Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 1

Here is my travel recommendation: when traveling to a city with which you are not familiar, be sure that by pure happenstance, you book the same flight as a friend who is visiting his former home. I am sure I would have figured out how to take the light rail from the airport to downtown Seattle so I could catch my train to Olympia without his help, but it was pretty nice not to have to think about it.

And now I am happily sitting by a lake in Olympia. I am staying at the house of a woman I have not seen in nearly 20 years. Through the wonder of facebook, we reconnected virtually about a year ago. As it happens, we have a ton in common. It has become apparent to me that I made a poor choice years ago when I let myself lose touch with her. It's rather exciting now to find a great new friend in an old, long-lost friend.

And now I'm going to put down my phone, pick up my beer, and gaze at this beautiful lake.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vacation, all I ever wanted

If anyone needs a criminal defense attorney in the next week, don't call me!  I am officially on vacation and by this time tomorrow, I will officially be in the greater Seattle area.

(Digression: Lest anyone think this might be a great opportunity to ransack my house, it will not be unoccupied.  My fierce guard dog will be on watch and she will have a very sweet young woman as a companion.  If anyone were to scare my sweet friend, I would be seriously ticked off.  Plus, in burglarizing my house, you would be screwing yourself out of any decent representation once you got caught.  I'm friends with all of the defense attorneys in this town.)

In the next few days, I will:

-Check a new state capitol off my list.  (And a new Supreme Court building 'cause I'm a big, big law nerd.)

-See the greatest band ever (Crowded House) for the 5th time

-See a new baseball park (Safeco Field) and add a new mini-bat to the collection

-Attend a fantasy football draft.  (That could actually be fun since I'm not drafting.  I'll get to drink beer and laugh at all the bonehead moves without running the risk of making a bonehead move myself.)

-Have a life-altering experience at a Korean spa.

And there will be no transcripts in my bag.  No case law.  No drafts of issues.  Just vacation.  (Though I do reserve the right to jot down a note or two if something happens to occur to me about my next case.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Done. And done.

It's done.  The giant case that I've been whining about, dragging my feet over, and stressing over is now done.  And there is a huge part of me that wishes it weren't so.

I'm glad the actual work is done.  I'm always excited to move on to new issues.  These cases really are so big and take so long, the issues can start to feel very stale.  I read blawgs and new case law voraciously because I don't want to lose track of what other legal issues are percolating out in the bigger world.  My next case is a much different beast altogether, with a brief I can probably write pretty quickly and involving issues I haven't addressed in years.  So from a lawyer standpoint, being done is good.

But since that awful day in March, I've had this day in my head.  I've always thought my period of deep mourning could continue until this day.  I figured there was no point in trying to develop a new life plan until after this deadline was met.  Nobody could reasonably expect me to look forward in the first two or three months.  And by that point, I would be so deep into brief-writing that I wouldn't have time for anything new.  Now that the day is here and the case is done, I have no more excuses.  I have to move on.  But I still just don't want to.

I still hate this stupid, stupid break-up.  I still feel it is just as wrong and pointless as I did in March.  I still can't picture a happy ending for myself that doesn't involve him.  But I think my absolute biggest beef is that I don't like being told what to do.  I hate not being in control.  Especially of my own life.  And I'm really quite stubborn.  (I know that is a shocking revelation.)  I think a large part of my foot-dragging over finishing this brief was really foot-dragging over having to face the fact that the future I chose for myself isn't available to me.  I had no say in this and it still pisses me off.  I don't think I should have to let go of the future I've put so much time and energy into wanting.  Letting go of that means letting my future look like a big, empty space that I have no idea how to fill.

So this is why I didn't really want to finish this case: I have no idea what comes next and that scares the hell out of me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm in the final stretch now.  The last 36 hours.  Most everything is now done, just the finishing touches need to be completed.

