Far from Safe

Radical pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave an interview to the New York Times over the weekend in which she discussed the recent ruling that overturned Texas’ law that required abortion facilities meet the same basic standards of health care that other outpatient surgical facilities would. The argument for overturning the law held that it would force the closure of the vast majority of abortion facilities in Texas.

“I wanted to highlight the point that it was perverse to portray this as protecting women’s health,” she said of the challenged requirements. “Desperate women then would be driven to unsafe abortions.”

Why were the only two options keeping open the facilities as they were or closure? What about the third option of making the facilities, you know, safe? Would we accept the same argument for hospitals in general? “We can’t require hospitals to follow basic medical standards for safety because they’ll have to close and people will go to witch doctors.”

When it comes to abortion every bit of common sense goes right out the window.

One Year After Obergefell

At the end of another disastrous Supreme Court term, one in which the judicial giant, Antonin Scalia, was lost, the Court handed down a terrible decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy that overturned Texas’ law that put abortion clinics under the same sort of regulations that other surgical clinics have to abide by. This sets back the cause of saving live of babies yet again and puts even more women at risk of another Kermit Gosnell mass murder situation.

It’s been a year since the end of the previous Supreme Court term, in which they disastrously created a constitutional right to marry someone of the same sex and so I wanted to revisit some of my thoughts from then to show how terrible the current bench is and why it’s so important we get better justices.

"In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were." – Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing in the majority opinion of the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

Yes, that's called "children". The whole point of the State protecting and promoting marriage was to protect and promote children, which are vital to the continuation of the State. But ever since we legalized contraception, divorce, and abortion, we've eroded the reason and meaning of civil marriage. So now we come to this: Marriage now exists to magnify the most important thing of all: The All-Glorious Me! And children, for many people–heterosexual and homosexual alike–exist for the same reason: to reflect on Me! and how they make Me! feel.

The State will soon issue each of us a reflecting pool in which we can gaze at ourselves to our heart's content while everything crumbles around us, unheeded.

(Yes, infertile unions are still valid civil marriages because they bear the potential and the meaning of childbearing. It's a complicated philosophical thought. Just turn on MSNBC and don't worry about it.)

Let’s also heap scorn on Justice Kennedy's purple prose at the end of his majority opinion: "Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness." Yep, that's right. Suddenly the US Constitution's job is to ensure that people aren't lonely.

It's not the Nanny State. It's the Yenta State, validating your love and making sure you aren't lonely.

By the way, I wonder how all those happily single people feel about being "condemned to live in loneliness."

Finally, a few quick thoughts:

  1. It’s time for the Church to get out of the civil marriage business. See the Justice of the Peace to get the legal document, then go to the church for the sacrament.
  2. Homosexuals make up less than 3% of the population of the US. It’s not going to be a large number of marriages. But be prepared for advertisers and Hollywood to have them show up everywhere.
  3. We lost this battle when no-fault divorce was legalized and with the acceptance “sweet mystery of life” clause (so-dubbed by Justice Antonin Scalia) in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, not coincidentally also written by Kennedy: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” By that way of thinking, anything at all is permissible.

Poof! Technology is Magic

A New York legislator is proposing a new law that would mandate the creation of a device, similar to a Breathalyzer, that instead of detecting blood-alcohol level instead analyzes mobile phones to determine if they were being used before a crash. He calls it the Textalyzer.

It would work like this: An officer arriving at the scene of a crash could ask for the phones of any drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating system to check for recent activity.

The technology could determine whether a driver had used the phone to text, email or do anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws, which prohibit drivers from holding phones to their ear. Failure to hand over a phone could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, similar to the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer.

Keep in mind, this device doesn’t yet exist, except as a prototype. Now, setting aside all the privacy and constitutional concerns–which are not insignificant–the fact is that this legislation is technologically unworkable. Despite the claims of the company creating the Textalyzer software, this is no simple task, if only because it has to work for every brand of mobile phone on the market. And has to keep up with every security update. And deal with increasing level of encryption. Not to mention sideloaded security apps that don’t go through the app store and designed specifically to defeat such measures.

