Friday, June 14, 1996

While 7 Supreme Court justices accepted that there is a common law right of privacy for patients of psychiatrists, Scalia said that people would be better off talking to their mommies, but there is no mother-child privilege.

The Southern Baptist convention has voted both to boycott Disneyland for giving benefits to gay partners of its employees, and to try to convert Jews. I've tried like hell and I can't think of a funny way to connect the 2. There will be a virtual prize (like a prize, but not actually existent) for the best joke. Void where prohibited.

So I'm reading the Supreme Court decisions rejecting all these black districts. What's interesting is less that they consider race valid as a criterion (hey, if you had to work with Clarence Thomas every day, you'd have second thoughts about affirmative action too!), than the valid criteria mentioned in the decision. It's ok to gerrymander for political reasons, for example to protect incumbents (i.e., not having 2 incumbents run against each other). I must have missed the jobs-for-life clause in the Constitution. Drawing up districts on party affiliation lines is also ok. Silly me, I thought we had elections to determine the party make-up of Congress. If that is the case, then surely party affiliation is the least appropriate criterion for redistricting. Stevens, in the sort of dissent that makes you wish Brennan or Marshall were still on the court, notes that strange-shaped districts are banned only to facilitate minority voters, not white ones.

The Supreme Court also found valid in upholding the reduction in the sentences of the cops who beat up Rodney King the criterion that they had been found innocent in the local trial. Assuming that you accept the bizarre presumption that the federal trial wasn't double jeopardy because it was a different jurisdiction ("Well, we couldn't convict them at the state or federal level, let's try them in their waste management district, then the water district..."), surely the results of one trial shouldn't be used to change the sentence in a trial where a different decision was reached. Should hung juries count? Are we just taking the average of innocent + guilty? They also got time off for being cops and therefore in greater risk in prison. By that standard, child rapists should all get reduced sentences....

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