I feel wrung out.  More so than I have with past cases.  Some of this, I think, is related specifically to this case (and, no, I won't elaborate why).  But, let's be honest, much of this is related to the state of my personal life.  This work is tough, intense, personal, and presents an easy dark hole for someone like me to fall into.  And my support system is definitely not what it was in the past. I used to be quite capable of keeping myself from falling into the dark hole, but I haven't had to do it in a while.  I'm quite rusty.

But I'm almost there.  I can see the finish line.  I think.  And then I can let go.  And while it might be tempting to hide in bed and cry for a week, I won't have time between all the sangria and renewed friendships and Korean spas and baseball games and Crowded House concerts.  I am really, really looking forward to Tuesday afternoon.  And even more so, Thursday afternoon!  Vacation, here I come... if I make it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's just wrong

This thing that we do, where we find someone guilty and weigh his past, weigh the aggravators of his crime against the mitigators of his life, where we sit in judgment and say "this person should die," where we calmly, coolly, rationally, and with complete and total premeditation, put a needle in his arm and fill him with poison that will end his life: It's just wrong. 

No matter how justified we want to pretend it is.  No matter how much he brought it on himself with his actions.  No matter how much he deserves it or has forfeited his right to life.  It's just wrong.

Killing people is just wrong.  Why is that simple, basic truism so easy for people to set aside?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Things I miss

1) Having someone to pull my right cowboy boot off.  (It's cut just a little tighter than the left one and is a tad hard for me to remove.)

2) Having someone bring me dinner when I'm in the final throes of brief-writing.  (Really, there reaches a point where I need someone to step in and take care of me because I get so wrapped-up, I don't take care of myself.)

3) Oral argument.  (I haven't argued a case in over 2 years, which really sucks because I'm really good at it.)

4) Sex.  (Sorry for the over-share, but it's my blog, dammit.)

5) Having someone around who knows me THAT well and still likes me.  (This one will at least temporarily be remedied next weekend.  Yay for hanging with Andres!)

6) Football.  (Oh, but wait, there's at least pre-season football on tonight!  I won't be missing this one too much longer.)

7) LOST.

8) Being in a good mood and enjoying life.  (I hope to put some serious time and attention into this one next week.  Not much point in trying to be in a good mood when I'm in the final throes of brief-writing.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why I don't trust forfeiture actions...

So, remember the other day, when I expressed concern about forfeiture actions?  Where the state claims the property (homes, cars, cash) that were tangentially connected to crimes, like drug and child porn possession?  Well, this is the kind of story that makes me think I'm not just a crazy conspiracy theorist, anti-cop, anti-prosecutor nut.  This prosecutor is charged with taking way more than a million bucks from forfeiture actions and turning it into bonuses for himself and his staff.  (At least he's not an elitist, classist schmuck as $1.2 million went to secretaries.)

I called forfeiture actions a racket the other day.  Stories like this are the reason why.  Some cops and prosecutors do seem to think they can just take whatever they want from motorists.  That is a thought we all might want to nip in the bud.
You know what I love? Coming up with an issue that everybody else tells me is crazy, nuts, frivolous, won't work, etc., and then rocking the hell out of it. Because I'm just that awesome.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tapped out

This job is draining.  Exhausting.  At times, emotionally crippling.  It can be overwhelming when you're in the best of moods.  Because I'm it.  I am what is standing between my client and the precipice.  Rather, my client is on the precipice and I am standing between him and the giant machine moving inexorably towards him, intent on pushing him over the edge.  Some days, I feel so powerful that I believe I can stop that machine with nothing more than a flick of my wrist.  Some cases require a lot more blood, sweat, and tears, but leave me feeling hopeful that the machine will ultimately back down.  But some cases just leave me feeling like I'm doing nothing but futilely spinning my wheels, waiting for that damn thing to toss me aside like a rag doll on its way to obliterating my client. 

