Angel Rape?! (Pat Robertson on Gay Marriage)

Conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson made some questionable comments after gay marriage was legalized in New York. Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

 

Quick Hits

Some other items making the rounds today.

The Iowa Republican polled 399 likely Iowa Republican voters on their preference come 2012. Former Arkansas Governor and current Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee finished on top garnering 22 percent while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished second with 18 percent. Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House from Georgia, finished "surprisingly well" in their view with 14 percent in third place. Sarah Palin finished fourth with 11 percent. Texas Congressman Ron Paul garnered 5 percent, while Pawlenty, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 1 percent. Former US Senator Rick Santorum garnered support in the poll but it did not surpass the one percent threshold. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Texas Governor Rick Perry did not register any support in the poll. Twenty three percent of those surveyed remain undecided.

Not mentioned above is Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico Governor, much to the chagrin of Andrew Sullivan who today has a post on the libertarian-minded Johnson entitled A Man Who Deserves to be Viable in 2012.

Down in the Palmetto State, Alvin Green said he is not quitting the race even after his indictment on a felony charge of obscenity. The Chair of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, Carol Fowler, issued a statement calling for Greene to resign from the race.

A panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has granted a stay preventing the resumption of gay marriages in California until at least the end of the year. The Ninth Circuit panel - Judges Edward Leavy, Michael Hawkins and Sidney Thomas - also expedited the case's appeal. During the week of Dec. 6, a separate, randomly selected panel of the Ninth Circuit will take up the request by Prop. 8 proponents to throw out Walker's ruling. More from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Obama Administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government, according to Congressional and administration officials. The New York Times has more on the story. This move is not likely to please many. On the right, any reapprochement with Cuba is too much. On the left as long as the embargo remains in place, it is just window dressing. Moreover, the US has no leverage to speak of. It is now Spain and Brazil that have been able to extract concessions from Cuba. In July, the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos secured the release of 52 political dissendents held in Cuban prisons.

Would a Black Judge Have Been Biased in Brown v. Board of Education?

US District Judge Vaughn Walker is the judge who issued the ruling that Prop 8, which bans same sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional. Conservatives are now claiming that he is gay (which is unconfirmed at this point) and that his gayness presents an obvious bias. Furthermore, he should have recused himself from the case because as a gay man he would have a conflict of interest in deciding a case on gay rights.

The obvious question is - would a straight man not have a bias? Prop 8 would maintain straight people's monopoly on marriage. Wouldn't a straight person have a conflict of interest in deciding a case about whether they get to have more rights than other people in society? Presumably a lot of straight people voted in California to take away the right of gay people to get married - wouldn't they be biased in favor of protecting their own rights and taking away the rights of gays in California?

How about a devoutly religious judge? If that person believes it is an abomination against God to have gay people get married, wouldn't that create an obvious bias? Should we look into how religious each judge is before we let them decide cases like this? How about Antonin Scalia, who has on many occasions talked about how deeply religious he is? Should he be recused if this case reaches the Supreme Court? Clarence Thomas? Samuel Alito? How many justices will be left to decide this case?

Now, let's think about it a different way. What if there was a black justice on the Supreme Court when they were deciding Brown v. Board of Education? Would he be biased in favor of having the same rights as white Americans? Should he have stepped down from the case because he would obviously want the same constitutional rights as any other American? Bias!!

Of course, there was a black man in the courtroom at the time. The man who was the winning attorney on Brown v. Board of Education and would later become the first ever African-American justice on the Supreme Court - Thurgood Marshall. Should the court have told him that he couldn't litigate the case because it would be biased of him to want the same rights as white people?

Should Marshall have also recused himself from every case that involved race when he was on the Supreme Court? If so, why did the white justices get to rule on those cases?

As you can see, although the bias argument might seem appealing at first blush to some, it is quite absurd when you break it down. If you're not already convinced, let me give you one last example. What if California decided to take away women's right to vote - could a female justice not rule on that case because they would be biased in favor of keeping their own constitutional rights?

