Tag Archives: Sonia Sotomayor

Do Supreme Court justices understand the reasons for traditional marriage?

This article from the Public Discourse takes a look at the oral arguments from the same-sex marriage case in progress at the Supreme Court.

Here’s the list:

  • Error Number One: Massachusetts Marriage Rates Have Stayed the Same
  • Error Number Two: Because Some Men Leave Their Wives and Children, Marriage Does Not Help Keep Fathers Around
  • Error Number Three: The Purpose of States’ Recognizing and Regulating Marriage is to Bestow Dignity on Couples
  • Error Number Four: The Only Harm to Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Making Marriage More Adult-Centered
  • Error Number Five: There Is a Parallel between Brown/Loving and Lawrence/Obergefell
  • Error Number Six: Age Restrictions on Marriage Are Equivalent to the Definitional Element of One Man and One Woman

One of Obama’s Supreme Court picks is showing herself a poor thinker:

Error Number Two: Because Some Men Leave Their Wives and Children, Marriage Does Not Help Keep Fathers Around

Justice Sotomayor also committed what is commonly referred to as an exception fallacy. This is where someone reaches an overall conclusion about a group on the basis of a few exceptional cases. Thus, when Mr. Bursch was making the argument that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples will disconnect marriage from the long-held norm that the institution binds children to their biological mother and father, Justice Sotomayor responded:

Marriage doesn’t do that on any level. How many married couples do fathers with the benefits or the requirements of marriage walk away from their children? So it’s not that the institution alone does it and that without it that father is going to stay in marriage. He made a choice . . . Some mothers do the same thing.

This is a classic example of the exception fallacy. Of course some men and women walk away from their marriage and their children. But that is the exception, not the rule, and it is certainly counter to the social norm of marriage that gently pushes parents to stay together and raise their children.

It is rather shocking that a justice of the United States Supreme Court would claim that “on any level” marriage does not have that effect and longstanding purpose. It is also disappointing that she would commit such a basic error of logic.

I often encounter the problem among people with no math background. You cite statistics about what outcomes are expected, and they reply with an exceptional outlier to refute the argument. I’m troubled that Supreme Court justices lack the ability to reason in this way, though.

Here’s another pretty obvious mistake:

Error Number Four: The Only Harm to Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Making Marriage More Adult-Centered

Several justices struggled to see how redefining marriage in genderless terms would cause any harm or have any impact on the institution of marriage. As Mr. Bursch correctly but incompletely argued, legalizing same-sex marriage will alter the institution to be primarily concerned with fulfilling the desires of adults rather than the needs of children.

But that’s not all. As the 100 Scholars of Marriage made clear in their amicus brief, several other important and beneficial social norms will be eroded, if not erased, by same-sex marriage, including:

– Gender-diverse parenting: the norm that children both need and deserve to be raised by a man and a woman, not only because of what they learn from interacting with a parent of each sex, but because men and women parent and interact with their children differently, providing distinct but complementary benefits. By its very structure, same-sex marriage eliminates this norm and its attendant benefits to children.

– Biological bonding: the norm that marriage binds children to their biological mother and father in a family unit. Same-sex marriage and parenting, by definition, means that at best only one of a child’s biological parents will be in the home. While death, divorce, or parental delinquency create exceptions, elevating the exception to the norm undermines that norm and the benefits it produces.

– Postponing or channeling procreation: the norm that procreation should only responsibly occur within the stable bonds of marriage. Same-sex marriage is not, and biologically cannot be, about procreation. By redefining marriage in this way, the institution becomes less about being the socially recommended “place” and “time” where procreation is recommended.

– Placing social value on raising children: the norm that society values and needs children to be born and raised by their parents. Again, same-sex marriage is not primarily about procreation, and its acceptance attenuates this norm for the institution as a whole. Of course, same-sex couples can adopt or one member of the couple can reproduce with someone of the opposite sex, but these are secondary purposes and behaviors.