And then I feel selfish for taking it so hard when we do lose (and for whining so much about the process).  It's not actually going to affect my life, after all.  I still get to go home at the end of the day.  I can go curl up with my dog and watch as many episodes of Glee as I want.  Or I can share a bottle of wine with a friend.  Or go any damn place I please.  Or leave the criminal justice system behind entirely and go bake cupcakes.  Because much as I may "feel" the losses, I'm not the one who has to bear the consequences.  I'm not the one who has to live in a 6x8 cell for the next 25 years or more.  I'm not the one who will only get 1 hour of outside time a day for the rest of my life.  I'm not the one who truly loses.

But right now, I feel like giving in to the selfish.  I'm tired.  I have no energy.  I am completely and totally wiped out.  I resent having to expend so much energy on other people when I don't have the energy to do anything for myself.  2010 has chewed me up and spit me out.  I want to go hide under a pile of coats.  I want to crawl into a deep hole and hibernate for a few months.  I want to chuck it all and go -- do -- argh!  I want to go figure out how to finish that sentence.  Drink wine?  Read books?  Run in snake-free prairies? 

I won't, though.  Because I can't.  I signed on for this.  I signed on for a job that often requires me to put other people's needs first.  I made a promise to my guys that I would stand between them and the mighty power of the state.  I would never break that promise, no matter how much I want to spend a few months, ummm... as a go-go dancer in Vegas?  Or as a circus performer?  Or renting scooters in some exotic tourist trap? 

And, hey, my life's not going anywhere so I might as well focus on something that has a hope of succeeding.  (That's a little appellate defense humor for you, because criminal appeals are really hard to win.  So, see, there's more hope for a criminal appeal than my life.  Ha, ha.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

How much is an ounce of pot really worth?

NBA player Udonis Haslem has been arrested for possessing more than 20 grams of pot, a third degree felony in Florida.  (Oddly, his passenger, who has claimed owning the drugs, was charged with possessing less than 20 grams.)  The basic fact pattern raises some interesting questions: 1) How do you prove possession when more than one person has access to the place the drugs were found?  2) If you had drugs and your friend got busted with you, would you 'fess up to get your friend off the hook?  3) If your friend had drugs, a high-profile career, and lots of money, how much would he have to pay you to get you to take the fall?  (No, I don't really think that's what's going on here, but I've already seen that theory floated.)  But none of these questions are what I want to talk about.

Here's the part of the article that caught my attention:   "Haslem's car, worth more than $100,000, may face forfeiture, according to court records."

Seriously?  So because somebody, whichever one of them it was, had 3/4 of an ounce of pot in this car, the state might claim the right to seize a $100,000 vehicle?  Sure, a $100,000 car is an entirely proportionate fine for less than an ounce of pot.

I don't have any actual experience with these forfeiture actions because I've never done any trial level work on drug cases, so I'm not very aware of the ins and outs of when cars or other property (especially cash) can be seized.  The idea being that an owner who uses property, or allows property to be used, in the drug trade  has forfeited his/her right to that property.  Use your car to smuggle drugs?  That car is part of the problem and will be seized by the government.  I remember reading a horror story maybe 7 or 8 years ago about some family in Minnesota having their home seized because their dumb 19 year-old son was passing out pot to his friends out of the family basement. 

One of the biggies is cash.  Because any and all cash must be proceeds of a drug sale.  I have seen lots of stories of people ultimately not convicted of drug charges, either through dismissal or acquittal, who still have a dickens of a time getting back the money they'd had in the car at the time of the stop.  And, of course, by the time they do get their money back, they have to turn over half of it to the lawyer who handled the matter.

I doubt that Udonis Haslem will really lost his $100,000 luxury sedan.  But, boy, if he does, that would be a big statement by the state of Florida about their claimed power to take any property that has anything to do with drugs.  But even if Haslem is deemed to have "forfeited" his car, he won't suffer all that much.  I'm guessing an NBA star has more than one car.  And if he doesn't, he can afford to buy another one.  It's all the other schmucks who can't afford to buy a new car who get screwed by this forfeiture nonsense.  Imagine going somewhere with your friend and ending up in a year-long court battle to get your car back because your friend likes to light up. 