Just because you can theoretically imagine a technology doesn’t mean that can be the basis for legislation. We don’t live in Star Trek and you don’t have Scotty/LaForge/O’Brien at your disposal to invent the solution by the end of the episode.

Nature of Religion to Be Decided in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has its own religious liberty case going before its highest court on Tuesday. The case involves the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette and the city of Attleboro. In 2012, the city declared that most of the shrine’s property, which includes wooded land, a conference center, gift shop, welcome center, and cafeteria, in addition to chapels and monastery, was not exempt from property tax because, in the town’s view, only buildings used for actual worship should be exempt. As Jeff Jacoby writes at the Boston Globe:

More is at stake in this dispute than a local Catholic shrine or Attleboro’s budget. The much deeper issue is this: Do religious organizations decide for themselves what they require for their devotional and educational missions, or do municipal tax authorities decide for them?

This is also at the heart of the Obama administration’s fight with the Little Sisters of the Poor, among others.

It isn’t only in pews and with prayerbooks that houses of God fulfill their role. Charity drives and interfaith dialogue, youth retreats and blood drives, marital counseling and religious bookstores — far from being peripheral to a church’s religious purpose, they often go to its essence. In the words of one Unitarian Universalist congregation: “The church has left the building.” That is what churches are supposed to do, and why Attleboro’s tax-grab must be rolled back.

Under the First Amendment, who gets to decide what constitutes the religion we are free to practice? And does the First Amendment protect our right to live out our religious beliefs or just merely or ability to engage in worship?

Is the Obama admin just saving face over iPhone unlock?

The Justice Department on Monday, on the same day Apple made a public defense of its refusal to create a hole in the security of iOS, asked a federal judge to put a halt to a hearing scheduled for Tuesday to demand the iPhone unlock hack. The Obama administration suggested that a third-party had come forward with a possible means to break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino jihadi terrorist.

“Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone,” the Justice Department wrote in the filing. “If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple.”

Farook’s iPhone has a four-digit PIN that is preventing the iPhone unlock. The FBI are afraid the setting to erase the phone after a number of unsuccessful tries was activated, and want Apple to engineer a version of the operating system that could be slipstreamed onto the phone that would let them try all 10,000 possible combinations automatically without triggering a wipe. Apple has said that creating such a security hole would open the door to others figuring it out including criminals, would make every iPhone less secure against attack and hack, and would set a precedent that could allow less savory governments of other countries to demand similar access to an iPhone unlock hack.

This is interesting timing on the Justice Department’s part. I’m skeptical about this supposed third-party iPhone unlock hack. Perhaps they have seen the tide of public open shift against then. Perhaps they’re afraid of setting a judicial precedent if the case goes against them. I won’t be surprised if this case sinks out of the public eye, never to re-surface again.

Texas judge sees “no legitimate reason” to uphold marriage

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And so judicial fiat continues to overturn and overrule the will of the people as expressed through direct referendum and legislative action. A federal judge in Texas has struck down the state’s law that upheld the traditional definition of marriage. His reasoning was especially specious, as he claimed that “Texas’ current
marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity
for no legitimate reason.”

No legitimate reason. How about the reason that marriage is by definition between one man and one woman? And that if the state has any interest in legally recognizing marriage that it has a compelling interest in upholding its traditional definition as an underpinning of society for the procreation and upbringing of children, not to recognize the love between people or to uphold dignity or advance some cause.

Judge Garcia takes cover from the Supreme Court’s United States v Windsor decision which held that restricting the defintion of marriage and spouse to mean actual marriage and actual husband and wife as opposed to anything we damn well want to define them as is an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. However, even Garcia notes that “Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today.” Yet, he doesn’t let that stand in his way.

In fact, Garcia claims that Texas’ constitutional amendment is “without a rational relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose” because the state’s lawyers failed to show how same-sex marriage affects real marriages. What it affects is children who are deprived of a mother and father. What it does is continue to codify the idea that marriage isn’t necessarily about creating stable families. (We can thank legalized divorce for starting that trend.)

