I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I just got back from Oregon yesterday afternoon, and I’m about to jump in the car and drive down to Long Beach for a couple days.
Anyway, Darryl did such an excellent job keeping HA running over the weekend that I’ve handed him the keys for another few days to supplement my anticipated meager postings. And just possibly, you might even see post or two from the mysterious “Blogger X”.
HA’s Washington D.C. bureau chief tipped me off to the following from today’s issue of Roll Call:
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) named names Friday, indicating where he believes the committee will be most active this fall. Questioned at a news conference held 102 days before Election Day, Reynolds identified the 14 Republican Members he believes could face the toughest time getting re-elected, and an additional three he is monitoring just in case.
1.2 million Mexicans poured into the streets yesterday — the largest demonstration in Mexican history — supporting leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s election challenge, and demanding a revote in the nation’s disputed presidential election. Yet curiously, our good friend Stefan over at (un)Sound Politics didn’t join them.
Stefan made his blogging career staunchly defending democracy at home and abroad by championing revotes in close elections and seeding distrust of the electoral process in general. Yet apparently, he either dismisses any suggestion of electoral monkey wrenching south of the border… or simply thinks democracy isn’t as important to Mexico as it is to America or say, the Ukraine.
Could it be because Lopez Obrador is a leftist whereas the declared winner, Felipe Calderon is a conservative? Perhaps I’ll ask Stefan when the two of us speak before the Microsoft PAC this afternoon.
Tune in for another jam-packed “The David Goldstein Show” — Newsradio 710-KIRO, from 7PM to 10PM. Here’s the line-up, but as always, things could change depending on breaking news and guest availability.
7PM: Can Democrats win big in red state America? Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana joins me to discuss his own successful efforts to lead Democrats into the majority… and govern. With one of the highest net approval ratings in the nation, I’m guessing we have something to learn from Gov. Schweitzer. I particularly want to talk to Gov. Schweitzer about how he got out in front of state Republicans in issues of taxation, instead of just being reactive like WA Dems tend to be.
8PM: When the state Supreme Court upheld Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act this week, who exactly were they defending marriage from? Why, the gays, of course, especially The Stranger’s Dan Savage, who joins me in the studio to discuss the impact and fallout from the court’s decision. Is Dan’s long term, loving relationship and happy, healthy son a threat to your marriage? If so, give us a call and let him know.
9PM: Was Friday’s shooting at the Jewish Federation of Seattle a hate crime? An act of terrorism? Or just another example of a centuries old history of
Islamic Christian violence? I’m opening the lines to discuss this and other current events. (Whad’ya bet I talk a little bit about Tim Eyman failing to qualify I-917 for the ballot?)
Tune in tonight (or listen to the live stream) and give me a call: 1-877-710-KIRO (5476).
By now you have heard about the shooting of innocent people last Friday in downtown Seattle by a Christian terrorist. And what I want to know is what are we going to do about the rise of Christian terrorism in this country?
Sure, the Seattle Times inadvertently report that Naveed Afzal Haq was a Muslim-American:
A Muslim-American man angry with Israel barged into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Friday afternoon and opened fire with a handgun, killing one woman and wounding five others before surrendering to police.
But now we know the cold, hard, and incontestable fact: Haq was a recent convert to Christianity:
He told friends he felt alienated from his own family, in part because his career had disappointed his father and also because he had disavowed Islam last year, converting to Christianity.
Haq had begun studying the Bible, attending weekly men’s spiritual group meetings, only to stop coming a few months after his baptism.
The group’s leader, Albert Montelongo, said Haq started studying the Bible and in December he underwent a water baptism at the non-denominational church, performed by Montelongo. He said Haq accepted his new faith, though he knew that he would also be offending his own family and its deeply rooted culture.
Whether Haq drew inspiration from online Crusadist preachers, or whether this act of terrorism was funded, organized, or propagated by a local Christian terrorist cell, something must be done.
Don’t misunderstand me, I not one of those eliminationist assholes who think that all Christians should be rounded up and gassed. Even so, how can we expect to live in a civil society with extremists going off and shooting innocent people in the name of Christ. I mean, can’t we just round up the suspicious ones and isolate them in fenced-in camps somewhere in rural New Mexico? We’ll call them “gated communities” so that everyone involved can feel a little more dignity about it. At the very least we should make them wear some type of identifiable mark or article of clothing.
