All in the family was a staple in my house for many years when I was a kid. This week an episode called “The commercial” came to mind.

Edith is ambushed at the launderette by a man who tears Archie’s favorite shirt in half. It turns out he is from a detergent company filming with a hidden camera and they are shooting a commercial. They hire Edith to film the commercial but when the time comes to pick which half is brighter and cleaner she keeps picking the half washed in her brand. When told to pick “New Improved Sudi sudds” she just can’t bring herself to lie.

Archie, desperate to salvage payday and the residuals from the commercial tries to explain why she has to lie:

They gotta give the lie, equal time with the truth.

Apparently Archie was ahead of his time. Not only did he predict Reagan’s win in 1980 but he apparently saw this ruling coming down the pike from the 9th circuit:

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, agreeing that the law was a violation of his free-speech rights. The majority said there’s no evidence that such lies harm anybody, and there’s no compelling reason for the government to ban such lies.

The dissenting justice insisted that the majority refused to follow clear Supreme Court precedent that false statements of fact are not entitled to First Amendment protection.

The act revised and toughened a law that forbids anyone to wear a military medal that wasn’t earned. The measure sailed through Congress in late 2006, receiving unanimous approval in the Senate.

What a boon for the cheating husband, he doesn’t have to rely on the “Oral Sex isn’t sex” defense he can BS his wife on first amendment grounds.

Dafydd al Hugh doesn’t just score he breaks the backboard:

The whole point of a citizens’ initiative is to allow the voters themselves to enact reforms or repeal tyrannical laws, even when elected officials are corrupt, out of touch, or unwilling to listen. But if the governor can overturn such an initiative merely by refusing to defend it in the inevitable lawsuit, allowing opponents of the initiative to win by default, then the entire point of a citizens’ initiative is thwarted. (George Will would be overjoyed.)

Read the whole thing

It’s kind of sad that my expectations for the 9th circuit are so low that I expected them to do the foolish thing but every now and then they surprise me.

The argument that there was no harm was weak, because the 9th Circuit certainly saw what happened in the state court process, where the California Supreme Court, though upholding Prop. 8, had to grapple with what to do with same sex couples who had married in the interim. The 9th Circuit didn’t need that headache, and neither did society. Given the expedited schedule, the relatively short delay in such marriages resulting from a stay was not enough to overcome the legal chaos similar to what happened in the state courts.

Let’s hope the process is expedited, the longer people on both sides are kept waiting the worse it is. I would think the issues have been gone over and over so it wouldn’t be too hard but then again decisions are always easier when you don’t have to make them so I guess I should be patient with the people who are charged to do so.

And for those who can’t wait, there is always Massachusetts, particularly for the fall foliage.

Update: If I was more cynical I would think this might have something to do with it:

That decision came as a huge disappointment to the activists who sought to have Prop 8 declared unconstitutional. But it was a relief for the White House, meaning that a potentially divisive issue would not play out during the fall midterm elections.

Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who is close with top White House officials, said Obama has “suffered through a season of distractions. He didn’t need one more distraction.”

After all nobody would ever suspect the 9th circuit of playing politics, would we?

Bad Lawyer tells the story of a Judge in Washington State that is in some trouble:

[The] court ruled Thursday that King County District Judge Judith Eiler violated rules requiring judges to be ‘patient, dignified, and courteous’ to defendants, lawyers and others.

Five justices, led by Justice Jim Johnson, ruled in favor of the five-day suspension plus censure. But four others insisted that Eiler should be subject to a 90-day suspension recommended by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.”
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I’ve witnessed this routine many times over the years. As I’ve said previously, there is some frustration on the part of some judges that they are powerless to actually affect behavior of the defendants who appear, oftentimes, again and again before them. The judges aspire to say something that might register in a positive way on these folks that will work to the advantage of the justice system and the community. This is especially true in “small law” courts.

At Simple Justice we see that Judge Judy is to blame.

Nowhere in the judges’ handbook does it require jurists to employ sugarcoating or gobbledygook in the performance of their duties. But when you put on a robe, part of the deal is that you exercise discretion and hold that sharp tongue. It’s not that judges don’t think that people are idiots, but they can’t say it. They just can’t.

