Gonzales v. Oregon

Ken AshfordConstitution, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

I wanted to get into the habit of analyzing constitutional Supreme Court cases on this blog, as I have done in the past, for a couple of reasons: (1) it interests me; and (2) as part of my job, it has fallen upon me to write — once a year — a summary of leading constitutional law cases for use … Read More

Unfurl Those Flags: Newdow’s Back!

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/LawLeave a Comment

Michael Newdow is back in the news.  You may remember him as the guy who challenged the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, arguing that it compelled his daughter to invoke a religious incantation ("under God").  Even though he won in the lower courts, he ultimately lost in the Supreme Court, but only on the issue of standing (since he … Read More

Fourth Circuit And Invocation Of Jesus

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, GodstuffLeave a Comment

A few months ago, I blogged about a Fourth Circuit opinion which ruled against a woman who challenged her local government’s practice of beginning meetings with an invocation of a monotheistic God.  The Fourth Circuit stupidly said that the practice did not violate the Establishment Clause because, to put it bluntly, only monotheism is protected by the Establishment Clause.  (I … Read More

Supreme Court Rules On Ten Commandments

Ken AshfordBreaking News, Constitution, Godstuff, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

BREAKING NEWS: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ten Commandment displays are not permissible in courthouses. Well, that’s what the headlines are screaming at the moment.  The devil, as they say, is in the details.  For example, is the Decalogue permissible if it is part of a larger display about the origins of law? UPDATE No. 1:  Decision was 5-4, … Read More

Supremes Harsh Our Mellow

Ken AshfordConstitution, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

The case is Gonzales v. Raich (PDF format), better known as the medical marijuana case.  The Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that the federal government can (in effect) outlaw medical marijuana use despite the fact that some states (ten of them) have made it legal. What the case is about is federalism and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  For … Read More

Supreme Court Gets It Right

Ken AshfordConstitution, Godstuff, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

As if on cue in the wake of the Koran desecration debate, the Supreme Court—unanimously—talks about religion and prisoners in this recent ruling: The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that a new federal law requiring prison officials to meet inmates’ religious needs is a permissible accommodation of religion that does not violate the separation of church and state. The … Read More

James Madison on Schiavo

Ken AshfordAssisited Suicide/Schiavo, ConstitutionLeave a Comment

"Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils.  They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and … Read More

SCOTUS Punts The Pledge Issue

Ken AshfordConstitution, Godstuff, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Court dismisses Pledge of Allegiance suitJustices sidestep church-state issue in tossing atheist’s case Read more here. The opinion is not available yet, but it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the justices said about the merits of Newdow’s case. Apparently, Rehnquist wrote about it, but his views were already pretty well-known.

Gary Bauer Prefers Unbridled (get it?) Gay Promiscuity

Ken AshfordConstitution, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Gary Bauer, in explaining his opposition to gay marriages, gives this as one of the reasons why states should ban it: More importantly, however, the government has an obligation to promote public policy that is best for the general welfare and to discriminate against behaviors that adversely impact society and public health. Tobacco use is heavily regulated by the state … Read More

Thought Experiment

Ken AshfordConstitution, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

On a particular listserv I follow, the following wonderful questions were posed: (1) Is it fair to say that all single adults have a fundamental right to marry? (2) If so, do biologically transgendered folks (those that have mixed genders — not those that opt to surgically or hormonally change their gender) have a right to marry? (3) If so, … Read More

Supremes Get It Right

Ken AshfordConstitution, Godstuff, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Court rejects tax-funded religious scholarships The Supreme Court, in a new rendering on separation of church and state, voted Wednesday to let states withhold scholarships from students studying theology. The court’s 7-2 ruling held that the state of Washington was within its rights to deny a taxpayer-funded scholarship to a college student who was studying to be a minister. That … Read More

President Confused

Ken AshfordConstitution, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

As reported here and elsewhere, Bush is finally going to announce his support for the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. McClellan, briefing reporters at the White House, said the president wants to end "growing confusion" that has arisen from court decisions in Massachusetts, and San Francisco’s permitting more than 3,000 same sex unions. "The president believes it is important to … Read More

What Are We Talking About Here?

Ken AshfordConstitution, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

This is the proposed amendment banning gay marriages: Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups. Personally, … Read More