Besides the heinous crimes of killing and injuring people, Haq also committed the crime of blasphemy when the recent convert to Christianity besmirched Islam during his rampage by claiming he was an angry Muslim. (In fact, he hasn’t been practicing Islam since 1994.) It’s always the new converts to a religion who are the most fanatical, but trying to pin this on his forsaken religion is beyond the pale….
Sure…there will be apologists who will point out that Mr. Haq suffered from bipolar disorder, that he had a previous arrest for anti-social behavior (exposing himself at a shopping mall), that he was well-educated but minimally employed at a Home Depot, that he felt isolated from his family after renouncing Islam, that he was lonely, that he badly wanted a romantic relationship, that he suffered discrimination as a brown-skinned person with a suspicious-sounding name in a lilly-white Pacific Northwest, or that all he desperately wanted was to “fit in.” Some have even suggested that his job led him to “go Depot.”
All of these are excuses made by touchie-feelie liberals who refuse to accept that America is under siege by Christian terrorists. The man knew exactly what he was doing—he trained in his violent idology and weapons for months before fulfilling his holy mission.
As you might expect, Jewish and Islamic groups were quick to condemn the violence against their people and their religions.
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, issued a statement calling the shootings a “senseless attack on a religious institution.”
“The American Muslim and Jewish communities must do whatever is within their power to prevent the current conflict in the Middle East from being transplanted to this country,” the council said.
And the Arab-American community also condemned the attack.
What I want to know is this: where is the outrage from Christian groups? These groups are complicit through their silence and inaction when one of their own goes on a killing spree against members of another religion.
How Haq is prosecuted—what punishment is sought, what excuses are made and accepted for his violence, and the outcome after all appeals are exhausted—will speak loudly to our society’s true tolerance for Christian terrorists in our midst.
N in Seattle took a look through candidate filing lists from the Secretary of State and King County today. As he expected, some of the usual suspects showed up—like perennial candidate Mike the Mover.
The real surprise is that Richard Pope turns up as a candidate! It really shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Mr. Pope, like Mike the Mover, is a perennial candidate. But I was surprised because Pope, when asked by Wayne in an HA comment thread if he was running against Chambers (last Friday at 12:47 pm) replied that he “won’t be travelling to Olympia today (i.e. Friday, July 28, 2006).”
Wayne astutely observed that “[y]ou can file on-line now, so you don’t have to go to Olympia. Not that I am trying to give you any ideas, but your non-denial was not necessarily a denial.”
Another way to interpret Richard’s statement is that he had already gone to Olympia (i.e. Thursday, July 28, 2006) and filed. I would be shocked, shocked(!!), I tell you, if Richard had intentionally mislead all of his friends here.
In any event, Richard Pope is running for Position No.2 in King County District Court’s Northeast Electoral District against incumbent Mary Ann Ottinger.
Judge Ottinger received some media attention recently because she was censured by the State Supreme Court:
The state Supreme Court censured a King County district court judge and suspended her without pay for 30 days.
The court’s unanimous order, disciplining Judge Mary Ann Ottinger of Issaquah, came on the recommendation of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. In May, the commission found a pattern of improper conduct by Ottinger concerning defendants’ rights to be advised of their legal rights.
Why was Pope being so coy about his candidacy last Friday a few hours before the deadline to file? It could be that Wayne’s comment did set off a light bulb in Pope’s head, and he filed over the internet at the last minute. But I suspect that Pope had already filed. He believed that this race would be a cakewalk and didn’t want anyone else to get the same idea. Given Ottinger’s recent bad publicity, Pope felt the race would be his for the taking if he were Ottinger’s only opponent.
In the end, it is not clear how important Ottinger’s censure will be to the outcome of the election. Her violations happened several years ago, and the Commission said that since 2005, Ottinger has run a “model courtroom.” She just needed a little remedial training.
Unfortunately for Richard, a third candidate, Frank V. LaSalata, also filed for this position. There is good news and bad news for Richard Pope about this other opponent: If, as N in Seattle points out, this person is the very same Frank V. LaSalata, it means that both of Richard’s opponents have prior judicial experience. The good new for Richard is that Judge LaSalata also committed errors in discharging his duties as Judge.
