Sunday, March 22, 2015
Puerto Rico Sees the Light
To the extent that Commonwealth law does not afford homosexual couples the same rights and entitlements that heterosexual couples enjoy, the Commonwealth recognizes that equal protection and substantive due process guarantees mandate application of heightened scrutiny in this case. Under said heightened standard, the Commonwealth cannot responsibly advance before this Court any interest sufficiently important or compelling to justify the differentiated treatment afforded so far to Plaintiffs.The brief essentially concedes that the Supreme Court's 1972 summary dismissal of the appeal in Baker v. Nelson, from the Minnesota Supreme Court that had ruled that a state law limiting marriage to persons of the opposite sex did not violate the U.S. Constitution, on the grounds that the case did not raise “a substantial federal question,” is no longer controlling. It then goes on to state:
Once Baker’s jurisdictional barrier is removed, it follows from recent doctrinal developments in this area of law that government regulations that affect people based on their sexual orientation cannot withstand constitutional attacks under the Equal Protection Clause unless they seek to further, at the very least, an important state interest by means that are substantial related to that interest. Since Puerto Rico’s Civil Code distinguishes based on sexual orientation and/or gender, and Plaintiffs meet all of the criteria that make up a suspect or quasi-suspect classification, we believe that judicial precedent compels this Court to apply some form of heightened scrutiny under which the Commonwealth cannot prevail.I don't think any legal scholar believes that same-sex marriage bans can survive a heightened scrutiny examination under the Fourteenth Amendment. For all intents and purposes, the Commonwealth is conceding its ban is unconstitutional.
The Commonwealth does request, “in light of the fact that the Supreme Court granted certiorari in consolidated cases [where the Sixth Circuit upheld such bans],” that the First Circuit postpone “oral argument in this case until a decision on the merits has been reached on the cases before the highest court,” in the interest of saving judicial resources, since it is reasonably certain that “the dispositive issue or issues [may] have been authoritatively decided” by the Supreme Court at that time. It will be interesting to see what the First Department will do with that request. It would be hard pressed to hold oral arguments and have a decision issued before the end of June, when the Supreme Court is expected to rule. But the Circuit Judges might just want to their 2 cents worth in before then.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Venus Di Wacko
Rev. Dr. Michael T Santini’s work as an Aerospace Engineer and Pastor has given him unique authority to access both sides of the religion vs. science debate. In “Venus: Don't Go There: What Science and Religion Reveal about Life after Death,” Santini calls on unambiguous evidence that points toward Venus as a prime candidate for hell (the lake of fire); urging all readers to accept the provision made by Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.I haven't a clue what the last clause of the last sentence is supposed to mean … but does it matter?
For most, heaven, Hades, and hell are nothing more than abstract ideas that exist outside the space-time continuum. However, fusing his experience in Aerospace Engineering with his passionate work as a Pastor, Dr. Santini has discovered that these places actually exist in material form – and are shocking close. ...Uh huh!
Where do the unrighteous go after death? What is the plight of the guilty after the Day of Judgment? Are places like heaven, hell, and the lake of fire physical locations in the universe? Biblically based and scientifically reasoned answers to these questions, and more, lead to uncovering the planet Venus as the final place for perdition. ...
Correlation between the Holy Scriptures and the sciences can work together to provide reasonable and meaningful truths. Through interdisciplinary study, the author determines the ultimate destiny for unsaved humanity to be within the solar system, while providing a unique perspective to life after death. …
"My book makes public, for the first time, the huge amount of scientific and scriptural evidence that exists on similarities between Venus and perdition as described in the Bible. I spent three years diligently researching, writing and editing this volume, and it presents a new perspective on life after death, particularly for the plight of the guilty. We now need to consider the Bible as truthful, and use these new discoveries to better shape and understand the future."
Friday, March 13, 2015
Sometimes Persistence Is No Virtue
Well, Kent Hovind has done it again.
He's been convicted of one of the four Federal charges brought against him. Appropriately enough, the charge was “contempt of court.” It might just as well have been contempt of law.
Hovind was already in this mess because he had contempt for the law in the form of refusing to pay taxes for a completely insane reason. Not merely content with finagling on his taxes, he refused to pay any tax because, he claimed, he took a vow of poverty as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and, therefore, owns nothing and receives no income and all of his needs are taken care of by the ministry. Along the way, he filed a bogus bankruptcy case in an attempt to keep the IRS from levying on some of his property, in the course of which he threatened to sue an IRS agent for doing her job and claimed that as a minister of God everything he owns belongs to God and he is not subject to paying taxes to the United States on the money he receives for doing God's work.
