Tag: "gay and lesbian rights"
The funniest reaction to the Obama administration’s salutary decision to not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA comes, needless to say, from Jeff Goldtsein:
Of course, he doesn’t get to determine that – it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by President Clinton, and so it the duty of the government to defend it — but then, Obama is above the law.
As are all dictators.
We live in a country where the President and his cronies decide what laws to follow and what laws to enforce; what companies are supported and what companies are not; who has to follow comprehensive health care reform and who does not.
Which means we live in a fascist country, ruled by an elected dictator who has positioned himself above and outside the laws he demands we follow — and who has granted himself the right to determine who has to follow what laws, how, when, and why.
That is not freedom. It’s tyranny. Simple as that.
The punchline being that Obama’s predecessor really did believe that he could violate valid acts of Congress and constitutional requirements, and Goldstein was strongly in favor of this. OK, but it’s not exactly news that Goldstein is a buffoon whose views of executive power switch from Carl Schmitt to anti-Federalist depending on the partisan identity of the current occupant of the White House. That still doesn’t make Obama’s actions right if they’re procedurally similar to the Yoovian idea that the laws apply only at the pleasure of the president. As you can see from the comments, many liberals seem to share Col. Mustard’s view that this represents some kind of executive “power grab.” The fact that they’re on the same side as the Duke of Dijon should suggest that their probability of being wrong approaches 100%, and in fact these arguments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of what’s going on here:
- It’s important, first of all, to emphasize what Obama is not doing — namely, claming to be above the law. He is not claiming that DOMA doesn’t apply, or that the federal courts cannot adjudicate the constitutionality of the act. He is not, in the manner of Jefferson or Jackson, saying that he would ignore a court ruling upholding DOMA. (The Reagan and Bush administrations — as was their right — repeatedly argued that Roe v. Wade should be overruled. The Supreme Court, as you may remember, declined.) He’s merely unwilling to argue on behalf of the law’s constitutionality. There’s nothing about this that is in any way inconsistent with our constitutional framework or the rule of law. The judiciary is not the exclusive interpreter of the Constitution.
- But, the argument seems to go, what if because of this precedent allows President Palin to refuse to defend the constitutionality of the mandate? Well, first of all, there’s no precedent being established here. Saint Reagan himself established “tyranny” in the United States at least twice, and if you think that won’t be enough precedent for a future Republican president you must be too distracted by the attempts to put Reagan’s name on every federal institution and face on every unit of federal currency.
- But even leaving this aside, if you believe that a Republican president would be bound by past norms you really shouldn’t be permitted to leave the house unaccompanied. To state the obvious, if he wants to President Barbour will refuse to defend the constitutionality of the ACA, and he would still do it if Obama himself defended DOMA before the Supreme Court.
- This shouldn’t need to be said either, but the idea that presidents merely mechanically execute laws passed by Congress has never been and never will be how our system works. How the White House interprets and chooses to implement federal law changes substantially depending on who occupies the White House. The occasional refusal to assert that a federal law is constitutional is just one variant of this.
In short, this is a procedurally unexceptionable and substantively commendable act. It doesn’t reflect a belief that the president isn’t bound by the law. It reflects a judgment about the constitutionality of one particular law, a judgment that the other branches remain free to reject. Obama is doing the right thing here, and his actions are different in kind, not degree, from Yoovian theories of arbitrary executive power.
UPDATE: Goldstein continues to assert that Reagan was a fascist. What constitutional or statutory provision requires the DOJ to defend the constitutionality of each and every statute remains unspecified. What constitutional authority gave gave the Bush administration the power to unilaterally replace FISA is also unspecified.
The Obama administration is refusing to defend this constitutionality of DOMA as it applies to legally married same-sex couples. Sometimes, elections can have positive consequences!
This is academic inside baseball, but since that’s obviously a disproportionate percentage of our audience, I’d thought I’d give some publicity to the issue here. The political science journal Gender and Politics has apparently decided to reject without external review any manuscript dealing with research on questions related to LBGT community. Because…gender is something that only straight white women have? I can’t really imagine the reasoning. At any rate, Julie Novkov of SUNY Albany has responded with an open letter to the American Political Science Association’s Women and Politics section, which I reprint below the fold…
The quality of justifications of anti-gay and lesbian rights bigotry from our particularly inept trolls
The quality of justifications of anti-gay and lesbian rights bigotry made by actual elected state legislators.