Perhaps Richard’s chances will improve if he can get another endorsement like this from Goldy :
For Position 4, I’m standing by my man: perennial candidate and HA regular Richard Pope. Sure, Richard’s a little nutty, and he’s probably unqualified for the job, but he’s got a couple good points to make about the Port being a drain on taxpayers, and what the hell… he doesn’t stand a chance of winning anyway. If you really don’t want to throw away your vote, Jack Jolley’s your man… but I’m voting for Richard.
My question for Richard is this: will you follow McGavick’s lead and promise to run a positive campaign?
I mean, you won’t be going all negative on your opponents now, will you?
Note: Expect language and concepts compatible with a title like “the greatest dirty joke ever told.”
(Source: TG Political Wire.)
Here is your chance to fling some poo. Need some topics to vent about? How about these:
Where does Mike!™ McGavick stand on CAFE standards? Last month, Mike!™ was caught telling a little white lie about both his and Senator Cantwell’s positions on CAFE standards.
In doing so, Mike!™ signaled that he is, apparently, for increased CAFE standards.
But on July 7th during his Open Mike!™ event in Forks, McGavick did a little McFlip-flop on CAFE standards:
Government can put more pressure on Detroit and Tokyo and the other auto manufacturers to raise up the average efficiency of our cars and to make them able to use alternative fuels. The only thing there is we shouldn’t have politicians setting what the number is.
So… Mike!™ was for increased CAFE standards before he was against them.
But then while doing an Open Mike!™ event in Moses Lake on July 22, McGavick was recorded as saying:
But what should the government do beyond investing? It should make sure that Big Oil-first of all we got to get rid of these royalty tax breaks to Big Oil, it makes no sense at all. Put that money into the research and development of these other fuels, and we should make sure Big Oil cannot prevent alternative fuels from getting to market. Right? They’ve got a big infrastructure advantage. They can’t use that to prevent these alternative fuels from being accessed by us, and we should jack up CAFE standards on the auto industry, make their cars more efficient and flexible for different kinds of fuels.
So… Mike!™ was for increased CAFE standards before he was against them, before he was for them.
Stay tuned. It’s no wonder that the Democrats send a guy around to video tape each of his Open Mike!™ events!
Speaking of Mike!™ and flip-flops, the Seattle Times published his position on Social Security. As Joshua Marshall at Talking Points Memo points out “[h]e actually manages to flip-flop within the same statement:”
[McGavick] does not support privatization or a phasing-out of Social Security….He would give younger workers the option of placing their benefits in voluntary personal accounts controlled by the federal government. This would help restore confidence in the system and ensure its solvency.
WTF? Did somebody forget to tell Mike!™ that a mic was on? (Hat tip: Thehim.)
The Secretary of State’s (SOS) office announced today that Lyin’ Eyman’s most recent $30 car tab initiative (or YATDCT—”Yet Another Thirty Dollar Car Tab” initiative) failed the random signature test.
In order to qualify for the ballot, 224,880 valid signatures from registered voters are needed. The SOS office recently documented that Eyman turned in only 266,006 signatures prior to validation.
The embarrassingly low number of signature prompted Eyman to launch into an attack on the SOS office, claiming that the office had lost signatures. Furthermore, Eyman claimed that the SOS office provided him with a receipt for 300,353 signatures on the very day that signatures were turned in. In the end, Eyman’s “evidence” amounted to little more than this scrap of paper.
The SOS office describes the “receipt incident” this way:
On July 7, 2006, the deadline for submitting signatures, the sponsors of I-917 returned and submitted additional petitions to the Elections Division.
After submitting the petitions at the Elections Division offices, Mr. Eyman immediately went to the Capitol Building to hold a press conference in the lobby of the Office of Secretary of State to announce the submission of petitions on I-917.
At that press conference, and while election workers were counting the pages on this initiative a few blocks away, Mr. Eyman presented to the receptionist at the front desk a piece of notebook paper with the number 300,353 handwritten on it and requested that the receptionist date stamp the notebook paper as received by the Office of Secretary of State.