The problem, of course, is that Judge Judy is unbelievably popular, maybe even one of the best things to happen to the legal system, as far as the public is concerned, in a long time. People love to watch Judge Judy jump to baseless conclusions and rip people’s lungs out through their nose. Swift, brutal justice. How fun! Unless you happen to be the one whose nostrils are at stake

How many people back in the 60’s took up Science because of the Professor from Gilligans Island or Scotty from Star Trek? If you decide to get into the law because of Judge Judy, it just might not be what you imagine to be. etiquette

You’ve read and examined my opinion of Gay Marriage. Making the case for the other side a blogger I respect who is just as nice in person as she is committed to what she believes, my friend Cynthia Yockey:

The fundamental rationale social conservatives advance for denying equal treatment to lesbians and gays under the law — including the liberty and freedom to choose sexual partners and spouses on the same bases that straight people use: sexual attraction and love — is that gays are intrinsically evil.

This of course is not the Catholic position but the number of people who make that argument is not insignificant to say the least.

Read her whole post and her others on the subject. Her opinion is worth hearing and understanding. After all once can’t be secure in one’s own opinion and beliefs and be unwilling or unable to hear the other side without rancor.

has produced some reaction in comments and from some friends who were surprised at my reaction. For those who are unsure, two posts at other blogs make my point best.

The short version comes from Robert Stacy:

A government official successfully pursuing a defamation suit against a private citizen is quite nearly impossible.

Any responsible lawyer would provide three words of helpful advice to Shirley Sherrod: “Discovery’s a bitch.”

The long version is at the American Thinker:

This past Sunday, in his weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle, “Willie’s World,” veteran black politico Willie Brown confirmed that “there is more to the story than just [Sherrod’s] remarks.”

“As an old pro,” Brown acknowledged, “I know that you don’t fire someone without at least hearing their side of the story unless you want them gone in the first place.” Brown observed that Sherrod had been a thorn in the USDA’s side for years, that many had objected to her hiring, and that she had been “operating a community activist organization not unlike ACORN.” Although Brown does not go into detail, he alludes to a class action lawsuit against the USDA in which she participated some years ago.

In the way of background, in 1997, a black farmer named Timothy Pigford, joined by four hundred other black farmers, filed a lawsuit against Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, claiming that the USDA treated black farmers unfairly in all manner of ways, from price support loans to disaster payments to operating loans. Worse, they charged that the USDA had failed to process any complaints about racial discrimination.

The notion that the Clinton Ag Department had spent four years consciously denying black farmers their due defies everything we know about Clinton’s use of race and should have made the media suspicious about Pigford’s claims dating back to 1983.

Flush with revenue in 1999 and eager to appease this bedrock constituency, the administration settled with the farmers — more realistically, their attorneys — for fifty grand apiece, plus various other perks like tax offsets and loan forgiveness. If any of the presumably racist USDA offenders were punished, that news escaped the media.

Is this all talk? Is there an actual suit that will be filed? Boy does this administration hope not.

When I first read this story my jaw dropped on the floor and rolled around a while:

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a public university that removed a Christian student from its graduate program in school counseling over her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. Monday’s ruling, according to Julea Ward’s attorneys, could result in Christian students across the country being expelled from public university for similar views.

Sounded an awful lot like the Georgia case, I wrote about earlier. My outrage button was pushed and heading into overdrive but when I read the Fox story there was a twist that I noticed that should not be ignored:

She was removed from the school’s counseling program last year because she refused to counsel homosexual clients.

This is a most important sentence, we would not allow a doctor to refuse to treat a homosexual man, I can’t see how this is different than an Islamic bus driver keeping a guide dog off the bus.

A counselor’s job is to give advice, there is nothing wrong with a counselor shaping and framing that advice based on their beliefs (we are all of us are shaped by our beliefs) but to refuse a patient based on said beliefs, particularly in a training program, that’s off.

In private practice a person can pick and choose patients, but during training that is a different matter altogether.