What impact will the weakening or elimination of these norms have on the institution of marriage, and thus the behavior of society? Put another way, as Justice Breyer asked, “what’s the empirical connection?”

Well, the last major alteration to the institution of marriage—no-fault divorce—did have unintended negative consequences, reducing marriage rates and increasing divorce rates more than expected, with children and women suffering the consequences. Additionally, the Netherlands, the country that has had same-sex marriage the longest, after controlling for other factors, has experienced a drop in opposite-sex marriage rates among young women after adopting same-sex marriage.

The truth is, no one knows for sure what the effect will be—but it clashes with history, common sense, and theory to assume it will be innocuous.

The norm of gender-diverse parenting is important, because fathers and mothers are both needed.

Look at this abstract from a very new study to see why:

The association between family structure instability and children’s life chances is well documented, with children reared in stable, two-parent families experiencing more favorable outcomes than children in other family arrangements. This study examines father household entrances and exits, distinguishing between the entrance of a biological father and a social father and testing for interactions between family structure instability and children’s age, gender, and genetic characteristics. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and focusing on changes in family structure by age (years 0–9), the authors show that father exits are associated with increases in children’s antisocial behavior, a strong predictor of health and well-being in adulthood. The pattern for father entrances is more complicated, with entrances for the biological father being associated with lower antisocial behavior among boys and social father entrances being associated with higher antisocial behavior. Child’s age does not moderate the association; however, genetic information in the models sharpens the findings substantially.

Biological fathers need to present in the home.

It doesn’t look like we will get a good legal decision on this case. The leftist judges are just not thinking clearly.

Frank the Firefighter gets “Joe the Plumber” treatment from Democrats

If you disagree with Dear Leader, the power of the state will be used against you, comrade!

Here is the article from McClatchy. (H/T Verum Serum, John Lott)

Excerpt:

Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are quietly targeting the Connecticut firefighter who’s at the center of Sotomayor’s most controversial ruling.

On the eve of Sotomayor’s Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the “troubled and litigious work history” of firefighter Frank Ricci.

This is opposition research: a constant shadow on Capitol Hill.

“The whole business of getting Supreme Court nominees through the process has become bloodsport,” said Gary Rose, a government and politics professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

On Friday, citing in an e-mail “Frank Ricci’s troubled and litigious work history,” the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way drew reporters’ attention to Ricci’s past. Other advocates for Sotomayor have discreetly urged journalists to pursue similar story lines.

Specifically, the advocates have zeroed in on an earlier 1995 lawsuit Ricci filed claiming the city of New Haven discriminated against him because he’s dyslexic. The advocates cite other Hartford Courant stories from the same era recounting how Ricci was fired by a fire department in Middletown, Conn., allegedly, Ricci said at the time, because of safety concerns he raised.

The Middletown-area fire department was subsequently fined for safety violations, but the Connecticut Department of Labor dismissed Ricci’s retaliation complaint.

No People for the American Way officials could be reached Friday to speak on the record about the press campaign.

Laws and morals should not constrain mighty elites like Obama! He knows he is right, and all his enemies are just stupid and evil racist, sexist homophobes! Why should his power be constrained by laws, human rights and the arbitrary moral customs of this time and place?

Why do Democrats live far beyond their means?

Republicans typically enjoy massive support from people who actually know how the world works, namely, small business owners, investors and entrepreneurs. But do Barack Obama and his new Supreme Court nominee know how the world works?

Sonia Sotomayor

Let’s look at Obama’s Supreme Court nominee first.

Here is what she says:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

So she discriminates against people based on sex and race. There are words for people who discriminate against others based on sex and race.

The American Thinker reports on how she lives within her means: (H/T Commenter ECM)

Sotomayor’s annual earnings come to $196,000 a year ($170,000 a year as an appeals judge and $26,000 for part-time teaching). She has served as an appeals judge for 17 years. This service was preceded by lengthy tenure at a corporate law firm of Pavia and Harcourt, where she was a partner, and presumably was well compensated.