The receptionist did date stamp the notebook paper but because the cameras did not capture that event, Mr. Eyman asked the receptionist to stamp the paper a second time so the cameras could capture the event.
Rather than submitting the document to the receptionist after the stamping process, Mr. Eyman took the document back and turned to the press to announce that the Office of Secretary of State had just verified receipt of 300,353
At the time of the press conference, the Elections Division was in the process of counting the pages on I-917 at the Elections Division. The Office of Secretary of State did not know at that time how many pages or signatures were being submitted that day.
Uh-huh. Who would have guessed…Eyman lying about that original receipt?
The low number of signatures means that, at most, 15.46% of the signatures can be invalid. The SOS office did an initial estimate of invalid signatures using the ‘”random sample” process authorized by state law:’
Election officials examined 10,819 ( or a 4% sample) on I-917. From that inspection, it was determined that the measure had an invalidation rate, including duplicates, of 17.96%.
State law requires that the OSOS now conduct a full check of every signature submitted for Initiative 917. The full check will begin immediately following the completion of the random check of Initiatives 920, 933, and 937.
How likely is it that the full check will result in enough signatures to qualify? Not very. If we can assume that signatures were truely selected at random, a standard statistical test puts the odds at well under 100,000 to 1 that the true signature error rate is less than 15.46%.
Better luck next year, Timmy.
I’m out’a here for the weekend, kinda sorta camping, and believe it or not I’ve decided to go sans computer. Darryl has graciously agreed to post in my absence, so please show him a kind, HA welcome, and hurl your insults and death threats at him for the next couple days, not me.
And a heads up… I’ll be back in time for Sunday night’s show on 710-KIRO. Joining me in the 7PM hour will be Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, and at 8PM The Stranger’s Dan Savage and Eli Sanders will be in the studio discussing the fallout from this week’s Supreme Court decision upholding our state’s ban on gay marriage.
Senator John Edwards is committed to helping as many candidates as possible before November. He has already raised $6.65 million for Democrats and attended fundraisers for strong congressional candidates in more than a dozen states this election cylce.
This fall, he will headline fundraisers for two Democrats running for the House who have been selected by our online community. You decide who those candidates will be.
Vote for the candidates who will work hard to build One America that works for all of us. Choose among districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
From The Hill:
The House GOP leadership is helping Republican lawmakers who have tough reelection battles by letting them take the lead on more legislation.
Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was quick to congratulate freshman Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) yesterday after the House approved his bill to improve communications between emergency first responders.
It was obviously a hard fought, controversial bill, considering it passed 424-2. No wonder it took Reichert nearly two years to shepherd this important piece of legislation out of committee and to the floor. All that arm twisting takes time.
Anyway, I trust the local press to keep this bill in context.
“The House leadership is very cognizant of the members that need to boast about being effective,” one Republican lobbyist with business before the Financial Services Committee wrote in an e-mail. “Passing their bills is one way to prove that.”
That’s right, the House Republican leadership understands that Reichert needs to boast about being effective. Hmm. I wonder why?
Journalist, political strategist and blogger David Sirota will be at Seattle’s Town Hall tomorrow night (July 27 at 7:30 PM) speaking about and signing his bestselling book, Hostile Takeover: How Big Money & Corruption Conquered Our Government–and How We Take It Back. Admission is $5 at the door.
Sirota is a former spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, and a senior political strategist on the campaign of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. He is also a senior editor at In These Times, a contributor to The Nation and a regular guest on The Al Franken Show.
I had him on my radio show last Sunday and really regret I didn’t have more time and fewer breaks. Hostile Takeover is a great book that will not only infuriate you, but will give you useful instructions on how to help take our country back.
“There’s no such thing as bad press. That’s just the reality.”
– Tim Eyman, June 5, Spokane Spokesman-Review
“I know that government can sometimes screw up, but I know that you can sometimes screw up. And I know that government can sometimes be dishonest, but I know you can sometimes be dishonest.”
– KVI host John Carlson to Tim Eyman, 07/24/06
Professional initiative sponsor Tim Eyman had lied to reporters once again, and man were they pissed off.