Let’s put it another way. Murder is a mortal sin, Adultery is a mortal sin, Theft is a Mortal sin, all are explicitly prohibited by the 10 commandments. Would Julea Ward refuse to treat a person who committed any of these sins as well?

Christianity explicitly teaches that homosexual acts are sinful (many protestant denominations consider homosexuality itself a sin). It is a serious sin, but it is not the only sin, when we pretend that it is we make a grave mistake, almost as large as the mistake that is made when one pretends it is not sinful at all. One can magnify the legitimate sins of others in order to ignore our own. This is a trap not of our political foes making but of our spiritual foes making and its eternal consequences are much more dangerous to us as individuals.

Christian belief is not based on the separation of one from sinners, we are all sinners, it is based on the separation of one from sin and the willingness of Christ to forgive sin when one repents.

So lets be clear on what the 1st Amendment does and what it doesn’t do:

• Julea Ward has a right to follow any religion she chooses, natural law AND the 1st Amendment guarantees this right.

• A public university has no business trying to force any student or employee to change any person’s religious (or political) belief, that is a totalitarian act contrary to the natural law and the 1st Amendment.

• Any such speech code or rule by a public university to restrict the free expression and/or practice of religious (or political) belief is unconstitutional on its face per the 1st Amendment.

• Any and all such public universities who attempt to enforce such codes to change any person’s religious (or political) belief violating 1st Amendment rights should be sued until they are so broke that they have to go back to slide rules.

• A public university CAN however require that a student follow the basic rules of a degree program. An Islamic student can’t refuse to study the anatomy of a dog or pig if they want a degree in Veterinary medicine.  That is not a first amendment issue.

Julea Ward put herself in the wrong by refusing to counsel a homosexual student: From the ruling:

“In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs – including homosexual relationships.”

In such a case the correct and honorable move for Miss Ward would be to tell the patient openly that she considers homosexual relationships wrong and that her advice would be informed by that belief. She could then give said patient the option to either continue with her or request a different counselor. This empowers and informs the patient without violating personal beliefs. If the patient wished to continue with her she could give advice based on actions that are harmful (lying, selfishness, deceit etc) in any type of interpersonal relationship.

And the university put itself in the wrong by trying to change her beliefs:

Ward’s attorneys claim the university told her she would only be allowed to remain in the program if she went through a “remediation” program so that she could “see the error of her ways” and change her belief system about homosexuality.

By attempting to create a single mindset within said program the university harms itself by closing of it’s own mind and robs potential patients of the perspective and philosophy that can benefit them.

There is no question that the media culture and university culture is trying to promote and protect homosexuality (remember Dirkhising Christian & Newsom? Exactly!) and to attack Christianity as a rule. Let’s avoid helping them out in their endeavor.

Memeorandum thread here.

Update: I think we on the right are missing that key detail that makes this case different than the Keeton case. I would however concede that the Clinton appointed judge would have likely gone with the university even if she didn’t refuse the patient treatment.

Update 2: Outside the Beltway almost gets it.

This really isn’t complicated: You’re allowed to believe whatever you wish. Under the 1st Amendment, you’re allowed to say or write just about any damned fool thing you please without fear of sanction from your government. You’re also allowed wide berth in the practice of your religious beliefs.

But public institutions are allowed to set policies that conflict with some people’s religious beliefs, so long as they have a rational, secular basis for doing so. In this case, EMU did. It would be simply absurd to allow students to participate in a program designed to provide counseling credentials who would never be able to get licensure as a counselor.

This misses the point here, if a license is not allowed based on a religious belief that is a religious test and unconstitutional. If they decide a believing Catholic, Muslim or Protestant can’t be certified that is a de-facto religious test made by a public university based on beliefs also unconstitutional. It wasn’t the beliefs of Miss Ward that were the proper grounds, it was the INACTION in refusing to treat the patient that constituted the proper grounds for the University to act.

Update 3: The Anchoress zings in her own gentle way at the very end of this post

I guess my question is, if a gay counseling student expressed an inability to “embrace” religious people or their values also be subject to remediation? Are we drowning in irony, here?

Bazinga!