Month Archives: May 2009

Research on “Sexting” from the Medical Institute

by Moira Gaul

May 29, 2009

The May 2009 newsletter from the Medical Institute contains valuable information for parents about “Sexting” - meaning the posting or sending of sexually suggestive electronic images and messages:

A recent survey of a nationally representative sample of 653 teens, aged 13 to 19, and 627 young adults, aged 20 to 26, compiles information on ‘sexting.’ The survey reported that one in five teens and one in three young adults have sent or posted semi-nude or nude images of themselves in cyberspace. Half of the teens and young adults have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages. This trend is surprising since nearly 3/4 of teens and young adults acknowledged that sending such images and messages “can have serious negative consequences.” The most commonly listed negative consequences were regret (79%), potential embarrassment (73%), bad reputation (69%), and disappointing family (57%).

This edition of the Medical Institute’s newsletter also discusses new research underscoring previous research findings that sexual activity in adolescents is influenced by what they watch on TV. Read the whole thing.

David Souter: Unsung and Unhung

by Robert Morrison

May 29, 2009

Nineteen years on the U.S. Supreme Court and David Souter retires like Rodney Dangerfield: He gets no respect. When the liberal press does praise him, it’s for his logic. Really? Let’s parse the premier sample of his logic. He’s credited with the co-authorship of what has been termed the “Mystery of Life” passage in the 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Justice Scalia has made wicked sport of this passage. “Ah, the sweet mystery of life passage…” he says—and then he pounces: “…the passage that ate the rule of law.” Ate it, the co-authors-Souter, O’Connor, and Kennedy—did indeed.

If we analyze that passage, we understand that it must be written about abortion. If we applied it to any other area of life or law, we would instantly take it for the absurdity it is.

Do we really accord everyone the right to define his own concept of existence? Do we then permit all to act upon their self-defined concept of existence?

It may seem harmless for a shortish gentleman in knee breeches, his hand in his waistcoat, and a spit curl in the center of his forehead to think he’s the Emperor Napoleon. But if he actually acts upon his self-defined concept of existence by invading Russia, we go after him with a net.

Imagine, for a moment, we catch Osama bin Laden today. By this evening, he’ll be assigned a government lawyer. Suppose that lawyer has read Justice David Souter’s logical prose in Casey. How could we then prosecute the furry terrorist for his crimes? Was he not simply defining his own concept of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life? Suppose one’s concept of the universe is a universe without Israel or the U.S.? That’s “the heart of liberty” for Ahmadinejad and his supporting cast of mullahs in Tehran. Who are we to say they’re wrong?

So much for the vaunted logic of Justice David Souter. It’s curious, too, that of the three co-authors of the “plurality opinion” in Casey, neither Souter, nor Sandra Day O’Connor, nor Anthony Kennedy seems to have stepped forward to claim sole credit for that passage of supreme silliness.

Prof. Paul Kengor of Grove City College followed the Souter nomination and his long years of gray eminence on the high court. Kengor read the memoirs of former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman. (You know that Prof. Kengor must be a serious scholar. Has anyone else ever read the memoirs of Warren Rudman?) Dr. Kengor describes Rudman’s encounter with Sen. Joe Biden. They met the day in 1992 when Souter joined his colleagues in issuing the Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling that kept abortion-on-demand legal in America:

As fate would have it, Sen. Rudman and Sen. Joe Biden bumped into each other at the train station, not in Washington, DC but in Wilmington, Delaware.

At first, I didn’t see Joe; then I spotted him waving at me from far down the platform,” Rudman later recorded in his memoirs, Combat: Twelve Years in the U.S. Senate. “Joe had agonized over his vote for David, and I knew how thrilled he must be. We started running through the crowd toward each other, and when we met, we embraced, laughing and crying.”

An ecstatic Biden wept tears of joy, telling Rudman over and over: “You were right about him [Souter]! … You were right!”

The two men were so jubilant, so giddy-practically dancing-that Rudman said onlookers thought they were crazy: “[B]ut we just kept laughing and yelling and hugging each other because sometimes, there are happy endings.”

You were right, Biden told Rudman. What did Rudman tell his fellow New Hampshireman, Gov. John Sununu? Sununu was the White House Chief of Staff. What did Sununu tell President George H.W. Bush? We know what Bush told us. Somewhere in this shabby tale, someone is lying. Rudman knew what Souter thought about abortion. Rudman told Biden.

I didn’t know what Souter thought—about abortion or about almost anything else. The man was close to being a blank slate. He sailed through his confirmation hearings mouthing platitudes. I recall watching the faces of the pro-life lobbyists outside the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room. I looked at one of them for some sign. What I got was a look of complete exasperation. Who knows?

My wife knew, or at least she figured it out pretty quickly. Sitting across the breakfast table the Saturday after Souter was confirmed to the high court, my good wife snipped a little squib from the “Style” section of The Washington Post and silently handed it to me. It read: “Newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice David Souter went grocery shopping in his new neighborhood of Georgetown this week.” What I read next caused my heart to sink: “He asked the cashier at the corner market if the can of tuna he’d just bought was ‘dolphin safe.’”

As an ex-Coast Guardsman, I had helped enforce federal laws against the killing of whales and dolphins. I supported those laws out of a heart’s conviction. But I was experienced enough in politics to know that most of those who are vocal about saving the whales are blithely unconcerned about harpooning unborn children.

So David Souter proved to be. Tens of millions of extinguished human lives later, he exits the court—not a minute too soon. Souter’s departure brings to mind Churchill’s dismissal of a long-forgotten foe: “He escapes unsung and unhung.”