It was June 5, just one day before the deadline to turn in signatures for R-65, a referendum that would have put a repeal of our state’s gay civil rights statute on the November ballot. Tim had announced he would be dropping off petitions at the Secretary of State’s office, implying that a last minute push had gathered the requisite signatures. I suppose that would have been big news, so a sizable crowd of print, radio and TV reporters showed up for the event, many driving all the way from Seattle to Olympia that morning, cameras in tow.
But it was classic bait and switch. There were no R-65 petitions to be dropped off that morning (or ever.) Instead, ridiculously garbed in a rented Darth Vader costume, Tim mocked the assembled throng of journalists, refusing to answer questions about R-65 in favor of plugging I-917, his anti-Sound Transit initiative.
“Feel like you’ve been duped?” Eyman associate Mike Fagan asked reporters. “Well, you have.”
This wasn’t the first time Eyman had blatantly lied to the media — hell, it wasn’t even the first time he’d called a press conference under false pretenses. But while the journalists that day were openly hostile, Tim was unapologetic. To Tim, any stunt, any lie, is worth it if it gets his name in print or his face in front of the cameras. “There’s no such thing as bad press,” Tim told reporters that day, repeating a maxim that has defined his career. “That’s just the reality.”
The problem is, Tim and reality have been on tenuous terms for quite some time. It is one thing to spout simplistic, absolutist talking points when promoting a ballot measure, but it’s another thing entirely to actually start believing them. In fact, there is such a thing as bad press, and this week Tim has been receiving it in spades. And from some unlikely sources.
When Eyman turned in the petitions for I-917 he claimed to have collected over 300,000 signatures, more than enough cushion to virtually guarantee qualifying for the November ballot. Yet as I reported last week, Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office counted only 266,000… a number that puts the initiative on the bubble. Well, on Monday, Timmy held an early morning press conference to essentially accuse Reed — a fellow Republican — of losing or stealing 35,000 signatures.
And… well… apparently, nobody believes him. (Tim, that is.)
And I mean nobody. As the Seattle Times’ David Postman pointedly observed, even the reliably knee-jerk pages of (un)Sound Politics dumped on Tim, with the alliteratively named Eric Earling gently calling attention to Eyman’s “problems with the truth” while our good friend Stefan could only muster a meek rebuttal by accusing his co-blogger of inheriting an establishment position on transportation issues, but ignoring Earling’s critique of Tim’s honesty.
But it was in his formerly safe refuge of conservative talk radio where Timmy suffered the most abuse from hosts and callers alike. My 710-KIRO colleague Dori Monson, who is normally pretty quick to blame government incompetency and dishonesty for everything from moral decline to his morning halitosis, clearly wasn’t buying Timmy’s explanation that it was Reed who screwed up. And KVI’s John Carlson, who has worked with Eyman on past initiatives, all but accused Tim of lying. No wait… he did accuse Tim of lying.
I was particularly amused to hear Eyman talk about his own “meticulous record keeping” as evidence that it is his signature count that we should blindly trust rather than that of the SOS… incredible hubris coming from the guy who infamously couldn’t keep his personal finances separate from his campaign finances. But even funnier still is the fact that Eyman’s claims of “weekly reports” and “meticulous record keeping” is directly contradicted by his own statements in regard to R-65.
He wasn’t turning in any petitions. In fact, he said he didn’t know how many signatures had been gathered so far.
“Frankly, we have no idea,” Eyman said, standing there in his knee boots, cape and plastic codpiece. He then launched into a public appeal for supporters to bring their petitions to Olympia.
“Frankly, we have no idea.” And that was the day before the June 6 signature deadline. Yeah… talk about meticulous record keeping.
So either Tim is lying about his meticulous recording keeping now, or he was lying about not having meticulous record keeping then. Either way, he’s a liar. Which I suppose explains why those who know Tim best — you know, people like John Carlson — simply don’t believe him.
All this makes Eyman’s sugar daddy, Michael Dunmire look particularly naive, paranoid and foolish.
Naive? Dunmire, who says he’s preparing to write another $100,000 check to Eyman’s personal compensation fund, told Postman that he’s absolutely confident of the weekly signature reports he saw.
“They keep track. They live and die by them. They’re not wrong.”
Paranoid? What explains the 35,000 signature discrepancy?