Like I said, I don't really know much about the way forfeiture actions actually work, but everything I've read about them makes me think they're pretty messed up.  It really ought to be impossible for the state of Florida to even raise the specter of seizing a car (especially one valued at 6 figures) because the car contained less than an ounce of pot.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A lone(ly) reed

I have always been a bit of a loner.  That will happen when your favorite activities are things like reading, writing, and going for long walks or bike rides by yourself.  I've never been one to have a wide, diverse circle of friends.  Instead, I've always had a few close friends and lots of friendly acquaintances.  Even at the height of my popularity, in law school, I knew everyone and while in the building was a social butterfly.  But evenings and weekends, I was with my two closest friends or by myself.

When I got my first apartment out of college, I didn't even consider the possibility of having a roommate.  I wanted that crappy, ugly, boxy little one-bedroom apartment all to myself.  My first two years in law school, I did have a roommate and I hated it.  The only reason it worked at all was that my roommate tended to stay in her bedroom so I got the run of the living space to myself.  When my 3rd year rolled around and I was finally able to move to a crappy, ugly, boxy little one-bedroom apartment all by myself, I was in heaven.

I've traveled on my own.  The two weeks I spent by myself in Europe is one of the highlights of my life.  I have always craved alone time.  When I go home for Christmas, I usually have to fight to get it.  My sister literally wants to spend every waking moment together.  If I even suggest that I want to get into my car and run to Target for a few minutes without her, there will be tears.  My dad has been known to call me on my cell phone when I've been in my room for half an hour.  I love my family, but their oppressive need to be together at all times has me counting the seconds until I can escape and return to the glorious alone-ness of my kingdom, my castle.  People used to wonder how I would ever make a relationship work, especially a marriage.  Surely, my sister would say, my husband would have to live in his own house because I would never agree to share my space with anyone.  Plus, I don't really like being touched, which she was sure would make the whole sleeping together thing a bit awkward.

I've always wanted time alone, needed it as much as I needed oxygen and water.  I wanted to live alone.  To have total control over my little piece of the world that no one else could claim.

But now, being alone is terrifying.  The prospect of spending an evening alone leaves me panic-stricken.  My house feels like a prison and the loneliness is crushing me.  It's a loneliness that no amount of friends or outings or trips can cure, though, because I don't just want anyone.  I want the person who made me think sitting on the couch reading a book could be just a little bit nicer when he was sitting there with me.  I want the person who made me think I could have him as a roommate forever and not miss my alone time one bit.  I did let someone in, let him share my house, and I loved every minute of it.  He has utterly ruined being alone for me. 

My problem now is that I don't want to have just anyone around.  I still want to keep people out of my house and away from my walks and my shopping trips.  I just want him back in my life.  Even when I am with friends, I still feel lonely simply because he is gone.  I still feel like talking to him is the only thing that will really take away the loneliness.  Knowing that he's a 3 minute drive away, that anytime I go outside I could run into him, that he still has contact with lots of our mutual friends, but that he might as well be on the other side of the world for all the contact I can have with him is the source of my loneliness. 

I'm sure someday I will get used to this.  I will stop feeling his absence in everything I do and everywhere I go.  I just don't know how to keep myself sane waiting for that day to come.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DADT: still here and still infuriating

Here is another maddening reminder that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still alive and well.

Yes, we should definitely be considering discharging a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force who has deployed 6 times in his 19 years of service, earning glowing service reviews.  His dedication to his country definitely does not overcome the possibility that he's gay. 

