Andrew McCullough's Blog

Friday, August 06, 2010

An eventful week

August 6, 2010

I am, this week, on vacation in upstate New York. but I had to comment on some major political and legal events.

The first one was that last week the Utah Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Warren Jeffs of rape as an accomplice. The opinion starts out by saying that the highest State court has a duty to make sure that everyone gets a fair trial, even those who are not popular in the community. I suggest you look back at my earlier blogs in which I commented that, while Warren Jeffs is not a nice person (from our frame of reference), he did not commit the act of rape. The news media seemed stunned that the Court reversed the conviction. I did not think they could do anything else. The trial court instructed the jury that the relationship between Mr. Jeffs and the alleged victim was the important one. The Supreme Court pointed out that it was the relationship between the alleged victim and the person who actually touched her that was most important. The Attorney General seems not to know how to proceed from here, except to hope that the State of Texas will be more helpful to his cause. I suggest, as I did before, that charges of child abuse, welfare fraud, and possibly a myriad of other things might be brought. But our dislike of this bad person must not convict him of something that is a long stretch from what the law was designed to prohibit. I regularly represent clients who some people in the community dislike because of who they are. The Supreme Court of the U.S. long ago prohibited "status crimes", or crimes designed to punish a person for who or what he is (a "habitual drunk", for instance); and we should be glad that this protection applies to all of us.

Perhaps even a bigger shock to the legal system was delivered this week when a Federal Judge in California invalidated "Proposition 8", the Church-backed effort to defend "traditional marriage" from the inroads of "gay marriage". The court said, after a long trial in which much evidence was presented, that it all boiled down to a decision by the voters that heterosexual couples were superior to homosexual ones. And that, he said, denies both "equal protection of the law" and "due process of law, as prohibited by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I once again repeat what I have said earlier that those who oppose this change are sitting with "their finger in the dyke", hoping that somehow the leak will not get worse. It will indeed get "worse"; and at some point, we will all have to admit that there is no serious reason to prohibit relationships between consenting adults, even if we would not engage in them. This does not implicate Freedom of Religion, as nobody is suggesting that churches which prohibit such marriages will have to recognize them (just as churches do not always recognize baptisms performed elsewhere).

And, speaking of the 14th Amendment, Arizona Senator Russell Pearce said this week that the 14th Amendment provision which grants citizenship to those born in this country "is wrong, it's unconstitutional." when someone pointed out that it IS the Constitution, and therefor CANNOT be unconstitutional, he pronounced that as nothing but "spin". Senator, it is time that you quietly resign and find something else to do that does not cause so much harm. My earlier thoughts about the immigration debate also appear in earlier blog entries.

Please, if you agree with what I say, send this blog to a friend -- especially one who might vote in the race for Utah governor this November. Let's all do what we can to advance the cause of freedom (even when we are on vacation).


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