Docket #15-012: Lawmaking with Dignity

Coming up this episode:

  • California’s legislature has sent a bill legalizing end of life treatment to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, a Catholic who once planned to become a priest. Whether he will sign or veto the bill is a mystery, which I assume will soon be added to the Rosary;
  • A Texas judge sentences a man to marry his girlfriend or face jail time; because, you know, family values.
  • The Oklahoma Capitol preservation Society has again been ordered to remove a ten commandments monument from the capitol grounds. Naturally, the group sees this new court order as persecution and a violation of the Establishment Clause. And no, that was not a typo.
  • And, lastly, the “Teens React To…” web series may soon have one more topic for their videos.

I’m Oliver, I just made a joke that only the tiniest segment of lapsed Catholics will get, and you’re listening to episode 15-012 of All Too Common Law.

  • Paul

    I’m the two cases involving Ten Commandments displays, I’m not sure you were correct to say a majority of justices believed that the length of time the unconstitutional display existed prior was significantly important.

    I’m not sure on the details of the splits, but my guess is merely one justice felt that was an important metric. Assuming the four liberals voted one way and the four conservatives voted the other — same in both cases — then probably just Justice Kennedy felt the 50 year tradition of violating the first amendment was worth changing his mind over.

    Is this correct?

    • Oliver_W_H

      Having now re-read the opinion, you’re correct that I overstated the importance of the age of the monument to the cases, though it was Breyer, not Kennedy, who felt the then-40-year history of the monument was vital.

      This really demonstrates the fallibility of human memory, and that I should re-read even the cases that I think I definitely have a handle on before I mention them in an episode, because when I first saw your comment I swore up and down that the majority opinion in one of the cases directly mentions the other and the difference between the histories of the two particular monuments. That is not the case.

      All that being said, this latest case, concerning the Oklahoma monument, still appears to be indistinguishable from the Kentucky monument. Not only is it brand new, but, in contrast to the Texas monument, it appears to stand alone on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol, and is placed as close to the Capitol entrance as the Capitol Preservation Society could manage without taking up the actual walkway up to the building.

      Regardless, it looks like it’s time for another correction section in the podcast.

      • Paul

        Hah not even necessary–I think the way the comment was meant was how it was taken. Reading back now I think I was feeling particularly pedantic when I wrote that.

        • Well, I went ahead and threw in a correction anyway.