Or, maybe instead of threatening this model officer with discharge, we should get down on our knees and beg his forgiveness.  Because if he is, in fact, gay (he won't say because the military says he's not allowed to say), we should all be ashamed that we made him hide who he is for 19 years.  We should shower him with medals and accolades.  We should throw him a parade for truly putting service to his country first at great personal sacrifice.  I love my job, but I don't think I could stick with it for 19 years if it meant having to lie about something so fundamental.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Standard of review

Some days, reading through criminal case law, it seems clear that there is really only one standard, one guiding principle behind every appellate court decision:  apply the rules in whatever way will screw the defendant.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The anti-14th Amendment crowd has finally pushed me over the edge

My favorite blond conservative nutjob, A.C., has written an article about birthright citizenship and the 14th Amendment.  In this article, she claims that what she views to be the scourge of anchor babies comes from a footnote written by Justice Brennan in the 1982 case Plyler v. Doe.  She claims this "lunatic" justice came up with this idea of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants out of his own crazy head (and some 1912 book).  I have seen it cited now on newspaper comment sections and blogs.  I have seen it called "well-researched."   And, of course, it must be because, you know, A.C. is a constitutional lawyer who graduated from Michigan and clerked for a federal judge.  So anything she writes is brilliant and anything anyone writes to rebut it are wrong.  (I would link to the post, but I don't really want any links to bring her nutty fans over here.  Google A.C. and Justice Brennan footnote and you'll find it.)

There's just one big problem with her ideologically-driven attack on that "lunatic" (her word) Justice Brennan.  She is wrong.  It took me all of about 2 minutes of legal research to find federal case law pre-dating that 1982 decision that presumed children of illegal aliens are U.S. citizens simply by virtue of being born in the U.S.  Justice Harlan wrote that such a child would, of course, be an American citizen.  He wrote that in 1957 for a Supreme Court decision ,U.S. ex rel. Hintopoulos v. Shaughnessy, 353 U.S. 72, 77 S.Ct. 618 (U.S. 1957).  Of course, she doesn't want to present any thorough, comprehensive review of the history of birthright citizenship.  She just wants to lay all the blame at the feet of the first liberal she can find.  So once she had Justice Brennan in her sights, any additional research would not help her cause.  Especially if it would be revealed that the history of the U.S. Supreme Court accepted that the 14th Amendment means what it says: that people born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens.

So her entire premise that "anchor babies" are the result of one lunatic liberal justice in the 80s is flawed.  As is so much of what she spews.  Why does she have any credibility?  And has the University of Michigan ever thought about taking her J.D. back?  She makes me glad that I chose Wisconsin for law school.

Anyway, the real point of this post is simply for me to own that I am not doing a good job of letting go tonight.  Because I have now spent the better part of the last two hours on blogs, newspaper comment sections, and an A.C. message board, trying to demonstrate why her legal theory was lacking.  Heck, I've now also written a blog post about the matter.  But the only thing I have succeeded in convincing anyone of is this: if I am trying to reason with A.C. followers, I have gone completely 'round the bend.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More on Prop. 8

On Wednesday, Judge Vaughn Walker issued a decision declaring California's Prop 8 to be unconstitutional.  Every review I have read of his decision seems to agree that he wrote a thorough, well-reasoned, rational opinion soundly and squarely based in U.S. Supreme Court precedent.  And he's hardly the first judge to find that banning same-sex marriage violates the notion of equal protection under the law.

But rumor has it he's gay.  It's been written as a fact in several news articles I have found today.  But the judge himself hasn't offered any comment (nor would I expect him to).  It sort of has an "everyone around the courthouse just knows" feel as people around the courthouse typically do just know these kinds of things.  So, for the purposes of this blog post, we'll just assume the assumption that he's gay is correct.

So what?  Well, some people seem to think it's an issue worth talking about.  The AP wrote a story about it.  According to one headline "Irate Prop.8 backers" think the judge isn't impartial.  I just have to share this quote from the article because it's too delicious:

"Judge Walker should have recused himself from this case since he is a practicing homosexual," wrote Bryan Fischer of the American Families Association. He added: "His own personal sexual proclivities utterly compromised his ability to make an impartial ruling in this case."
It is beyond offensive to suggest that a gay judge can't possibly issue an impartial ruling on a legal question involving homosexuality.  Must Justice Thomas recuse himself from any case involving racial discrimination?  Should Justice Ginsburg not have been involved in the Lilly Ledbetter case of pay disparity between the sexes?  Of course not, but I don't believe anyone would have suggested that race or sex of a judge as a personal characteristic would "utterly compromise" that judge's ability to, you know, be a judge.

