3 Years Of Experience Have Only Proved That Obergefell Was A Big Mistake Our cultural elites treat opposition to same-sex marriage as beyond the bounds of reasonable discourse. But three years’ more experience only reinforce that it’s a legal and cultural mistake. By Nathanael Blake


The Federalist
http://thefederalist.com/2018/06/28/3-years-experience-proved-obergefell-big-mistake/
3 Years Of Experience Have Only Proved That Obergefell Was A Big Mistake
SCOTUS
3 Years Of Experience Have Only Proved That Obergefell Was A Big Mistake
Our cultural elites treat opposition to same-sex marriage as beyond the bounds of reasonable discourse. But three years’ more experience only reinforce that it’s a legal and cultural mistake.
By Nathanael Blake
JUNE 28, 2018
Three years ago, a bare majority on the Supreme Court decreed a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Like many others, I was on the losing side of that decision. I am not persuaded that it was the wrong side.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is now a minority position, and our cultural elites treat it as beyond the bounds of reasonable discourse. The losers are expected to convert or to shut up, and many have. Younger conservatives may wonder why we fought over this at all. But nothing over the last few years has changed my mind. Indeed, I have become more certain that same-sex marriage is a legal and cultural mistake.

As a matter of constitutional law, the Obergefell decision was indefensible. Justice Anthony Kennedy led the majority in playing philosopher-kings, rather than being judges. They believed that same-sex marriage should be legally recognized, and so they invented a constitutional requirement for it. The cultural and media elites who celebrated the ruling ignored that it was a fundamentally autocratic, anti-democratic decision. But sacrificing the rule of law to the zeitgeist has repercussions beyond the individual case. Those who abandon the rule of law to advance their agenda should not be surprised when others do the same.

The implementation of same-sex marriage has also been marked by bullying and intolerance — from its advocates. They once insisted that same-sex marriage was a live and let live proposition. They are now trying to ruin the careers and businesses of anyone who still objects to it — especially anyone who declines to participate in promoting and celebrating same-sex weddings.

And, immediately following the triumph of the campaign for same-sex marriage, the LGBT movement began to aggressively promote a transgender agenda that encourages alienation and disassociation from the realities of our embodiment. From this, too, dissent will not be tolerated. The LGBT lobby is even outraged by mild cautions from sympathetic observers who have realized that blindly affirming all claims to transgender identity puts some children at risk.

It would have been better if advocates for same-sex marriage had been faithful to the Constitution, committed to the rule of law, tolerant of disagreement and accepting of the realities of human embodiment. It would have been better, but they would still be wrong. Regardless of the good or bad behavior of the LGBT movement, same-marriage is wrong in itself because it fundamentally misunderstands the reality of what marriage is.

The proponents of same-sex marriage are not alone in this. Our entire culture has a crisis of sex, relationships, family and fertility. Same-sex marriage is not responsible for this. Those who identify as LGBT are not responsible for it (much). The guilty parties are mostly ordinary heterosexual men and women who degraded and destroyed their marriages by giving in to selfishness and self-indulgence. Long before same-sex marriage was a mainstream cause, the decline of marriage in America provided plenty of ammunition with which to assail arguments for preserving the “sanctity of marriage.”

And the critics were right. Many Americans, Christians included, had disassociated procreation from marriage, embraced easy divorce, and emphasized romantic self-fulfillment above all else. The effects have harmed, and even devastated, millions. And this has been done by heterosexual men and women, many of who nonetheless self-righteously opposed same-sex marriage.

But though same-sex marriage is not responsible for the crisis of marriage and family, it will make it harder to reverse. Just as cultural shifts in the understanding of marriage made same-sex marriage thinkable, so same-sex marriage will make unthinkable the deeper understandings of marriage that are rooted in the natural complementarity and fecundity of men and women. Marriage is a union of the two halves of the human race, directed to the propagation of the human species and to lifelong companionship and support.

The highest expressions of this traditional view of marriage unite love, companionship, partnership, procreation and family. Religions draw on this central human relationship to represent the relationship between man and the divine. The Jewish scriptures repeatedly analogize the relationship between God and His people to a marriage. For Christians, marriage presents an image of the union of Christ and the Church.

Such views are now denounced as bigotry. We are told not to think in heteronormative terms, but marriage is heteronormative by nature. The place of marriage in human culture and civilization only makes sense in heteronormative terms. It is the formation of a new family, not just the recognition of a couple’s romantic love. Treating marriage as mere legal recognition of a current romantic partnership (that can be voluntarily dissolved at any time, for any reason) is as much a decline from the full meaning of marriage as treating it as a mere economic or political arrangement. Marriage incorporates many aspects of human flourishing, and excising some of them (such as procreation and the complementarity of the sexes) is harmful to it.

Consequently, accepting same-sex marriage precludes thinking clearly about what marriage is. If same-sex marriage is legitimized, then marriage is necessarily disassociated from the union of the two halves of the human race and the propagation of the species. This view asserts that men and women are interchangeable, rather than complementary, and it separates marriage from children and the natural family as a matter of definition, rather than of accident.

