micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Thursday, June 26, 2003
That most wonderful of perfect documents
Today, as you have probably already heard, the Supreme Court of some country struck down a Texas state law that forbid acts of sodomy between people of the same gender. The vote was 6 to 3, with Anthony Kennedy writing the majority opinion and Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens signing on to the argument that basically said private consensual sexual acts between adults are constitutionally protected. Sandra Day O'Connor concurred, arguing that that law was invalid because it applied only to people in engaging in same-sex acts and thus was a violation of the equal protection clause. Anthony Scalia dissented by arguing that overturning this law meant that limiting marriage to different sex couples were now "on shaky, pretty shaky grounds." William Rehnquist signed on to Scalia's dissent. Clarence Thomas dissented with the argument that he did not see how this law was in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
While I shed no tears for this law being struck down, I have to agree with Thomas here. The right to have sex with a person of the same gender as you is not going to be found in the constitution. Of course the whole idea of the document have hidden meanings that can be found and lost is quite bizarre. The gentlemen who wrote the document didn't agree on what it meant so you can interpret it any way you want, which might make sense if you are trying to give new meanings to songs like "Bombs Over Baghdad," "Born in the USA" or "Rock the Casbah," but makes no sense when trying to come up with workable laws. The idea that the meaning of the U.S. Constitution can and should change over time is similarly flawed, as what it actually means to say is that new consensuses can be reached on a societal level. But wouldn't it make a lot more sense to response to such situations by changing laws?
The devotion to the constitution that exists dulls political debate as well. Daniel Lazare persuasively argues in the November/December 1998 issue of New Left Review that people in the U.S. tend to only regard the civil liberties that can be traced to the U.S. Constitution as valid. What Lazare doesn't overly discount is that political discourse in the U.S. tends to impose desirable values onto that document. Sexual freedom is deemed to be a good thing and thus it must be found somewhere in that most wonderful of perfect documents. This distorts discussions in the U.S. greatly because seldom are proponents of gay rights willing to concede that the U.S. Constitution does not protect sexual freedom but that it is a human right and thus an amendment is needed to guarantee that right. A real discussion that doesn't necessarily involve wishful but false thinking can be had around that matter, but it might mean admitting "The Founders" were not in possession of perfect or even nearly perfect wisdom and vision. And for that reason, I doubt such a discussion will popularly happen any time soon.
We already have the cool weapons but you can't have any, the European Union and the United States said yesterday.
"A Marine accused of raping a 19-year-old Okinawa woman was turned over to Japanese police Wednesday even though he had yet to be indicted," Mark Oliva of Stars and Stripes writes in a report from seven days ago. "The move follows an announcement that U.S. officials will visit Japan to discuss changing the agreement regulating how Japanese courts treat U.S. military personnel. Marine Lance Cpl. Jose W. Torres, 21, was turned over to Okinawa police after a meeting of the U.S.-Japan Joint Committee."
"The US navy is considering relocating the Pacific Fleet's patrol and reconnaissance headquarters from Hawaii to Japan by the autumn, a news report said Saturday," Agence France-Presse writes in a Saturday report. "The move will be part of the global transformation of the US military presence, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said, citing unnamed sources."
"Okinawa's governor demanded U.S. forces leave the southern island, as residents marked the 58th anniversary Monday of the final land battle of World War II between U.S. and Japanese forces," writes the AP in a Monday report. "'We ask that the United States and Japan boost efforts to relocate U.S. bases from Okinawa and revise the U.S.-Japan security pact,' Keiichi Inamine said in a speech."
"Schindler and I are like peas in a pod," Mr. Burns once said. "We're both factory owners, we both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked, dammit!"