Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Gay marriage is in the Supreme Court today, and I have only one prediction regarding their decision: regardless of what they decide on Prop 8, there is no chance they will decide that same sex marriage is protected by the US Constitution and must be permitted across the land.

In order to do so, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have to support that view (otherwise the votes would not be there).  She will not.  Over the years, she has made it clear she believes that big political/moral issues should be settled by the democratic process, and not by the Court.  She has described Roe v. Wade as a "mistake" for this reason, though one can assume her personal view is pro-choice on the issue of abortion.

Back in the Pleistocene Era, my criminal law professor at the University of Michigan, Yale Kamisar, made this same argument.  The big moral issues (capital punishment, abortion, etc.) are not addressed by the Constitution, and pretending they are undermines the rule of law.  These are political issues and must be decided by the people, either nationally or state-by-state.  Supreme Court justices have no law to apply on these questions so all they can bring to the table are their personal prejudices.

Or, as Mark Steyn asked today: "Why not ask Punxsutawny Phil?"


Sunday, March 24, 2013


Four-star Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis was unceremoniously dumped as head of CENTCOM in January and retired on March 22, 2013. Often called "The Warrior Monk," he was revered for his toughness, his erudition, and his loyalty to his troops. Basically, this is a guy who composes poetry in Greek, but was equally at home leading a charge into a firefight. An expert marksman and a natural leader, he spent more than forty years in the USMC.

Some of his remarks over the years have been saved, and circulated, by other Marines:

"The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some bastards in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim."

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling."

To Iraqi tribal leaders in 2003: "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you fuck with me, I'll kill you all."

"There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business."

"Fight with a happy heart."

"I don't lose sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word."

"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."