“There are a lot of entities that don’t want I-917. They have their own techniques. They send out goon squads to intimidate petitioners. That never gets covered. We play it straight up.”
Foolish? When asked how much money he’d given Eyman this year, Dunmire wasn’t sure:
“Haven’t a clue. When I get a compulsion and think that’s a good place to make a contribution, I write a check. And I don’t keep track.”
He doesn’t keep track? How the fuck did this guy get to be a multi-millionaire?
So here we have an admitted liar who claims he has “no idea” how many signatures he has the day before they’re due, financed by some clueless rich guy who doesn’t “keep track” of the checks he writes… and he acts surprised when we take the word of Secretary of State Sam Reed over his?
The only question I have is not if Eyman is lying about the signature count, but when he started lying about it… and I can’t help but suspect that he knew he was shorting the SOS the day he turned in the petitions. For one of the more bizarre elements of this story is the small piece of notebook paper, date stamped by an SOS clerk, on which Tim hand wrote the number “300,353″… a document Tim calls a “receipt” that verifies his count.
Yeah, right. As if we’re all a bunch of idiots.
I’ve watched Tim turn in petitions for past initiatives, and I’ve never seen him provide or ask for a signature count “receipt” like this before. In fact, I asked Election Director Nick Handy if to his recollection this was standard practice for Eyman or any other initiative sponsor. Handy wrote back:
We are not familiar with Tim Eyman requesting a stamp on a document like this in the past, nor are we familiar with any other sponsors requesting this.
I understand that he was requesting the receptionist at Secretary of State’s Office in the Capitol Building to stamp this while he knew our staff was actually counting the pages at the Elections Office a few blocks away. So, he knew at the time that our office did not know how many signatures were being submitted.
So, um… if Eyman had never asked for a receipt like this before, and he knew that the Elections Office didn’t yet know the number of signatures… why did he bother having this document date stamped?
Because he thinks we’re all a bunch of idiots, that’s why. Because he knew he was short, and he knew he needed something to wave in front of reporters so that he could claim that he was being cheated. Because he thinks the press and the public are as dumb as his patron Michael Dunmire, some rich guy with the gall to think he knows best how to balance a state budget when he doesn’t even bother to balance his own checkbook.
In the end it’s not the lying that’s earning Tim all the bad press — reporters have long known he’s a liar. No, what’s pissing off journalists is that Tim is deliberately wasting their time, disrespecting their profession and insulting their intelligence.
Few people know more about what it takes to qualify an initiative for the ballot than John Carlson — indeed, it was John who saved Tim’s ass on I-200. And yet Tim had the nerve to go on John’s show and wave that scrap of paper around like it was meaningful? Tim had the gall to challenge John when asked why he didn’t photocopy his petitions… like every other experienced initiative sponsor does? Tim treated John and his audience like idiots, and they took him to the mat.
I have been criticized for vilifying Tim Eyman the man while his initiatives have continued to prove popular at the polls (though I should point out that in the three elections since I’ve come on the scene, Tim has only passed a single measure, the largely superfluous I-900.) And while it is true that most voters don’t cast their ballots based on who the initiative sponsor is, this critique misses the role of the press in promoting Eyman and his initiatives, particularly the inexplicable generosity our state’s newspapers have shown in granting him celebrity-status access to their op/ed pages.
Tim has repeatedly lied on his petitions, lied to voters, lied to his own contributors, and unapologetically lied to the press. It begs the question: at what point will Eyman’s credibility be so tarnished — so utterly destroyed — that op/ed editors finally start rejecting his frequent guest column submissions the way they do those of nearly every other crank and political crackpot?
Perhaps, that point has been reached now?
Five to four upholding DOMA. Madsen, Alexander, C. Johnson, J. Johnson and Sanders in the majority; Fairhurst, Chambers, Owens and Bridge dissent.
I’m still reading through the opinions, and I emphasize the plural because there are a lot of them. Justice Barbara Madsen wrote the
majority plurality opinion to which Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and Justice Charles Johnson signed on in concurrence. Chief Justice Alexander then added a brief concurring opinion stating that nothing in Madsen’s opinion should be construed to cast doubt on the right of the legislature or the people to broaden the definition of marriage.
