Monthly Archives: July 2010

How would SCOTUS rule on S1070?

Doing the Job the Feds Won't Do!
Image by Sundials by Carmichael via Flickr

Historically, conservative justices, with their stricter interpretation of the Constitution, have viewed immigration policy as the exclusive purview of the federal government. That means both ideological factions on the court may be hostile to Arizona’s defense of S1070.

From AZ Capitol Times

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Victim in Jeffs’ case speaks out

ST. GEORGE, UT - NOVEMBER 14:  Several thousan...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Jeffs’ victory in the Utah Supreme Court, however short lived it may be (Texas and the feds are eagerly awaiting in the wings), has bolstered Jeffs and his followers across Utah, Texas, Arizona, and British Columbia.  But it will also have a chilling effect on other potential victims, says the woman who was the victim in Jeffs’ case.

“This puts the power back in Warren’s hands tenfold,” said Elissa Wall, who was 14 when she first married.

In a phone interview from her Utah home, Wall, now 24, said she fears the impact on children inside the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who may be looking for help.

While I’m no expert on domestic abuse or on the wrongs of polygamy as practiced, I do recognize the conundrum that exists and is inherent to the justice system.  By requiring a retrial, the victims of polygamy may become fearful that they cannot speak out, for fear that those victimizing them will not be held accountable.  While an attorney may understand that the legal system often requires, for the purposes of fairness and justice, that there are retrials, the outside observer may not, but may see this as a failure of the justice system to protect the victim.

So on one side we have the victim, seeking the protection of the state.   On the other side is the accused, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not of public opinion.  And there is a third-party, if indirectly, in that society as a whole has rights and interests, in seeing that criminals are taken off the street, etc.  And it is the job of the prosecutor, judge, and defense attorneys to uphold all three, each for their own part.

But where is the balance leaned in a case like this?  Will victims be afraid to speak out as a result of the Utah Supreme Court’s ruling?

In the short-term, Jeffs’ faces, as mentioned before, extradition to Texas where he faces statutory rape charges for raping one of his own child wives.  But in his role as spiritual advisor, how many women have been victimized by his complicity in granting marriage to an older male, against the wishes of the younger, usually teenage, woman?  Will his retrial encourage the practice to continue?

(Thanks to USA Today)

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Arizona appeals, but is the law misbegotten?

Pink Budgey Smuggler Guy
Image by Helen K via Flickr

True to its promise, Arizona has appealed Judge Bolton’s ruling.  And the local sheriff promises to arrest protesters and put them in pink underwear…as if they weren’t already wearing it.

“My deputies will arrest them and put them in pink underwear,” Arpaio said, referring to one of his odd methods of punishment for prisoners. “Count on it.”
(KSL)

Meanwhile, in the world of commentary, The Nation posted this, from John Nichols:

This is not complicated stuff.

Article 1, Section 8 of the document gives Congress the authority “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…”

This is not some totalitarian scheme hatched by James Madison and George Mason back in 1787.

It was one of the most practical things the founders did.

For any country, especially any large country, there has to be basic uniformity with regard to questions of who gets to enter the country and how.

So take that, constitutionalists,  Or is he missing the point?  According to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (the Johnny-come-lately who opposed S.R.1070 until it passed, and since has ridden on its coattails to a wave of high popularity), “The bottom line is we’ve known all along that it is the responsibility of the feds and they haven’t done their job, so we were going to help them do that.” (Thanks, Andrew Cohen)  Is she saying that the law was never expected to survive legal scrutiny, but that it would at least kick the feds in the right direction, maybe prodding the feds to do their job? (Are the feds doing their job?)

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Quote of the day: writing

One cannot obtain the full benefit of learning from what one reads if one does not write, too.