OBERGEFELL AND THE RIGHT TO DIGNITY

Supreme Court Below is my column today in the Washington Post on the ruling in Obergefell on the basis for the Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Due to limitations on space, I could not go into great depth in the opinion which primarily dealt with the notion of the “right to dignity.” The Court did not pursue an equal protection analysis beyond the following highly generalized statement:

The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always coextensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. In any particular case one Clause may be thought to capture the essence of the right in a more accurate and comprehensive way,even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right.

Since the Court did not substantially address whether homosexuals are a protected class or the other Equal Protection line of cases, the opinion appears to craft a right around the inherent right of self-expression and dignity in intimate affairs. That is very appealing to many in the expansion of due process concepts, but the column explores what it portends for future rights.

Here is the Sunday column:

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State Department Confirms That Over Two Dozen Emails On Clinton Server Are Now Considered Classified

225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropWe have previously discussed the series of scandals in Washington where powerful individuals have been spared serious sanctions for acts where ordinary people have faced long and unrelenting prosecution. (here) It is part of America’s Animal Farm system where some individuals are more equal than others. That concern is even greater this week with the combination of the disclosure that Hillary Clinton did use a personal email system for classified communications and most media outlets appear to be ignoring the obvious import of that fact.

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Give Me a P, Give Me an A, Give Me a Y . . . NFL Owners Facing Legislation To Force Minimum Wage For Cheerleaders

220px-Buffalo_Jills_during_national_anthem_at_pre-season_game_8-28-08It often seems that a day cannot go by without finding something to truly hate about the NFL. Despite being a football (and Bears) fan, I have long found the NFL itself to operate just slightly above the level of the Barbary Pirate kingdoms. We can add the abusive treatment of cheerleaders. California this month moved to become the first state to require that cheerleaders be paid minimum wage by teams. While lawyers have long insisted that they already qualify for such pay, some NFL teams have been pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars while paying cheerleaders either nothing or the equivalent of $5 an hour. The “Buffalo Jills” for example were paid nothing. Nothing by a time that featured them and pulled in millions for televised games.

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LSU Professor Terminated After Her Use Of Foul Language And Bawdy Joke Found To Be Form Of Sexual Harassment

558b570d01b12.imageThere is an interesting academic controversy out of Louisiana State University where Professor Teresa Buchanan, who specializes in early childhood education and trains elementary school teachers, has been fired for creating what university administrators describe as a “hostile learning environment” that amounted to sexual harassment. However, the crux of the charges appears to be Buchanan’s use of foul language and bawdy jokes. The question is why (as recommended by the faculty committee) Buchanan was not simply reprimand or censured for such violations as opposed to fired.

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Australian Mining Minister Pledges To Block Protection For Millions of Fragile Lands If It Would Limit Mining

Marmion,+Bill+(web+small)170px-Iron_hydroxide_precipitate_in_streamWe have been discussing the horrific environmental record of the administration of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. This includes the decision to dump millions of tons of waste into the Great Barrier Reef. The move that led to international outcry including official condemnation from UNESCO. Much of the criticism has been directed at Abbott putting industry officials in charge of environmental decision-making with predictable results. This week saw the latest such controversy after Western Australia mining minister, Bill Marmion (left) declared categorically that official protection of the Great Western Woodlands, the largest remaining temperate woodlands in the world, will not be supported if it impinges on mining. Period.

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Paul Begala Under Fire After Disclosure Of Emails To Clinton Aides On Talking Points

220px-Paul_Begala_by_Gage_Skidmore225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropThe email controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton continues to grow but there is one aspects that is less of a problem for her as it is for one of her allies, Paul Begala. Begala is shown in email seeking directions or talking points from the State Department on what to say about one of Clinton’s speeches and then writes back to tell Clinton aides that he gave her an “A+.” Such talking points are common in Washington but the email forces the practice into the open and raises the question about independence of commentators, even in today’s formula conservative-liberal/democratic-republican casting. People like Begala are supposed to be crushingly predictable in blindly support one side of the formula casting, so it is hardly surprising to see such scripting or shaping. However, some have asked about the propriety of a CNN commentator who appears to be so closely coordinated with a political figure like Clinton even on his impressions of her skills as a speaker. It was an ironic twist from a commentator who declared national that “voters to not give a sh**” about the Clinton emails.

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NBC Dumps Trump Over Controversial Illegal Immigration Remarks [UPDATED]

Donald_Trump_March_2015220px-nbc_logosvgThis is truly painful since I am neither a fan of Donald Trump or beauty pageants, but here it is: Is it possible that the actions taken against not just Donald Trump but his business associations are excessive? NBC has issued a statement that it will no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants and that Trump will no longer participate in “The Celebrity Apprentice.” (Univision previously banned the pageant as did Televise. Mexico swore not to send its contestant to the pageant). Now many people have long advocated a Dump the Trump position because they view him as an obnoxious self-caricature. However, NBC is now dropping its association with Trump because he said highly negative things about border illegal aliens at a political event. [Now Macy’s has joined the corporate Dump Trump movement]

One could understand dropping a personality from a show like “The Celebrity Apprentice” over public comments, but the network is shooting shows that are connected Trump’s business interests. It seems odd to pull the plug on the Miss USA and Miss Universe contestants solely because the events is connected financially to someone who has controversial political views. The Miss USA contestants expected to appear on NBC on July 12 from Baton Rouge. The network has aired the program for the last 11 years.

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