Hovind continued to refuse to pay taxes and the charges were brought that he was convicted of in 2006 that eventually got him a 10 year sentence. That was a rather heavy sentence but probably came about because, while he was in jail awaiting sentence, he somehow failed to notice signs on the phones he was using to make eight hours of calls a week that warned that the conversations are recorded. The tapes were played for the judge at Hovind's sentencing hearing. During those calls he not only displayed no remorse whatsoever but vowed to "make life miserable" for the IRS and to keep suing the government to promote his “theory” that he's tax-exempt.
That brings us to the latest charges against Hovind, which involved his filing legal documents calling into question the IRS' right to sell some of his real estate (after he had been ordered by a court to stop doing so) in an attempt to stop or delay the sale.
At every step of this sorry tale, Hovind has shown utter contempt for American law and courts. At his sentencing this June I suspect he will get near the maximum allowed under Federal guidelines.
As his wife said during one of those phone calls "I'm sorry, but I don't get it."
Update: I don't do criminal law, much less Federal criminal law, but Peter Reilly, who blogs on tax matters for Forbes, posted on his personal blog, Your Tax Matters Partner, that the guidelines indicate a sentence of 21 to 27 months and a possibility that they could go as high as 31 to 37 months. The criminal law expert Reilly consulted felt that, although the judge is not bound by these guidelines, under the circumstances of this case, she probably would adhere to them.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Triffids Are Easy!
But my favorite was from good ol’ reliable Mike Huckabee, who complained about how the left seeks to “impose” its “secular values” on conservative Christians while, on the other hand, conservative Christians do not want to impose their views on anybody [boggle!]:
“We’re never going to be fully understood by people on the secular left,” Huckabee said. “They don’t want to understand us, they want to ridicule us, they want to hold us in contempt, they want to hold us up to scorn and so they’re going to because we represent a direct threat to their worldview. If there really is an alternative to the secularist’s mind and we can articulate it, defend it and do it in a way that even can be intellectually defensible, then that’s a direct threat to their worldview.”Considering that, after all these years, you still haven’t been able to articulate an intellectually defensible argument for denying marriage equality, you don’t pose much of a threat to our “worldview,” do you? In fact, it’s your lame in the extreme attempts to articulate such an argument that gets you ridiculed, held in contempt, and held up to scorn.
But the best is yet to come:
The potential GOP presidential candidate went on to rail against groups like Right Wing Watch for quoting remarks he makes on conservative media: “Every time I’ve come on this radio show, as you know your show is monitored by the secular left, they listen to every word that is uttered on AFA…. Every time I’m on this show there is something I say that will just end up getting picked up by the secularists and they’ll blow it up and it will go viral.”Imagine that! Someone who is running for the most powerful office in the world is surprised that people might listen to his words, expect him to choose them carefully and report them verbatim when he doesn’t! Has this guy ever run for political office before?
“So let me go ahead and give them one just so they’ll have something that they can write down and Twitter out right now,” Huckabee continued. “The second reason that a lot of this reaction comes against believers is because of the New Testament principle of ‘don’t cast your pearls before the swine.’
And it’s a good thing that he and the religious right are above ridicule, contempt and scorn because otherwise someone might get the idea that comparing “the left” to swine was meant to disparage people!
The real complaint, of course, is that he can’t blow all the dog whistles he wants the religious right to hear without those pesky kids and their dog pulling off his cheesy mask. He and his ilk want to use modern technology to get out their message but can’t stand that the rest of us “swine” can listen in too and point and laugh.
A Consummation Devoutly to be Wished
On Thursday, End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles invited John Price, a onetime failed Republican Senate candidate from Indiana and author of “The End of America,” to discuss his decision to move to Costa Rica three years ago in order to follow God’s call to “flee from the daughter of Babylon and not stay and participant in her sins and not be around when the nation is destroyed.”Religious Right theocrats fleeing America in droves?
Price told Wiles that other Americans should consider leaving the U.S., which he said is “truly is the daughter of Babylon” as a result of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
Oh, please, oh please, oh please!
Not that I wouldn't feel a bit sorry for wherever they decided to go to but ... don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
Thursday, March 05, 2015
The Supreme Court has announced the date for oral argument in the same-sex marriage cases: April 28, 2015, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
What's more, the Court has also announced that, in a rare move, it will be releasing the audio of the oral arguments, along with an unofficial transcript, both of which should be available no later than 2 p.m. on the same day. They will be found here.
This is the civil rights issue before the Court in the 21st Century so far. It will be remembered (whether in glory or in infamy) for as long as the United States survives, right up there with Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia or right down there with Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson.
And you will have the chance to hear the arguments made before the Court almost in real time.
Be there or be square.