Tonight: Qwertz on Gay Marriage & the Spousal Privileges at Philosophy in Action

Tonight, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh will interview me about "Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege" on her live internet radio show, Philosophy in Action. This is the subject on which I wrote an unpublished Law Review comment many moons ago. It wasn't a particularly relevant topic back then, but a recent Supreme Court decision striking down §3 of the Defense of Marriage Act makes it vastly more likely that the

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On Amendment One and Obama's ABC Interview

On Tuesday, North Carolina voters approved Amendment One, which strips unmarried couples of all legal recognition of their relationships under State law. Billed as a simple gay marriage ban, the amendment actually goes much further, as Patrick at Popehat describes, and voids all other legal protections unmarried couples, gay or straight, might seek for themselves, including wills, adoptions, medical powers of attorney, and possibly even joint tenancy in realty. [Part 2 and Part 3 in

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Compare & Contrast

Our first production assignment in film school was to film and edit together a silent short, then give it a soundtrack that completely altered the emotional response of the viewer. It was a demonstration of the equally-matched emotional power of picture and sound. It was a challenging exercise.

Today, I present you with two videos, both of which use nearly the same soundtrack, but with different pictures. This inverts the exercise. Watch them both, then

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Health Care "Reform" - 2011

The following provisions of the Affordable Health Care for America Act take effect beginning January 1, 2011:

  1. Numerous and extensive changes to the Medicare rules, including payment cuts to providers and facilities.
  2. Pregnant women receiving Medicaid must not smoke or stop smoking by January 1, 2011, in order to remain Medicaid-eligible.
  3. Individuals may no longer use flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement accounts, or health savings accounts to pay for over-the-counter medications.
  4. Penalty for unqualified withdrawals
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Health Care "Reform" - Six Months After Enactment

The Affordable Health Care for America Act became law six months ago today. The following provisions take effect beginning today:

  1. Start of prohibition on lifetime limits on essential health benefits;
  2. Start of prohibition on rescinding coverage except in instances of fraud;
  3. Start of requirement that companies allow dependents up to age 26 to remain on their parents' plan if the dependent is not eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan;
  4. Companies can no longer
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A Request

I have an opinion on the whole "Cordoba House" issue, but it isn't well informed. I'd like it to be. Therefore, I'm requesting reading material or other evidence on, among other issues, the nature of Islam and of this project. I also want a translation suggestion for the Koran (or however you care to spell it). Preferably a scholarly translation which takes the time in extensive footnotes to explain its word choices, and was not

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The Producer, the Librarian, and the Promise-Breaker

TLDR: This changes nothing.

Today the Librarian of Congress announced new rules promulgated pursuant to the Librarian's rulemaking authority under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to exempt certain actions from the prohibition against circumvention of copyright protection systems found in 17 U.S.C. §1201. The "anti-circumvention provision" states:

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
The Librarian is required by §1201 to make

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McDonald v. Chicago

The Supreme Court decided McDonald v. Chicago, the sequel to D.C. v. Heller, this morning. A majority held that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments and threw out Chicago's ban on handguns. A plurality of four Justices (Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy) held that the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and avoided addressing the question of whether the Slaughterhouse Cases, which long ago castrated

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Get Used To It, Kid

From the Sunderland Echo, via Angry People in Local Newspapers, comes this quote from a (UK) government bureaucrat, in response to criticism of a "minimalist" playpark populated exclusively by concrete plinths of varying height after a child is injured by whacking his head on one:

The design provided in the park is very different and probably not what many people are used to in a public play space, but the provision of features, such as
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Snyder v. Phelps

One who would defend the [Constitution] must share his foxhole with scoundrels of every sort, but to abandon the post because of the poor company is to sell freedom cheaply. It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have often been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.

Kopf v. Skyrm, 993 F2d 374, 308 (4th Cir. 1996). Judge Hall was writing about the Fourth Amendment, but the

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Census 2010

As if my Monday wasn't already sucking hard enough on its own, I received this letter today:

Dear Resident: About one week from now, you will receive a 2010 Census form in the mail. When you receive your form, please fill it out and mail it in promptly. Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health
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Miss Manners on American Obeisance

[Royal personages] do not have the right to receive physical obeisance from American citizens. Miss Manners has had to issue the decree many times now that American ladies should not curtsy [ed: nor should American gentlemen bow] to royalty, and there are still those who do so at every available opportunity. They are in error, not only in the matter of world etiquette, but of geography, physics and ancient and modern history. . . . Bending
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FCC Ready to Kill Internet

According to Reuters, FCC commissioners voted 5-0 today to proceed with crafting a "net neutrality" rule, sending the current language (which would strip telecom companies of the right to control how they use their own property) to the printing office for public comment. Comments will be accepted until January 14th.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available online here [PDF].

You can upload your comments using ECFS here, using proceeding number 09-191. You can read

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British Official Knows Nothing About First Amendment

Via Prawfsblawg, a story from Reuters India reports that a British official has asked California Governor Schwarzenegger to shut down a Website that she says encourages prostitution in the UK. Prostitution is legal in the UK. Quoth the official,

Surely it can't be too difficult for "The Terminator" to terminate Punternet and that's what I am demanding that he does.

Patently, Ms Harman is not acquainted with our First Amendment, which is precisely what prevents

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On Polanski's Capture

Just remembered I forgot to comment on the recent capture in Switzerland of notorious international fugitive and child rapist Roman Polanski, who apparently also has directed a number of quite good movie-films.

Lessons Polanski should learn from this affair:

  1. Don't rape children.
  2. Don't skip bail.
  3. Don't plead guilty if you aren't willing to do the max.
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PA Town Cancels Halloween

A town in PA has decided that trick-or-treating, something children look forward to all year, is too unsafe for children. KDKA, via Popehat, via Overlawyered. The Popehat article title sums up my thoughts precisely: "To Save Childhood, It Is Necessary To Destroy It."

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Scalia on the Meaning of the Latin Cross

The ongoing controversy over a Latin cross erected in 1934 on Federal land in Mojave National Preserve to honor WWI dead reached the Supreme Court today on the question of whether Congress' sale of the land where the cross sits to a private entity in an effort to remove the constitutional violation itself violated the injunction ordering the government to remove the constitutional violation.

Photo by Eric Nystrom, courtesy National Park Service

The case is

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And Maine Makes Five

Maine legalizes same-sex marriage

By legislative action, no less. Without a court telling them they had to do it. That makes Maine the second state to enact same-sex marriage without a judicial order to do so, and the first state to enact same-sex marriage without a judicial order to at least create a parallel licensing system (as the Vermont Supreme Court did back before that state created its civil union system). Also, the first state

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"Knock, Knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Orange who?"

"Orange you glad you didn't vote for McCain!"

I still say Stevens is due - he'll be 89 this year. And Ginsburg has health issues. Luckily all three are part of the liberal bloc and will be replaced with liberals - not likely to upset court balance.

I'm in the middle of finals week in my last semester in law school. Assuming I pass everything, I'll graduate on May 17th,

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<em>Gill v. Office of Personnel Management</em>

Complaint here. [pdf]

Various plaintiffs married to or formerly married to and now widowed by persons of the same sex under Massachusetts law after Goodridge filed suit in the United States District Court for District of Massachusetts yesterday (case no. 1:2009cv10309) directly challenging the constitutionality of § 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, Pub L. No. 105-199, 110 Stat. 2419 (1996) (codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7) under implied equal protection afforded

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