heart surgeon, could make a reliable medical diagnosis about the brain-damaged woman by watching a brief video filmed by the patient’s family.

Yeah, we know. The punch line for that will suck regardless of what it actually says:

Coburn talked to CNN’s Dana Bash late yesterday, telling her that he’s convinced that Bergdahl “had been drugged … either with an anti-psychotic or hypnotic drug.” The Oklahoma Republican said his diagnosis is “obviously” true and was “easy” to make.

Coburn added that it’s “not at all” possible that Bergdahl was sick. The released prisoner’s “physical health,” the senator told Bash, “is fine.”

Just to drive the point home, the far-right Oklahoman, an obstetrician gynecologist by trade, went on to argue, “I’m speaking as a doctor, yeah.”

It seems the sort of plot twist that is also a bit of an extraneous twist of the knife. A prisoner of war has been released, and the president’s opponents will say all manner of ridiculous things, including the proposition that Sgt. Bergdahl ought to be convicted without trial in order to justify criticisms of securing his release. It was one thing when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) undertook his usual acrobatics and contortions, but what happened next really was rather undignified.

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