Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthright Citizenship

Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President, contends that if a child is born in the United States but the parents are undocumented immigrants, then the child is not a citizen of the United States. Several other Republican candidates for President have jumped on his bandwagon against "birthright citizenship." Are they right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Follow the Law": Ohio Judges Must Perform Same-Sex Marriages

On Friday, August 7, the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct issued an opinion entitled "Judicial Performance of Civil Marriages of Same-Sex Couples." The Board ruled:
A judge who exercises the authority to perform civil marriages may not refuse to perform same-sex marriages while continuing to perform opposite-sex marriages. A judge may not delcine to perform all marriages in order to avoid marrying same-sex couples based on his or personal, moral, or religious beliefs.
The Board's opinion is available at http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Boards/BOC/Advisory_Opinions/2015/Op_15-001.pdf.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Could the IRS Deny Tax-Exempt Status to Religious Schools That Discriminate on the Basis of Sexual Orientation?

No, not at this time. In my opinion, the courts would allow the Internal Revenue Service to deny tax-exempt status to religious schools that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation only if Congress made such discrimination in education illegal. If Congress does that, then of course no school that engages in acts of illegal discrimination should be entitled to claim tax-exempt status.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

If Income Distribution Were Fair, Income Redistribution Wouldn't Be Necessary

Economic conservatives decry the redistribution of wealth through tax and spending programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, and they have a point. Is it fair to rob Peter to pay Paul? They also believe that hard work should be rewarded, and in this I could not agree more. Hard work should be fairly rewarded. The problem is that they fail to apply these ideals in a consistent and principled manner to our present form of capitalism.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Religious Liberty" Discrimination Cases -- What If a Business's Conduct Is Speech?

Our conduct must conform to the dictates of the law, but we cannot be punished for exercising our right to freedom of expression. What if our conduct is expressive? How do these principles apply in situations where businesses have religious objections to same-sex marriage?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Obergefell Verses the Dissenters

Roberts just loves democracy,
So long as it works to keep him free.
Scalia now thinks gays are lovely
Forget his rants on sodomy.

Thomas thinks that slavery
Did not rob blacks of dignity.
And Alito delivers a homily
On the way marriage used to be.

Is their opposition due
To fears that they might be gay too?
To those who worry this might be true,
I'm afraid I have some news for you!

Or is it based on gender role?
Men sweat but women glow?
Is it a matter of control?
Man on top, woman below.

Will these dissenters consecrate
A desire to discriminate?
Do they dare insinuate
That Jesus taught us how to hate?

The Constitution's polity
Guarantees our liberty.
Obergefell's finality
Establishes equality.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Responding to Chief Justice Roberts' Dissent in Obergefell

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a thunderous dissenting opinion in the same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges. Here is my response.