All this wasn’t good enough though for Justices Jim Johnson and Richard Sanders, who had to produce their own separate concurring opinion (authored by Johnson) berating the rest of the court for even giving the subject serious thought.
This is a difficult case only if a court disregards the text and history of the state and federal constitutions and laws in order to write new laws for our State’s citizens. Courts are not granted such powers under our constitutional system. Our oath requires us to uphold the constitution and laws, not rewrite them.
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and every Washington citizen has a constitutional right to enter into such a marriage, 1 subject only to limited regulation under the police power (for example, restricting underage or close family marriage). This understanding of marriage has been continuously recognized throughout the history of the United States and of the state of Washington, including Washington territorial law. The unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing has defined the institution at common law and in statutory codes and express constitutional provisions of many states.
So I guess what Johnson is saying is that it’s irresponsible to rear children in a same-sex household? This is the kind of moralistic, authoritarian court the BIAW and the religious right are trying to buy.
Finally there were three separate dissenting opinions from Justices Mary Fairhurst, Tom Chambers and Bobbe Bridge. Fairhurst wrote a passionate dissent, signed on to by Justices Susan Owens, Bridge and Chambers. Here are a few of the juicier excerpts:
The plurality and concurrence condone blatant discrimination against Washington’s gay and lesbian citizens in the name of encouraging procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, and the raising of children in homes headed by opposite-sex parents, while ignoring the fact that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has no prospect of furthering any of those interests.
The relevant question is not whether same-sex marriage is so rooted in our traditions that it is a fundamental right, but whether the freedom to choose one’s own life partner is so rooted in our traditions.
Unfortunately, the plurality and concurrence are willing to turn a blind eye to DOMA’s discrimination because a popular majority still favors that discrimination.
Fairhurst then closes by quoting Justice Brandeis: “We must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles.”
I concur. (With Brandeis.)
Man there’s a lot of stuff to read here, and I’m no constitutional scholar, so I’m not really in a position to provide an authoritative analysis on legal grounds. However, I must say that I am disappointed, though not surprised.
Perhaps common law and our Constitution do give us the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians in this way. I would hope not, but perhaps they do. And if so, that just strikes me as a sad injustice.
Civil marriage is a contract that confers certain legal rights on the participants, and I simply cannot see how same-sex marriage in any way threatens the rights of heterosexual couples. At the same time, same-sex couples will continue to live together and raise children as if they were legally married, regardless of this decision, and it’s hard to understand the state’s interest in denying these families the same rights accorded to others.
Essentially, Justice Fairhurst is correct. The Court just upheld the right of the state to discriminate against gays and lesbians. If those who are offended, disturbed or even disgusted by homosexuality want to celebrate this decision, well, that’s up to them.
Personally, I’m disappointed.
The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight (and every Tuesday), 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. I’ll be there with parched lips.
I’m particularly looking forward to getting back on the podcast after the
fogies boomers took it over last week. Betcha we speculate about tomorrow’s Supreme Court ruling on WA’s Defense of Marriage Act.
Oh… and if you happen to be a liberal drinker on the other side of the mountains I received an email from Jim this morning. Apparently it’s “freaking hot” out there so the Tri-Cities chapter of DL is meeting an hour later tonight, at 8 PM, Atomic Ale, 1015 Lee Blvd., in Richland.
David Postman says that tomorrow morning the Washington state Supreme Court will release its long-awaited decision on a challenge to the state’s Defense of Marriage Act.
The decision will not only set the stage for another round of political wrangling over gay marriage, it will give court-watchers a great opportunity to see how the justices handle the most contentious issue this court has dealt with.
Hmm. I’m not sure if the timing of the decision, coming before the election, hints at what’s coming.
Just received an email from The Olympian:
At 11 a.m. Thursday, The Olympian will hold an online chat with state Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, and state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, about Wednesday morning’s gay marriage ruling by the state Supreme Court. Big implications, obviously, for this fall’s elections, next year’s state Legislature session and even Congress.
Submit us questions for Swecker and Murray at http://www.theolympian.com/legacy/livechat/prechat2.shtml
Oh, and a heads up, The Stranger’s Dan Savage and Eli Sanders will be joining me Sunday night at 8PM to discuss the same subject on 710-KIRO.