Category Archives: law

Trump’s unwise pardon

Well, Trump has given his first Presidential pardon, and it couldn’t have gone to a worse person than Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff (1993-2016) of Maricopa County, Arizona—a county that includes the state capital of Phoenix. Arpaio was not only a punitive hard-ass towards prisoners, but widely recognized as an anti-Hispanic bigot, which he displayed […]

Agatha Christie on determinism and criminal justice

Reader John found a passage in a nearly 90 year old Agatha Christie novel that presages the views of Sam Harris, Robert Sapolsky, and many other determinists on the application of determinism to our justice system. This is what John sent: I  just read an Agatha Christie novel called “The Murder at the Vicarage” (published […]

Cultural relativism goes down in flames in Canada

Reader Steve called my attention to an article in the online Toronto Star about an overly lenient legal judgment that was based on cultural relativism, but a judgment that was rectified when the Canadian courts came to their senses. The story: an Iranian immigrant who moved to Canada was convicted of long-standing and violent physical abuse […]

New York outlaws child marriage

As I noted recently, child marriage in the U.S. is not only far more common than you think, but in many states there’s no minimum age for marriage if a judge assents. As Human Rights Watch notes: The vast majority of US states permit marriage under age 18 under some circumstances. In 27 US states, […]

Supreme Court rules that “hate speech” is free speech

On Sunday, by a vote of 8-0 (Gorsuch didn’t rule), the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Matal v. Tam,  which involved a patent application to trademark the name “The Slants,” an Asian band of which Simon Tam was a member. Tam’s attempt to patent trademark the band’s name was rejected by the trademark office, but […]

Conviction of woman for raping disabled man overturned; judge will now allow evidence for consensual sex via the discredited method of “facilitated communication”

In 2015, Anna Stubblefield, a Rutgers professor, was convicted on two counts of aggravated sexual assault for having sex with a severely disabled cerebral palsy sufferer 10 years younger than she (she was 40, and also married). Her defense had been that it was consensual, for she had supposedly communicated with her subject, and gotten […]

Child marriage in the U.S.: it’s far more common than you think

Nick Kristof has a frightening column in today’s New York Times (click on screenshot to read it) detailing the extent of child marriages—nearly always involving young girls and older men—in the U.S. I had no idea, for instance, that 27 of our 50 states have no legal minimum age for marriage! There are several hair-raising […]

North Carolina legislature passes bill allowing drivers to plow through protestors on streets

It’s unbelievable what Republicans try to do when making law. They are overturning Obamacare simply to go after Obama—a move that will lead, foreseeably, to the deaths of thousands of Americans. But now the GOP in North Carolina has passed a bill that’s just as ludicrous and almost as dangerous. What happened, according to multiple […]

Neil Gorsuch’s plagiarism—or is it plagiarism?

Our newest Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, has been accused of plagiarism in articles in Politico, BuzzFeed, and New York magazine. There are several instances where he simply repeats the words of others in a 2006 book Gorsuch wrote about euthanasia (he’s against it) as well as in his Ph.D. thesis at Oxford and an […]

Senate triggers “nuclear option” to confirm Neil Gorsuch

Such lovely news to awake to in New Zealand: CNN and The New York Times both report that the Senate voted along party lines to break the Democratic filibuster of proposed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, invoking the “nuclear option.” That option allows a filibuster (Democratic, in this case) to be stopped with a mere […]