Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Badly done, Virginia

Did you see the Virginia Senate vote on a judicial nomination today? If you did and you know me, you're probably not surprised to know that this vote offended me to my core. Because today the Virginia Senate rejected a seemingly-qualified judicial nominee. And they seem to have rejected him because he's gay.

Of course, I don't think anyone actually said it was because he's gay. It's because of his candor on gay rights. It's because he holds himself out as "married" thereby demonstrating disrespect for the laws of the state. It's because he's on the board of a gay rights group. At least one delegate argued that the gentleman would be unable to be impartial on certain issues.

But I'm guessing those same state senators wouldn't vote against a nominee who was heavily involved in the NRA, which is in some ways a rights group. Because advocating for gun rights is acceptable. And no one would argue that a straight married judicial nominee wouldn't be able to be impartial on "certain issues" otherwise known as marriage and other family equality issues. Which is a little odd when you think about it because isn't the spread of gay marriage supposed to pose a dire and immediate threat to "traditional" straight marriage?

Seriously, I shouldn't have to say it that presuming that a gay person will be biased and unable to remain impartial on certain issues is offensive. Beyond offensive, really. Sheesh, why not just say that all gay people suffer from some deranged group think that prohibits them from thinking like "normal" people or ruling like "normal" judges.

Ugly move, Virginia. We really aren't close to getting over this anti-gay nonsense, are we?

ps- Did you notice that the rejected nominee is a prosecutor? So, yeah, I'm sticking up for a prosecutor. Note this occasion 'cause it doesn't happen often.


CLH said...

Really? The land of no cursing in public, (VaBeach), the land of "Let's race Texas in executing people", the land of so many, many, many civil rights abuses turns town a judge because he's gay? Shock! Gasp! Outrage! (Note the sarcasm?) The only place I would lower on my places to not live is Texas. Unfortunately, I live in Texas. Oh well.

S said...

Hey, it's not that great in Kansas, either.

Rob Osterman said...

At the risk of upsetting my hostess I'm not sure I agree that this is ~so~ out of line given that "Gay Marriage" is, (isn't it) illegal in Virginia.

So suppose, for the sake of argument that there's a law against owning Lions. And there's a guy who's nominated for a high bench who not only owns a lion but he advertises that he owns a lion. In fact it's probably likely that some kind of challenge to the Anti-Lion law might come along his desk. Nothing dead on direct, but maybe a "can we own a lion ~cub~?" kind of thing. Since he not only embraces owning a lion but does so in a state where it's out and out banned, is it fair to assume he might not decide the merits of the Lion case on it's... er.. merits.

It's crappy, no doubt, but I'm just not sure how you get to be a high judge when you're admittedly in violation of the state laws.

It reminds me a bit of the lawyer in Florida who is not a legal immigrant. He has made his lack of legal status completely transparent yet is a member of the Bar now. I just don't "get" that.

Ideally this would be a non-issue. People would be people who are people and we'd accept them for that. But with an actual statute on the paper there forbidding gay marriage and gay unions, while I don't agree I can understand their ruling.

S said...

What if the state does not recognize common law marriage but a judicial nominee with no legal marriage certificate calls herself "married" nonetheless? I would bet money that there is still an adultery statute on the books. So should a judicial nominee who has committed adultery be rejected?

I'm not sure it's a violation of state law for someone who doesn't have a valid state marriage certificate to refer to his committed relationship as a marriage. In fact, to say he can't use that word might be a First Amendment problem.

Condoning this rejection on that grounds would be akin to condoning rejection of a judicial nominee living in Virginia in the 1950s who dared to try to marry someone from a different race. The discrimination is wrong to begin with. Then rejecting a nominee who is part of the discriminated group for not accepting that discrimination is just more discrimination.

CLH said...

@Rob- Um, because there's this thing regarding civil rights. Oh, sure, in an instance where the law is regarding something fairly arbitrary, and not inherent in the rights of man, the potential judge should be held to account for the laws. But it's an issue of civil rights, not shooting guns at random vehicles for entertainment at three pm daily. And you should probably beware, Virginia. When ARIZONA is ahead of you on civil rights for appointments, you should be kinda worried. <a href="http://volokh.com/2012/05/17/arizona-categorically-bans-consideration-of-a-persons-religiously-motivated-acts-in-government-appointments/>Prof. Eugene Volokh has a great article on that.</a> Shame, shame Virginia!

CLH said...

Oops, my html skills are rusty, sorry!


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