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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 11, 2005 3:52 PM. The previous post in this blog was It takes two. The next post in this blog is Yeah, but wait 'til we have an aerial tram. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

A national disgrace

A while back, I got an e-mail message from reactionary talk radio's Lars Larson, who was wondering why I had gone soft on him. When I lean to the right -- or at least toward the center from the PC lunacy that passes for Portland politics -- Lars has been known to read my prose on the air on his local show. Lately I haven't been supplying any grist for his mill. Well, I hope Lars (or whoever's filling in for him if he's out shooting Bambi's mother somewhere) will get on this story. It's an outrage.

Look at what our tax dollars are supporting now:

Can you believe it? A collector's coin, issued by the U.S. Mint, celebrating the life and career of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. My God, at a time when we're about to finally rid our judiciary of all the misguided left-wingers like Marshall, the fools at the Mint find some reason to make him out to be a hero.

It's galling. And in the fancy brochure they send out to coin collectors, they're actually talking about Marshall's famous decision in Marbury v. Madison as if it were a good thing. What nonsense. Constitutional review by an independent judiciary of the acts of the legislature? Letting a bunch of unelected judicial activists impose their will over the will of the majority of the citizenry? It's ridiculous, I tell you, Lars. Get on it.

And the rest of you, write your congressmen today. Tell the liberal creeps like Ron Wyden and Earl Blumenauer that we don't need a silver coin to remind us of one of the worst villains in our nation's history. We need to put a stop to this, and in a hurry.

Comments (15)

I'm surprised a law professor would find so repugnant a judge who invented the concept of repugnance (that is, of laws to the constitution). Then again, I've read so many talking points that I can't tell sarcasm from curmudgeonry anymore.

If this crap isn't stopped the next thing you know they'll be naming buildings after Ronald Reagan.

I think I can safely say, Tom Powers, that this is sarcasm, not curmudgeonry.

How about a collector's edition - like the 50 states - of One Dollar Coins with all of the Supreme Court Chief Justices - heck all of the Associate Justices too! There are only 112 of them to put on dollars, so it would be a project only twice the size of the state quarters.

And someone, so inclined, could exercise his or her free speech rights by etching the word "Impeach" above the name "Earl Warren," or "Anthony Kennedy."

Jack, your tongue has fused to your cheek. But you're about a million miles from reality on this one. None of your right-wing bogeymen are opposed to the concept of judicial review established in Marbury vs. Madison. (If you doubt that, consider the outrage from the right on the recent takings case, where the Court would seem to have disregarded an actual provision of the Constitution, the 5th Amendment.) What my right-wing brothers and sisters oppose is legislation from the Courts disguised as constitutional review. Do you think John Marshall would have decided that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, meaning that 200 year old marriage laws are unconstitutional? I kinda doubt it. And I know I for one would be perfectly happy having Justice Marshall back, and I'm pretty sure my right-wing buddies would as well.

Yeah, he'd be down with slavery.

Why shucks, we could melt some of them Marshall Bucks down and make some bullets fer Lars so's Bambi would die in style.

Speaking of tax dollars being misused... have any of you nice Multnomah County ITAX people seen your bills lately? Now, look closely...

They give you an initial bill MONTHS after you've handed in your return and tell you to pay the balance or face penalties, then give you a bill the next day with said penalties added.

But wait, there's more.. some people are getting hit with a small penalty then, come another mis-posted billing later, a HUGE penalty. The difference between the two can be as much as hundreds of dollars - no exaggeration.

But wait, there's even more!!

I was basically told that for those of you who were smart enough to request -- IN WRITING -- to make payments before April 15th would be granted a payment plan at a later date sans 100% of the penalties. That's right - scott free. As for the rest of us... sorry, charlie. The penalties stick - even though the booklet plainly states there will be NO PAYMENT PLANS available and nowhere does it say if you make a request in writing by a certain date you get relief from penalties.

Check your bills, yo. Multnomah County, you have some 'splainin to do!

I'm always amused when the far right attacks the Supreme Court for enforcing rights that they don't like. They never seem to attack the court's decisions that discovered rights that they DO like. Where in the constitution does it say parents have the right to send their kids to private schools? The Supreme Court "discovered" that right in 1925 -- you remember, when it was dominated by those leftie pinkos like Willis Van Devanter and James McReynolds and George Sutherland and Pierce Butler? The rallying cry of the right: Liberty for us, but not for you!

I guess the question Charlie is this: who decides the question of what a right is? I really don't know anything about the 1925 case you cite, but I'm comfortable with a system, which I think we are supposed to have, where the rule is "majority rule", as determined by an elected legislature, unless the legislative action is inconsistent with some principal so important that it was actually set forth in the Constitution. Under the alternative that you seem to favor, it's majority rule unless some unelected folks with their own agendas and biases (judges) decide they do not approve of the action of the majority, for whatever reason. That doesn't sound like the system established by our Constitution, and seems as likely to produce results you do not like as it is to produce results you do like. (Now, we both should get back to work.)

Do you think John Marshall would have decided that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, meaning that 200 year old marriage laws are unconstitutional?

I'm no lawyer (god, how many times have I started a blog comment with that line?), but I think that's the wrong question. The right question is "would he have found laws prohibiting gays from getting married constitutional?" That's a whole different animal.

Is this really funded by our tax dollars? Or is it profitable for the Mint, as these silver dollars aren't actually being spent?

That is, it's probably just a tax on liberals who buy up the coin and keep it, subsidizing anti-government folks' government programs.

I doubt that the Mint loses money on these, but would be happy to be proven wrong.

Hey, Bob W. I've always been fond of the Ninth Amendment:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

We have other rights and not just political rights that are retained by the people via majority rule. The Founders foresaw that with the Ninth, IMHO. And being rights, they are not subject to majority rule. That's why we have an independent judciary to help the country sort through what is and isn't a right vs. a political matter.

Hey Chris,

I think the word "retain" in the 9th amendment has to mean something.

Abortion and gay marriage were certainly not "rights" in 1787. Judges decided they were "rights" 200 years later. It seems obvious to me (though apparantly not to you) that both of these issues are exactly the kinds of questions that majority rule ought to decide, especially when the minority is trying to change a long-standing clear result. (In other words, if gay marriage had been permitted all along and some legislature tried to outlaw it, I'd be a lot more sympathetic to the 9th amendment argument.)

The problem (for all you blues) with your approach is that someday, some Red (and I don't mean a commie) might be the judge deciding what are rights and what are not. If it's up to whoever happens to be judge at the time what has become a right, and thus what issues can no longer be addressed in the legislative process, then you really are at the mercy of whoever happens to be wearing the black robe at any given time.

If interference with majority rule is the hallmark of an activist court, then the conservative wing of the Rehnquist court is the most activist in history, having struck down more federal statutes in the past 10 years than any court in any comparable period. And if abortion is exactly the kind of issue that should be decided by majority rule, why not assisted suicide? Where is your outrage at John Ashcroft's effort to apply a federal law that was aimed at a well-known evil (drug use and drug trafficking) to stop an entirely different activity -- the use of certain drugs by Oregon physicians to assist in a terminally ill person's decision to end one's life? Oregon voters twice voted for assisted suicide; why have opponents gone to court over and over to try to frustrate that majority will? Again, liberty for me (and for the rights I hold dear), but not for you -- that's what the Due Process Clause protects!

I think the administration is wrong on the assisted suicide issue. No one is always right.


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