Yet after a career that has spanned 25 years, Ms Sotomayor only has one thousand dollars in net savings. As reported in the New York Post, Sotomayor’s bank account holds $31,985. Her credit cards debts are $15,823, and she has $15,000 in unpaid dental bills. That leaves her with $1,162. Sotomayor’s total assets, revealed as $708,068, consist almost entirely of equity in her Manhattan apartment.

And here is what it means for us:

If confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, Ms Sotomayor will be ruling on numerous cases that involve investors, savers, corporate profits, business regulation, and related free-market issues…. the fact that Ms Sotomayor, after so many years of highly paid professional work, has no savings or investments and no experience or apparent “empathy” with savers or investors, should be highly troubling to the tens of millions of Americans who do have investments, 401Ks, and personal savings.

And here is how this has affected her previous rulings:

In one of her most important rulings (as reported in the New York Times), Sotomayor ruled that corporations must address environmental concerns in the most radical manner without consideration of the cost. If one particle of pollutant remains to be removed, even at the cost of bankrupting all of the companies in the S&P 500 index, that particle must be removed. If a small business has failed to purchase the most advanced equipment available to address environmental concerns, even if the price of that equipment is one hundred times the revenue of the business in question, the equipment must be purchased. That is how much “empathy” we can expect from Judge Sotomayor.

If she is confirmed, she will probably hurt our free market capitalist system, and the liberties grounded by it. The more that the court hurts business and commerce with judicial activism, the more we lose our jobs, our incomes and our liberty itself.

Barack Obama

Now, let’s take a look at how Obama lives. First of all, it’s well known that Obama was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth and went to all the best private schools, where he snorted expensive cocaine. And he awarded massive taxpayer grants to the hospital where his wife worked after her salary was nearly tripled.

The National Review reports:

One of Obama’s Earmark Requests Was for the Hospital That Employs Michelle Obama.

Dan Riehl notes, via Amanda Carpenter, that in the list of earmarks he requested, $1 million was requested for the construction of a new hospital pavilion at the University Of Chicago. The request was put in in 2006.

You know who works for the University of Chicago Hospital?

Michelle Obama. She’s vice president of community affairs.

As Byron noted, “In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office.”

The NY Daily News reports on how well the Obamas live within their means. (H/T Sweetness and Light)

A close examination of their finances shows that the Obamas were living off lines of credit along with other income for several years until 2005, when Obama’s book royalties came through and Michelle received her 260% pay raise at the University of Chicago. This was also the year Obama started serving in the U.S. Senate.

In April 1999, they purchased a Chicago condo and obtained a mortgage for $159,250. In May 1999, they took out a line of credit for $20,750. Then, in 2002, they refinanced the condo with a $210,000 mortgage, which means they took out about $50,000 in equity. Finally, in 2004, they took out another line of credit for $100,000 on top of the mortgage.

Tax returns for 2004 reveal $14,395 in mortgage deductions. If we assume an effective interest rate of 6%, then they owed about $240,000 on a home they purchased for about $159,250.

This means they spent perhaps $80,000 beyond their income from 1999 to 2004.

The Obama family apparently had little or no savings during this period since there was virtually no taxable interest shown on their tax returns.

These numbers clearly show the Obamas were living beyond their means and they might have suffered financially during the decline in housing prices had they relied on taking ever larger amounts of equity from their home to pay the bills.

And what did the Obamas learn from this?

But in 2005, Obama’s book sales soared and the royalties poured in. Michelle explained, “It was like Jack and his magic beans.”

Without those magic beans, the Obama family would have eventually suffered the consequences of too much debt.

President Obama has never faced consequences in his private life when it comes to managing money. He always had enough money simply by borrowing more and more. And just when things got tight, those magic beans came along to save the day.

I guess this explains Barack Obama’s fiscal policy and his surprise at the consequent surge in unemployment. But he can count on his new judge to back him to the hilt in all of his unconstitutional interventions in the free market – neither of them knows the slightest thing about saving and investing… just borrowing and spending.