What is it about the characteristic of homosexuality that is different?  What is it that allows people to think that being gay is a characteristic that will necessarily overcome rational, legal thought?  Given that the only real opposition to same-sex marriage is based in a religious, moral disapproval of homosexuality, it's hard for me not to think that concerns about this judge are nothing more than another manifestation of that disapproval.  I mean, following the logic of Bryan Fischer, wouldn't any married, heterosexual judge also have needed to recuse him or herself from this case?  Same-sex marriage does pose such a tremendous threat to "traditional" marriage, after all, that any married judge would have had to hold in favor of Prop. 8 out of self-preservation.  But that's a bias Bryan Fischer and the Prop. 8 backers wouldn't object to.

Hundreds of straight judges would have issued an opinion matching Judge Walker's result.  We can only hope that most of them would have taken the time to be as thorough and careful of existing law as Judge Walker was.  It really doesn't take a gay man to see that arguments in favor of same-sex marriage bans just don't hold water.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another Saturday morn*

My least favorite part of being single after years of coupledom?  Saturday mornings.  Saturday nights generally aren't a problem because I can usually find somebody to play with.  Gatherings where everyone else is coupled off aren't my favorite, but they're still not nearly as bad as Saturday mornings. 

Gone are the days of putting the dog on the leash and strolling downtown for morning coffee, the farmer's market, and breakfast.  Maddie can no longer come with me to get my coffee because there's not a coffee shop in town that will let a dog inside.  (Go figure.)  For years, I've been advocating a coffee cart or a coffee shop with a walk-up window, but I haven't prevailed on that, yet.  So the new Saturday morning ritual is for the mad dog to get all excited as she sees me getting dressed and putting on shoes.  She runs around, sure she's getting to go out.  Then comes the awful moment when she realizes she doesn't get to come.  She doesn't get to come to the farmer's market, either, because it's too hard to control the dog while shopping.

Most mornings, I get to the farmer's market and quickly lose all interest in being there as I see all the couples with their dogs who are enjoying their Saturday mornings.

So, I think this will be a good measuring stick for healing.  When I really enjoy a Saturday morning again, that'll be a good sign.

*With apologies to Cat Stevens.  "Another Saturday Night" is one of my favorite songs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8: FAIL!

You have probably seen by now that a federal district court judge has ruled Proposition 8, the referendum put to a simple majority vote in the state, is unconstitutional.  I love the outcome.  I think it is the right outcome.  I am completely on board with this judge's decision on the due process claim.  And having just read his equal protection analysis, I am pretty thrilled.  It is well done and gets at the crux of what I have always seen to be the real legal issue.  I can't wait to see how Justices Thomas and Scalia sputter against this judge's ruling.  (Although reading the dissent in Lawrence v. Texas might give me a head start.)  But if Kennedy proves to be the key to a SCOTUS win, I now have high hopes that this written opinion will be a great first step to convincing him which way to swing.

First, let me note that I am still stuck on the California Supreme Court's ruling on Prop 8.  Opponents had argued that a simple majority vote referendum could not be used in this particular case to amend the state's Constitution.  The California Supreme Court ruled otherwise.  Wrongly, in my view.   I suppose I need to get over that, but the court was just wrong to allow a simple majority vote to alter the state constitution in a way that stripped rights that the court found to be protected.  I know, that court gets to be the final word on interpretation of its own state's laws and constitution, but they just flat got this one wrong.  Ok, moving on.

The main thing that has always bugged me about the legal fight over same-sex marriage is that in most cases, I don't think people are framing the legal issue correctly.  Of course opposition to same-sex marriage is motivated by anti-gay bigotry.  Those who oppose same-sex marriage don't want gay men and women to marry each other.  But the laws themselves don't reference sexual orientation.  They only reference sex.