What his little phrase reminds me of is what Justice Antonin Scalia calls “the sweet mystery of life” clause in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that defeated our best chance in a generation to overturn Roe v. Wade in 1992: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Once you open that door, you allow anything. If I can define my own concept of existence, then any old thing we want to do becomes justified, consequences, history, biology, and law be damned. Be very afraid of where this trend will take in the next couple of decades because we’re becoming a country that my grandparents, never mind the Founding Fathers, would no longer recognize.

My half-joking reaction is to say that I hope Texas secedes before they’re successful in completely turning it into a carbon copy of all the rest of the states that are being turned into socially engineered liberal wastelands.

Don’t Ding Best Buy for “God Squad” order

By now you may have heard the news reports about a Milwaukee priest who received the cease-and-desist order from Best Buy because his VW Beetle has a logo on it that says “God Squad” and looks an awful lot like Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” logo.

Most people I’ve seen have criticized Best Buy for being a big bully cracking down on a priest just trying to do his part in spreading the Word of God. But I’m not quite so ready to ding Best Buy completely. Now, I’m not necessarily a fan of the store. I don’t think much of their customer service or of their heavy-handed hard-sell of extended warranties. And I’ve heard horror stories of Geek Squad technicians rooting around in people’s private files while repairing computers.

However, in this case, Best Buy is only doing what a flawed trademark law requires it to do: protect its trademarks.

“This was a really difficult thing for us to do because we appreciate what Father Strand is trying to accomplish with his mission. But at the end of the day, it’s bad precedent to let some groups violate our trademark while pursuing others,” [Paula Baldwin, senior manager for public relations at Best Buy] said in an e-mail.

In fact, it’s not just bad precedent. They have to do it. I’m no lawyer, but it’s my understanding that if they don’t defend the trademark in all circumstances, then can lose the right to it. Just ask the owners of all these genericized trademarks about the need to defend.

Moreover, Best Buy is also apparently working with the priest to come up with a new logo that doesn’t infringe the Geek Squad trademark, while also accomplishing the goal of evangelization. I think that’s a pretty good solution. In this case, I don’t think Best Buy deserves the slings and arrows.

 

Overaggressive prosecution in illegal alien case?

I was away when this hit the newspapers, but it’s still timely. A federal judge in Boston was furious with prosecutors at a sentencing hearing for filing felony charges in the conviction of someone hiring an illegal alien as a maid, instead of the usual misdemeanor. He called their handling of the case “aggressive and overreaching.”

“It was a cleaning lady,” U.S. District court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock said of the Brazilian maid hired by Lorraine Henderson. “A cleaning lady. Not Al Capone.”

I might agree with the judge, except for one thing: The defendant in this case is Lorraine Henderson, who at the time was an official with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection service and the regional director of the unit charged with keeping illegal aliens from entering this country through air and seaports in New England. She was convicted in March of one count of encouraging or inducing an illegal alien.

It would be one thing if the defendant were an average Joe who hired an illegal alien or even, as in this case, encouraged them to evade the law to remain an illegal in their employ. But it’s another thing when the high-ranking government official, entrusted by the people of this nation to enforce those very same immigration laws, undermines them herself and fails in her sworn duty to uphold them.

In this case, I think Judge Woodlock may be out of line. Could the prosecutors have filed for a lesser charge? Yes. But they didn’t because an egregious abuse of power demands higher accountability. Which a jury of Henderson’s peers apparently agreed with in March. Judge Woodlock better leave his outrage at the door, because it’s his job to enforce the law impartially as well.

 

“Hate” speech code removed from bullying bill

I wrote a couple of days ago about an anti-bullying bill coming before the Massachusetts Senate that contained unrelated language adding “hate speech” about sexual orientation to the legal definition of libel. If passed, it could conceivably have opened up ordinary folks writing on web sites and in other places (people like me, in other words) to being used for holding Catholic views on homosexuality.

Fortunately, the offending language was removed just before the vote when the bill was re-written by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The new bill, S2313, does not have any of the libel language in it.The bill, which passed unanimously, now goes back to the House for another vote.

Thanks to MassResistance for sounding the warning on this one.

 

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