But you don't have to worry about these absurd right-wing arguments for much longer because conservatives will lose this battle, as they have lost every right civil rights battle they have ever fought in this country. As I explain here:

And as far as whether being gay is an abomination and ruins the institution of marriage, I want you to think about this:

As Judge Walker meticulously explained, there are no rational arguments in favor of denying gay Americans the same rights that straight Americans enjoy. Only irrational ones, like the one that says that it is biased for a gay man in this country to ask for equal protection under the law.

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Would a Black Judge Have Been Biased in Brown v. Board of Education?

US District Judge Vaughn Walker is the judge who issued the ruling that Prop 8, which bans same sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional. Conservatives are now claiming that he is gay (which is unconfirmed at this point) and that his gayness presents an obvious bias. Furthermore, he should have recused himself from the case because as a gay man he would have a conflict of interest in deciding a case on gay rights.

The obvious question is - would a straight man not have a bias? Prop 8 would maintain straight people's monopoly on marriage. Wouldn't a straight person have a conflict of interest in deciding a case about whether they get to have more rights than other people in society? Presumably a lot of straight people voted in California to take away the right of gay people to get married - wouldn't they be biased in favor of protecting their own rights and taking away the rights of gays in California?

How about a devoutly religious judge? If that person believes it is an abomination against God to have gay people get married, wouldn't that create an obvious bias? Should we look into how religious each judge is before we let them decide cases like this? How about Antonin Scalia, who has on many occasions talked about how deeply religious he is? Should he be recused if this case reaches the Supreme Court? Clarence Thomas? Samuel Alito? How many justices will be left to decide this case?

Now, let's think about it a different way. What if there was a black justice on the Supreme Court when they were deciding Brown v. Board of Education? Would he be biased in favor of having the same rights as white Americans? Should he have stepped down from the case because he would obviously want the same constitutional rights as any other American? Bias!!

Of course, there was a black man in the courtroom at the time. The man who was the winning attorney on Brown v. Board of Education and would later become the first ever African-American justice on the Supreme Court - Thurgood Marshall. Should the court have told him that he couldn't litigate the case because it would be biased of him to want the same rights as white people?

Should Marshall have also recused himself from every case that involved race when he was on the Supreme Court? If so, why did the white justices get to rule on those cases?

As you can see, although the bias argument might seem appealing at first blush to some, it is quite absurd when you break it down. If you're not already convinced, let me give you one last example. What if California decided to take away women's right to vote - could a female justice not rule on that case because they would be biased in favor of keeping their own constitutional rights?

But you don't have to worry about these absurd right-wing arguments for much longer because conservatives will lose this battle, as they have lost every right civil rights battle they have ever fought in this country. As I explain here:

And as far as whether being gay is an abomination and ruins the institution of marriage, I want you to think about this:

As Judge Walker meticulously explained, there are no rational arguments in favor of denying gay Americans the same rights that straight Americans enjoy. Only irrational ones, like the one that says that it is biased for a gay man in this country to ask for equal protection under the law.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks

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Ted Olson: Proposition 8 Decision "Judicial Responsibility in its Classic Sense"

Via Think Progress.

In this exchange, Ted Olson, who along with David Boies successfully led the legal challenge that overturned Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California, told Fox News' Chris Wallace that it's not "judicial activism" when a judge follows the Constitution.

"Where is the right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution?" asked Wallace.

"Where is the right to interracial marriage in the Constitution, Chris?" replied Olson.

"The Supreme Court has looked at marriage and has said that the right to marry is a fundamental right for all citizens. So you call it interracial marriage and then you could prohibit it, no? The Supreme Court said no. The same thing here," Olson argued.

"The judge after hearing three weeks of testimony and full day of closing arguments and listening to experts from all over the world concluded that the denial of the right to marry to these individuals in California hurt them and did not advance the cause of opposite sex marriage," Olson added.

"This is what judges are expected to do. It's not judicial activism. It's judicial responsibility in the classic sense," emphasized Olson. 

As Olson and Boies have demonstrated minority rights cannot be subject to popular votes. 

Olson shot down every single argument that Wallace tried to advance. In the end Wallace conceded, “Mr. Olson, we want to thank you so much for joining us today. We’ll keep following your lawsuit. And I gotta say, after your appearance today, I don’t understand how you ever lost a case in the supreme court, sir.”

 

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