Prop 8 added this specific language to the state constitution: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."  There is no reference to sexual orientation in that language at all.  It is only about sex.  A gay man is perfectly free to marry a woman, heck even a lesbian woman.  Two men, though, are not allowed to marry each other, regardless of sexual orientation.  Sex is the only defining characteristic of which two people can marry and which two can't. 

This matters.  Legally, it matters.  Laws that classify groups of people and treat them differently are subjected to differing levels of scrutiny.  The biggies are race and religion.  Those classifications get the highest level of scrutiny: strict scrutiny.  If the government wants to distinguish between people based on race, they  have to have a darn good reason.  Sex is a step down from strict scrutiny.  There are (theoretically: I'm less sold on that than others) legitimate reasons for treating men and women differently.  So the Supreme Court is a little more willing to tolerate laws that treat people differently based on sex, but they're still pretty leery of them.  The lowest level of scrutiny, the rational basis test, is left for all other laws that classify.  To this point, SCOTUS has never specifically said that sexual orientation gets any higher level of scrutiny, so most courts look at anti-gay laws under the rational basis test.  Now, I think bans on same-sex marriage fail even the rational basis test, but I really believe the proper legal test is whether they survive intermediate scrutiny because they generally distinguish between people based on sex.

To me, this has always been an appealing argument because once you stop thinking about it in the framework of sexual orientation, it becomes so clear that the only real difference between a straight couple and a gay couple is the anatomy of the people involved.  I've always thought that everyone should be free to marry the (legally capable of consenting) person of his or her choice, regardless of sexual orientation.  Which, legally, translates to: regardless of the sex of his or her intended.

This judge basically agreed with me, saying it is functionally sex discrimination, while it is clearly aimed at sexual orientation.  I am gratified because for years, people have been looking at me like I'm nuts for making this argument, but it seems so clear and logical to me.  He ultimately said it really doesn't matter because Prop 8 can't survive even the lowest level of scrutiny.  There is simply no rational basis for limiting marriage to one man and one woman and half of the purported governmental interests advanced by the proponents of Prop 8 are inconsistent with other purported governmental interests.

So far, I've only read the conclusions of law part of this opinion.  The findings of fact are 100 pages.  So I want to read those.  And I want to do a closer reading of the conclusions of law.  But on first glance, I have to say I am a big fan not just of the outcome of this case, but the merits of the ruling.  Well done, Judge!  (And I hope Justice Kennedy is paying attention...)

Monday, August 2, 2010

In the past, when I've had these horrible work deadlines, I've had someone to bring me food.  To make sure I went to bed at a reasonable hour.  To give me some human contact, even when I keep myself locked at home for days at a time.

I really miss that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Deadline season is not my favorite

Work deadlines are a very bad time for me.  No matter how much work I have done on my case up until this point, the last two weeks before the deadline are consumed with nothing but work.  Well, that's not entirely true.  There's a lot of sitting on my couch, not engaging in social activities with friends because "I have to work", but not actually working either.  What is it about being so close to done that makes it so very hard to actually finish?

This particular weekend, I have only  had actual conversations with two people, and they were at the same time when two friends and I went out for dinner.  I don't think idle chit-chat with the Starbucks barista or the Target cashier counts.  I could have gone to a taco bar on Friday.  But, no, I had to work.  I could have gone to play trivia this evening.  But, no, I had to work.  I have cloistered myself all freaking weekend, talking far too much to my dog, and for what?  I have precious little product to show for all my "work."  I could have this all done if I could just somehow make myself focus.  But, no, I have to be the world's biggest procrastinator and delay the inevitable of just finalizing my issues.  It doesn't help that while the grand principles of law in my case should be on my side, the actual application by appellate courts of those grand principles is decidedly less grand.

I hate, hate, hate deadline time.

I just have to remember that in less than a month, this will be long over and I will be attending a fabulous Crowded House concert with three fabulous people.  (Oh, and apparently having my life changed by a day at a Korean spa.)  But in the meantime, the next week will suck.
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