"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, January 19, 2015

Maddow on The Supreme Court and Marriage

Fairly lengthy segment, but worth watching:

There's at last one small factual error in the report -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, and either Vermont or New Hampshire (or maybe both) instituted same-sex marriage by state court decisions, not federal. Maine, Maryland, and Washington State accomplished it by referendum, New Mexico had never limited marriage to opposite sex couples -- that was another state court decision -- while the rest of the pre-Windsor marriage states established SSM through legislative action.

But the big, gray, smelly elephant in the room is the substance of the 6th Circuit decision itself and the way in which the Supreme Court framed its order: the majority opinion from the 6th did not address the Equal Protection or Due Process arguments. The best analysis is the dissenting opinion by Martha Craig Daughtrey:

The author of the majority opinion has drafted what would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introductory lecture in Political Philosophy. But as an appellate court decision, it wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question in this appeal: whether a state’s constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage violates equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, the majority sets up a false premise—that the question before us is “who should decide?”—and leads us through a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism. In point of fact, the real issue before us concerns what is at stake in these six cases for the individual plaintiffs and their children, and what should be done about it. Because I reject the majority’s resolution of these questions based on its invocation of vox populi and its reverence for “proceeding with caution” (otherwise known as the “wait and see” approach), I dissent.

Frankly, I'm disappointed in Maddow for this episode. She usually manages to address the real issues, which I outlined here; this one looks like no more than jumping on the "What is the Court going to do?" bandwagon.

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