Law postsSunday July 21, 2013
The 'Stand Your Ground' Law, Starring Yellowbelly
Opponents of Florida's “Stand Your Ground” law are attacking the wrong aspect of the law.
Here's an Op-Ed in the New York Times:
Police officers are trained to de-escalate highly charged encounters with aggressive people, using deadly force as a last resort. Citizens, on the other hand, may act from emotion and perceived threats. But “stand your ground” gives citizens the right to use force in public if they feel threatened.
Proponents named it well. “Stand Your Ground” plays upon Western lore and Hollywood mythmaking. It recalls John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, tough men who stood their ground and won the day. This is how the laws' proponents want to see themselves. You get nowhere attacking that.
You should attack the “feel threatened” part. I mean, who doesn't feel threatened? We all do. I do every day. What does that mean? If I were in Florida, could I shoot whoever threatened me? Who I perceived as a threat? Is Yellowbelly, a John Candy character from SCTV, the ultimate proponent of “Stand Your Ground” laws?
Quote of the Day
“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. ...
”I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away. There are very few African Americans in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African-American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. “That happens to me--at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”
-- Pres. Barack Obama at a White House press briefing, commenting on the Trayvon Martin case, the George Zimmerman verdict, and “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Related: In 2003, when Obama was mistaken for a waiter.
Boies on the Prop 8 Cross-Examination: 'Wouldn't America fit the American ideal better the day it allows gays and lesbians to marry?'
I linked to this in the past, never posted to it, but I thought that today, of all days, was a day worth revisiting it. It's from three years ago.
How does calm and rational win over emotional and combative? You enter a court of law with David Boies on your side:
I love the matter-of-fact logic he used to get the hostile witnesses to come around:
They were confronted with very simple questions, like “Do you think marriage is important?” Now what are they going to say? No? After all, they're trying to defend “traditonal marriage.” Of course they have to say marriage is important. “Do you think marriage helps children who are being raised? Do you think it hurts people not to be married, if they want to get married? Does that cause them disadvantages?”
They admitted, on the witness stand, each element of our case: that preventing gays and lesbians from marrying hurt them in serious social, psychological and economic ways; that preventing gays and lesbians from marrying hurt the children that they were raising--and hundreds of thousands of children are being raised today by gay and lesbian couples in the United States. And finally, there was simply no evidence that allowing gays and lesbians to marry could in any way harm heterosexual marriage ...
The key witness they had, a guy named Mr. Blankenhorn ... in the end, there was a question and answer that talked about, “Isn't American about equality? Don't we want equality for all of our citizens.” These are questions that it's hard to answer 'no' to. “Isn't it a lack of equality when we say gays and lesbians can't get married?” He had to agree to that. And finally, “Wouldn't America fit the American ideal better the day it allows gays and lesbians to marry?”
And he said yes.
And today the Supreme Court said yes. At least on a state-to-state basis.
Tweet of the Day: DOMA Dead
This is mine but there are many like it out there in reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
Andrew Sullivan, one of the first to push for gay marriage, is your one-stop shopping today:
- Live-Blogging the SCOTUS ruling. Sullivan quote: “We did it in part for those we left behind. And part of the reason I am crying right now is remembering them. I want them to come to the party. I want them to see they didn’t die in vain.” This link also includes Dan Savage's response to Huckabee's “Jesus wept” line.
- Tweet Reax, including church bells ringing in Minneapolis and the Seattle Gay Men's Chorus singing the National Anthem.
- Map of the Day: From legal ban and constitutional ban, to civil unions and gay marriage.
- I Believe. Sullivan: “Same-sex marriages have always existed because the human heart has always existed in complicated, beautiful and strange ways. But to have them recognized by the wider community, protected from vengeful relatives, preserved in times of illness and death, and elevated as a responsible, adult and equal contribution to our common good is a huge moment in human consciousness.”
Justice League: Ginsburg on Rehnquist, Roberts
“Ginsburg's frustrations have grown over the years. She got along well with William Rehnquist, the late Chief Justice ... 'I was very fond of the old Chief,' Ginsburg told me. As for his successor, Roberts, Ginsburg offered this faint praise: 'For the public, I think the current Chief is very good at meeting and greeting people, always saying the right thing for the remarks he makes for five or ten minutes at various gatherings.'”
-- from “Heavyweight: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg has moved the Supreme Court,” by Jeffrey Toobin, in the March 11, 2013 New Yorker. A slideshow of Justice Ginsburg can be found on the New Yorker's site here. The article itself is only excerpted—another reason, as if you need it, to subscribe to The New Yorker. Great stuff on her feminist victories before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s, her views of the judicial process (best to move slowly and carefully), and why she was ultimately against Roe v. Wade (it didn't move slowly or carefully, and thus allowed enemies to gather). Apparently she's a favorite of Pres. Obama (another conservative liberal). But will she retire before his term ends in 2017, allowing him to appoint a successor? Is the party of the president even relevant when deciding to leave the Supreme Court? “I think it is for all of us,” she says.