Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hillary Hovers and Hedges


Hillary Clinton will surely have a states-rights problem come the campaign for Prez. The clearest evidence of that is in — of all subjects — same-sex marriage.

This should certainly be a Dem gimme. Many GOP pols, including Presidental hopefuls, have chosen to admit defeat here. While the deft and delusional keep at it, half of Republican bigs accept it's  a done deal. On the other side, many Dems pushed for marriage equality and get to claim the high ground with the recent, very recent, sweeping victories. Plus, the SCOTUS seems poised to mandate nationwide marriage equality this summer.

So it's all too obvious that she should join the victory lap, even though she only stepped into the race in the last few yards. Instead, she stupidly clings to her adopted Southern heritage of states rights. That's a bad sign in several ways. Not only is that no longer relevant to this particular issue. It also puts her at odds with most Dem and independent voters, most notably those her daughter's age and younger. Moreover, it reflects poorly on what we might expect in policy should she become President.

You can check for yourself. Start with last June's interview by Terry Gross on NPR. While Gross fairly demanded that Clinton admit she'd been wrong on marriage equality, only changing for expedience, Clinton would have none of it. Much has been made of her continuing defensive posture

Yet lost in the personal here, Clinton's statements on states rights are astounding. Consider from that interview:
.... So for me, marriage had always been a matter left to the states. And in many of the conversations that I and my colleagues and supporters had I fully endorsed the efforts by activists to work state by state. And in fact that is what is working.... And then leaving that (Secretary of State) position I was able to very quickly announce that I was fully in support of gay marriage. And that it is now continuing to succeed state by state. I am very hopeful that we will make progress and see even more change and acceptance...

There you have it, politics fans. As late as the middle of last year, she wanted it all ways. Moreover, she based it on states rights. We know historically how incredibly poorly that works for civil rights.

There is, of course, the personal irony here of her upbringing. From Illinois and then to undergrad in MA and law in CT, she didn't get to the states-rights turf until she was nearly 30. While she and future husband Bill Clinton dates at Yale Law, she didn't agree to marry him until she moved with him to Arkansas when she was 28. 

States rights have been and continue to be big in AR. When her hubby was Gov. then President Clinton, he played the let-the-states-decide card many times. She has been in tune.

So there you have it. Come the SCOTUS decision, she'll be able to do the cliché of it's settled law. Yet I suspect she'll continue by adding unnecessarily that she would have preferred if the states individually could continue to legislate marriage to suit each.

We deserve a President with more courage and vision and, well, morality. The correct answer is, "I support this and we are doing this because it is right." If she feels the need to waffle on such important and fundamental issues, she should stifle it. 



Monday, February 09, 2015

Aw, do you need some attention, Roy Moore?


Looking for the dummies and crazies, we invariably find them in the same states — Idaho, Utah, and of course the likes of Mississippi and Alabama. The once and now again Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Stewart Moore is at it and as loony as ever.

Apparently unchasted at having been removed from office in 2003, he's doing pretty much the same. Back then, he had commissioned a Ten Commandments display at a court house and then refused to let it be removed when federal courts ruled it was unconstitutional. Now he's done the same with same-sex marriage.

He ordered judges not to issue licenses to gay couples, in defiance of federal court rulings.

[If you really can't believe his arrogance and stupidity, start with his Wikipedia article. It has about 50 footnotes and external links to let you check truth and knowledge.]]

This time though, in his late Sunday night ruling, Moore showed a glimmer of restraint. He ford not threaten direct punishment to any judges who do issue licenses. Instead, he orders them to obey Alabama one-man/one-woman law, despite the federal overrides, and writes that seeing they do so falls on the governor of the state.

To ensure the orderly administration of justice
within the State of Alabama, to alleviate a situation
adversely affecting the administration of justice within
the State, and to harmonize the administration of justice
between the Alabama judicial branch and the federal
courts in Alabama:
 
Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State
of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama
Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license
that is inconsistent with Article 1, Section 36.03, of
the Alabama Constitution or § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975.
 
Should any Probate Judge of this state fail to
follow the Constitution and statutes of Alabama as
stated, it would be the responsibility of the Chief
Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, Governor
Robert Bentley, in whom the Constitution vests "the
supreme executive power of this state," Art. V, § 113,
Ala. Const. 1901, to ensure the execution of the law.
"The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully
executed."

As has been his wont, he plays political cards. He's showing he will take a lowest-common-denominator position as he perceives it. He also shows he no respect for law or the legal process.

This has served him both poorly and well. He was removed from office for his previous shenanigans. Undeterred, he tried running for higher office. He failed in several attempts to become governor and once tried with no public interest in running for POTUS.

However, the people did re-elect him as head of the state's high court. That surely is proof we should judges for their experience, expertise and integrity, and not elect them.

We have the intertwined issues of anti-gay sentiment, anti-federalism and of course the rawer states rights ones. As in so many other states that passed one-man/one-woman laws or amendments, Alabama seems to enjoy the sentiment that outsiders can't tell them what to do.

While it's true that outsiders, even federal courts and Congress can't tell tell them what to think, what to do can be another matter.

Monday AM: MSNBC has been doing legwork here. It reports most probate judges will follow federal ruling, not Moore's caprice. Plus the anti-gay Liberty Counsel folk are stirring the pot, representing judges who follow Moore and claiming those judges don't have to follow federal rulings.
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