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

May 28, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Same-Sex Marriage is Not Like Interracial Marriage

by Peter Sprigg

May 27, 2009

On May 27, prominent attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies (best known as one another’s opponents in Bush v. Gore, the court case regarding the disputed 2000 presidential election) announced that on May 22 they had filed a federal lawsuit seeking to establish a right to same-sex “marriage” nationwide under the U. S. Constitution.

In a press release and press conference, they cited as precedent the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in the case of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down laws against interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S., 12; online ). They claimed that because of this precedent, homosexuals must be “guaranteed the right to marry the person they love.”

However, the U. S. Supreme Court in Loving never described the issue in that case as an unrestricted “right to marry the person they love.” Instead, it said that “the freedom of choice to marry [cannot] be restricted by invidious racial discrimination.”

The comparison between interracial marriage and same-sex “marriage” was concisely refuted in a 2003 Indiana court decision rejecting the claim of a right to homosexual “marriage.” As the judge noted,

Unlike anti-miscegenation laws, restrictions against same-sex marriage reinforce, rather than disrupt, the traditional understanding of marriage as a unique relationship between a woman and a man. Marriage traditionally and definitionally has had to do with the sex of each participant… . Anti-miscegenation laws, because they interfered with the traditional marriage relationships in pursuit of opprobrious racial segregation policies, had no legitimate connection to the institution of marriage itself. Loving in no way held that the right to marry means the right to marry whomever one wishes. Its import is far more focused: that whatever else marriage is about, it is not about racial segregation. (Morrison v. Sadler, Marion County, Indiana Superior Court, May 7, 2003; online)

The strong legal basis for the distinction was described by another court that rejected a homosexual challenge to marriage laws, this one in New Jersey:

Plaintiffs’ reliance on decisions striking down statutes that prohibit interracial marriage is misplaced. These decisions derive from Constitutional amendments prohibiting racial discrimination and subjecting laws that classify individuals based on race to the highest level of scrutiny. No similar Constitutional provisions outlaw statutory classifications based on sexual orientation … . Comparing the State’s marriage statutes to laws perpetuating racial prejudice, therefore, is inapposite.

Individuals challenging bans on interracial marriage had a powerful weapon: Federal Constitutional provisions, passed by Congress and adopted by State Legislatures, that expressly prohibited States from denying recognized rights based on race. It was entirely appropriate for the courts to enforce those duly enacted Constitutional provisions by striking down statutes that made race a qualifying condition for access to a recognized right to marry. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, assert their claims in the absence of express Constitutional provisions supporting their position, and ask the court to circumvent the Legislative process by creating a right that has never before been recognized in this country.

The mandate for racial equality is firmly enshrined in both the Federal and State Constitutions. Importantly, two amendments to the United States Constitution expressly address racial equality [the 13th and 14th]… .

The Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia is predicated entirely on the Fourteenth Amendment’s prohibition of racial classifications… .

No similar Constitutional provision accords heightened protection to individuals who claim that statutes discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation… .

… [P]laintiffs … lack the significant legal foundation that was available to the plaintiffs in Loving to demand judicial recognition of the rights they seek.

(Lewis v. Harris, Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County, November 5, 2003; online )

The Associate Justice from Cardinal Spellman?

by Michael Fragoso

May 27, 2009

Say what you will about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, her personal story is a compelling one. From the sickly daughter of a widow in the South Bronx projects to the Pyne Prize at Princeton, the Yale Law School, and almost two decades as a federal judge is a remarkable journey. Yet, one should ask how much of Judge Sotomayor’s success “against-the-odds” came from her high-quality preparation at in the Catholic school system. Would her story have turned out differently had she attended a soon-to-be-blighted South Bronx public high school rather than the rigorous Cardinal Spellman?

That said, how many future Sonia Sotomayors are among the 1,715 DC students currently enrolled in private and parochial schools through the DC Opportunity Scholarship voucher program? How many will still be given the same chance to excel once the program is terminated in 2010? If President Obama is serious about the importance of Judge Sotomayor’s biography, he should work even harder to make sure that DC children from similar backgrounds can have the same opportunities.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

May 27, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Sotomayor: A Policy Maker or a Jurist?

by JP Duffy

May 26, 2009

Here is Tony Perkins’ statement on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sotomayer. Her record makes one wonder… is she a legislator or a jurist?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2009 CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

Sotomayor: A Policy Maker or a Jurist?

Washington, D.C.- This morning President Obama announced his nominee to the nation’s highest court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over a judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.

Judge Sotomayor’s failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.

With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the ‘rule of law,’ but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.

For example, in 2001 when delivering the Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California-Berkeley Law School, Sotomayor stated: ‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’

Needless to say, that statement is troubling - if not offensive - on many levels. As the distinguished legal reporter Stuart Taylor of the National Journal observed about that speech and of Sotomayor, ‘her thinking is representative of the Democratic Party’s powerful identity-politics wing.’

In a 2005 panel discussion at the Duke University Law School that can be seen on YouTube and cable news channels, the judge stated that the U.S. Court of Appeals is ‘where policy is made.’

With all due respect to Judge Sotomayor, our constitution states otherwise and public surveys indicate that the American public understands this constitutional principle and want judges who interpret the law and do not act as life-tenured judicially empowered social workers.

The Family Research Council expects the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the entire Senate to fully examine and publicly present an accurate picture of Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy to the American public before they vote on her nomination.”

-30-

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

May 26, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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