Political talk from outside of the UK
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By Big Rob
#277029
I think this thread is a good place to put the not necessarily tea party and election stuff about the US that is worth serious debate.

The US supreme court is about to debate a case where gay married people deserve the same federal benefits as their straight counterparts (gay marriage is only recognized at state level and not federal level).

If I am wrong I expect yumicho, or others, to correct me.

From the Onion

Supreme Court To Hear Cases Determining Whether Human Beings Deserve Equal Rights
By Big Rob
#277031
Top Story on CBS.


Supreme Court to take up Prop. 8, DOMA


The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will consider the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on marriage, two cases that could have a significant impact on marriage laws across the country.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996, prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Both the First and Second Circuit Court of appeals have struck down a provision of the law denying federal benefits, like Social Security benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns, to same-sex couples legally married. Because of these lower court rulings, DOMA has been declared unconstitutional in some regions of the country but not others -- an issue the Supreme Court now has a chance to rectify by reviewing the Second Circuit decision.


Constitutionality is at the heart of limited government. Congress and the president can only make laws that, in theory, do not violate the constitution.

In practice, it is the supreme court judges that decide the constitutionality of these laws and other cases.

The supreme court has a conservative majority (Democracy in action?) and there is no equivalent of the parliament act, obviously, as the US has parliamentary sovereignty and no constitution, to the best of my knowledge.

So we have a conservative biased interpretation of the constitution (except for allowing Obamacare as not to make the supreme court a laughing stock).
By yumicho
Membership Days
#277046
Strictly speaking, the president doesn't make laws. Although presidents are involved in the process, they are not members of the legislative branch, but the executive. They aren't some super-PM. The reason why the president is involved in the process is a part of the system of checks and balances. Generally speaking, Congress makes laws, the (federal) judiciary interprets them, and the executive enforces them. The president has gained powers over the centuries, but they don't make laws.

The reason why the Supreme Court is currently swung to the right is because we've had a pretty good run of conservative presidents since 1980. The president appoints the Supremes. The Senate confirms. After that, they are in until they retire, die, or are removed. They are meant to be non-political, so no democratic vote other than people electing the right president, and to a lesser extent, the right senators and representatives. This is why I mentioned Supreme Court nominations as a vital reason why we needed to re-elect Obama, if not the most vital. The nominations a president makes can last decades. We still have two Reagan appointees.

The reason why DOMA may be overturned is because marriage crap is usually left to the states (10th Amendment). That would be a bad way to overturn it (at least in my limited understanding) because it would allow states to continue to ban same sex marriage. It would also mean that those who are married in states that allow same sex marriage or civil unions have little security in their legal status. Not that they do now, but since it had been heard by the Supreme Court, it could take a while to have another case heard by a (hopefully) more progressive court.

If they strike DOMA AND California's ban, it would be something akin to the case that brought interracial marriage bans to an end. I'd be shocked if that happened because of the make up of the court, but stranger things have happened. That is why most supporters of gay marriage were hoping to hold off until someone retired or popped their clogs. Unfortunately, it may be Kennedy (who is a moderate sort of libertarian sort of guy who does the swing vote) or Ginsburg (left of the court). I guess it would be better to replace them before a Republican gets in, but I'd love to see Scalia and Thomas out of there as well.


ETA: A good explanation of why the Supremes are appointed, not elected is they are meant to make decisions based on case law and the constitution, not what is going to make them get re-elected. Can you imagine what would happen if they heard a case where a death row inmate was not given his or her protections under the law yet to grant a reprieve would mean a justice might lose re-election? Sometimes this leads to a court whose views are behind the times in relation to what the general American population feels, which might happen with same sex marriage, but it can also protect the rights of the minority against populist will.

Direct democracy doesn't always translate to even handed justice.
By Big Rob
#277104
Well clarified yumicho.

I learn a lot of new things when I read your posts.

The area I am blurry on is how cases get to come before the Supreme Court.

Are the cases heard at federal courts in the states and then work their way up?
By yumicho
Membership Days
#277111
Yes in most cases. The Supreme Court then chooses which they will hear. I am not sure the process of choosing which they hear and which they don't. You could probably Google for it. From what I remember, they can also choose cases from the state level. Someone who either is a lawyer or was a poli-sci major could probably explain the ins and outs better than I could.


ETA: From what I remember, the appellate federal courts right below the Supreme Court are regional.
By Big Rob
#277115
Yeah I have tried in the past to Google it but either I am too dim to understand or I missed something.

Thank you anyway....
By Big Rob
#277123
Thanks.

I read that whole article a few times trying to absorb it. I guess I need to try a few more times.

:)
By Big Rob
#278166
27 people dead including 18 kids in kindergarten class.

If those kindergarten kids carried guns they could have stopped the killer. :roll:

I await the next mass school shooting.
 
By oboogie
Membership Days Posts
#278167
Big Rob wrote:27 people dead including 18 kids in kindergarten class.

If those kindergarten kids carried guns they could have stopped the killer. :roll:

I await the next mass school shooting.

"Guns don't kill - people do" yep, that's right, but those people use guns, you utter, utter morons.
 
By Abernathy
Membership Days Posts
#278168
Kindergarten shooting is something of a departure.

I still remember how awful I felt at the news of the Dunblane school shootings. I had phoned in sick at work and was sitting at home watchin the news coverage alone, eventually weeping helplessly at the dining room table while exclaiming something like ".. but they were just little KIDS!!....."

Dreadful, dreadful day. If this is the USA's Dunblane I sincerely hope that it leads to some sort of progress in reforming American firearms control.
 
By Kreuzberger
Membership Days Posts
#278169
I notice that our friends in Derry Street are reporting;

At least 29 people are believed to be dead - including 22 children...


Now.That could be based upon their latest information from within the fog of an evolving news story. Alternatively, it might be also be them not letting an appalling tragedy go by without sexing it up for a few extra eyeballs.

I hope it is the former.
By Carlos The Badger
Membership Days Posts
#278171
Reports that the nutter killed his father before going to the school to kill his mother that worked there. Taking out nearly 20 kids and all the other adults along the way.

Merkin Bloke on the news saying that this particular community is not a "gun culture" type of place. Hmm!
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