You’d like to think that there was more content in the latter, but…not really. If they could somehow speak in ALL CAPS they probably would.
…World’s Worst Deliberative Body rejects DREAM ACT by 55-41 majority.
…Joe Lieberman — Joe Lieberman! — gives nice, concise pro-DADT repeal speech. World’s biggest asshole John McCain — having railed against “elites” prior to returning to one of his indeterminate number of houses — favors the Senate with pissy, incoherent non-sequiturs about lost limbs.
…DADT repeal cloture apparently will pass with margin to spare. Woo-hoo! Krik and Voinovich joining right side of history on the GOP side with the New Englanders and Murkowski.
…63-33! A great day in American history. Great work by Reid and, yes, Lieberman. Obama’s strategy was vindicated. Plenty of credit to go around.
…as several people have noted, the only Republican to vote “yea” on cloture for both DREAM and DADT repeal was Lisa Murkowski. Thanks Sarah!
…Kos really lets Tester have it over his DREAM vote.
…Final DADT repeal vote: Senators committed to ideals of Declaration of Independence 65, Heirs of George Wallace 31.
When dealing with the contemporary United States Senate, I would have thought not. And yet the stand-alone DADT repeal whose chances for passage I had (with good reason, I think) pegged at “zilch” seems to be an odds-on favorite to pass. My official position, I suppose, is “I’ll believe it when I see it” — I mean, counting on Brown and the “talk like Lincoln Chaffee, vote like Jim DeMint” Maine twins to do the right thing? Because Joe Lieberman has been such an effective advocate for a progressive cause? When does the trap door open? Still, the good people seem to have the votes, and if it happens, I’ll be thrilled to have been wrong.
…as Malaclypse reminds us in comments, there’s still plenty of procedural nonsense that could thwart reform — getting the necessary number of nominal supporters has never been the problem. We’ll see.
In recent weeks, some commenters have instructed me that DADT repeal was a done deal. I never understood this, since Collins’s position all along has been consistent: she’ll vote for cloture if it doesn’t mean anything. Well, she voted for cloture…and it didn’t mean anything.
Obviously, this is a disgrace, and the near-inevitability doesn’t make it any less so. The only remaining venue for short-term repeal is the courts (which is presumably what the fake-moderate Republicans want to happen.) If they insist on appealing maybe the DOJ can at least tank the oral argument…
…according to Sargent, Reid brought this to a vote because he thought that “moderate” Republicans were bargaining in bad faith. Can anyone seriously dispute this?
…and, of course, the filibuster is an abomination.
Nobody possibly could have predicted that getting Susan Collins’s “support” for DADT would involve procedural compromises that would allow the explicit repeal opponents in her conference to kill the bill. Certainly, we haven’t seen this before.
So we should just put it down fo the record here. In 2010 when faced with the opportunity to follow all of our important allies down the road of equality, a whole bunch of conservative politicians just decided that their ethics doesn’t make room for the idea that gay and lesbian Americans are human beings whose interests should count in deliberations. They refused to articulate exactly what it is that they think gay and lesbians Americans are if not free and equal citizens of the United States. But they made it clear through their words and needs that whatever it is gay and lesbians Americans are, it’s not free and equal citizens of the country. They’re some kind of subordinate class whose interests can and should be sacrificed to the alter of political expedience or knee-jerk prejudice or something else. It’s repugnant and despicable.
We don’t know whether “don’t ask, don’t tell” will end this year or next, but we all know it will end, and gay people will be allowed to serve their country in the military, just like they do in almost every other Western nation. And when this debate is remembered, John McCain will be the symbol of fear and bigotry, abandoned by even his wife and daughter, the military’s answer to George Wallace circa 1963, a bitter old man standing in the recruiting office door, shouting, “Discrimination now, discrimination tomorrow, discrimination forever!” That will be his legacy.
I also want to know why Republicans hate the IDF.