Tag Archives: Judicial Activism

Hero of the Week Award: July 12, Judge William Conley

12 Jul
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

This week it is a pleasure to celebrate another judge standing up to the unconstitutional overreach of institutionalized misogyny.

Frustrated by the continued existence of women’s rights to make their own health and reproductive choices, Republican-controlled legislatures around the country are trying their best to create de facto abortion-free zones of their states. Invasive ultrasounds and needless waiting periods aren’t enough. The latest trick is creating cumbersome requirements for doctors at clinics that provide abortions as part of their services.

Wisconsin is the latest, with a new law — signed by charm-free Gov. Scott Walker — that requires hospital admitting privileges, something no other clinics require. Planned Parenthood challenged the law, and U.S. District Judge William Conley sided with them.  Let us remind our selves that Planned Parenthood provides greatly needed health care for women that could not other wise afford simple things like pap smears that test for cancer.

Noting that “there is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement,” Conley placed a stay on the law until he can hold further hearings. Citing Roe v Wade, the judge added “Moreover, the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement.”

Judge Conley will no doubt be accused by the so-called  family values crowd of “judicial activism” for actually doing his job. Insisting that access to care must be equitable is the right thing to do. Thank you, Judge Conley, for standing up against the War on Women in Wisconsin–not an easy battle when going up against the racist, homophobic, classist, neo-fascist, Scott Walker.  Mr. Walker, have you no decency?


Bob Marshall Obsessed with Sodomy

21 May

I Can’t Stop Thinking About Sodomy

Thank you to my friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this story.  Regrettably, we have another bigoted story coming out of Virginia–another white heterosexual Republican male abusing his power and privilege.  Republican Bob Marshall took it upon himself to block  Tracy Thorne-Begland, an out and proud gay attorney, from becoming a judge.

Marshall asserts the following:

sodomy is not a civil right…the attorney’s past activism and outspokenness on gay rights could bias his decisions on the bench…He can be a prosecutor if he wants to, but we don’t want advocates as judges.

Bigotry prevailed against common sense and reason and the Virginia House of Delegates rejected Thorne-Begland’s bid for judge.

While there are SO many issues that really stick in my craw here, I will try to contain my anger with exceedingly significant points.  One: I will quickly point out that more heterosexuals engage in sodomy than homosexuals–not that it is anyone’s business what consenting adults do sexually! Apparently, Marshall feels it is his job to police gay sex. Two: I take issue with his assertion around activists judges.  Fortunately, Kim Forde-Mazrui, a University of Virginia School of Law professor also took issue with Marshall’s ignorance and offered this very sensible reply:

If you mean that people are always biased in favor of members of their own group then that would suggest that a straight male or a white judge could not be impartial in a case involving a crime between a straight and a gay person, a man and woman, or a white and black person — which would render most judges and juries suspect by his conception.

From Marshall’s statement, are we to assume that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is pushing a Jewish woman’s agenda on the Supreme Court? Are white hetero males the only voices to be trusted as judges?  I have to say it takes a great deal of chutzpah for a Republican to talk about “activist judges,” given the Famous Fecal Five corrupting the US Supreme Court.

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