The fullness of marriage is only realizable between a man and a woman in a union that is naturally open to children. That some heterosexual couples, whether from age or from misfortune, are unable to have children does not alter this. Infertility is a deprivation that should be mourned as a diminishment of a marriage’s full potential. But the intrinsic sterility of same-sex relationships makes what is otherwise an unfortunate accident (or sometimes a deliberate diminishment) into an essential characteristic of a marriage. And same-sex relationships also exclude the union of the two halves of the human race that marriage provides. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage codifies the falsehood that men and women are essentially interchangeable.

It has become culturally forbidden to believe that men and women are essentially different — with limited exceptions. We are told to simultaneously believe that men and women are not essentially different, and that it is imperative to accommodate claims of sexual orientation and gender identity — which presume that men and women are not interchangeable.

For those advancing these seemingly contradictory claims, the differences are merely of sexual orientation (what sort of body turns you on?) or of a “gender identity” that is separate from, and may supersede, one’s embodiment as male or female. Thus, although the case for same-sex marriage rested upon the difference between men and women, this difference was treated not as intrinsic or essential, but as a matter of individual preference — the sovereign inclination and self-created identity of the individual.

We cannot think clearly about relations between men and women, if we believe that men and women are interchangeable, except as regards our sexual predilections or subjective identities. We cannot think clearly about fathers, mothers, sons and daughters if we pretend that there are no differences between them, or that “two dads” or “two moms” are interchangeable with a mother and father.

We are in a crisis of marriage and family. Much of our political and cultural dysfunction is the fallout of broken families and failed relationships — abandoned children and lonely, hurt men and women. Again, this was not caused by same-sex marriage or the LGBT movement, but accepting their ideological framework will impede amelioration. The healing truths that our culture needs are incompatible with an ideology that muddles the differences between men and women, and that rejects the unique value of the natural family.

The sexual revolution promised more than it could deliver, but our culture is still dominated by those who believe that the next hit of sexual liberation will finally bring happiness. Amidst these continued failures, who will provide the social capital to eventually build up what has been destroyed?

It will be those on the losing side. It will be ordinary men and women who believe in and live by a full understanding of marriage, no matter how unpopular such beliefs become.

Nathanael Blake has a PhD in political theory. He lives in Missouri.

City of Springfield Banned all Foreclosures! How Will The Supreme Court Rule On That?

 

BOSTON – A group of Western Massachusetts banks argued before the state’s highest court on Thursday that the city of Springfield’s anti-foreclosure ordinances should be overturned.

The banks say the local ordinances contradict state laws, and a bond levied on lenders constitutes an illegal tax. “It’s not that banks are opposed to mortgage laws and reform, but to how it’s being done,” said Craig Kaylor, general counsel for Hampden Bank, one of the banks that brought the lawsuit. “These are for the state to decide, not city by city.”

But the city disagrees and says the laws are necessary to avoid blight and protect neighborhoods that have high rates of foreclosure.

“This is the city’s response to the foreclosure crisis,” said Springfield Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Moore, who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court. “It’s a response from the city council and mayor based on what they see every day in the city. They’ve taken the strongest stance to protect homeowners and the city itself.”

The city of Springfield passed two anti-foreclosure ordinances in 2011 as the city was being hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. One ordinance requires a bank that forecloses on a home to pay for a $10,000 bond, which can be used by the city to maintain the foreclosed properties, if the bank fails to do so.

The other ordinance requires the establishment of a mandatory mediation program to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The bank would be responsible for paying most of the cost of the mediation.

Springfield is among the top cities in the state in the number of distressed properties it has. The city says high rates of foreclosures lead to health and education problems for children in families that lose their homes, and high rates of blighted or vacant properties lead to crime and violence in those neighborhoods.

Six western Massachusetts banks, with Easthampton Savings Bank as the lead plaintiff, challenged the ordinances. A U.S. District court judge upheld the ordinances. However, on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stay preventing Springfield from enforcing them. The federal court then asked the Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, to answer two questions related to state law before the federal court makes its ruling. The case is Easthampton Savings Bank and others vs. City of Springfield.

The SJC must decide whether the local foreclosure ordinances are preempted by existing state foreclosure laws. The court must also decide whether the $10,000 bond is a legal fee or an illegal tax. Cities and towns cannot create taxes without legislative approval.

The banks also argue that the ordinances violate the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution by impairing the contract between the homeowner and the mortgage-holder, a question that remains before the federal court.

During Thursday’s arguments, Tani Sapirstein, an attorney representing the banks, argued that the bond is a tax because banks do not get any particular benefit from paying it – which is the criteria for calling something a fee. The way the bond works is when a foreclosed property is sold, if the city did not have to use the bond money to maintain it, $9,500 would be returned to the bank and $500 is kept by the city as an administrative fee, used to maintain blighted properties and implement the foreclosure laws.

Chief Justice Ralph Gants questioned Sapirstein on whether the bank does not actually receive benefits. “You have an interest in preserving the value of your property,” Gants said. “If there are foreclosed properties going to hell all around your property, it diminishes the value of your property and diminishes the value of what you receive on the foreclosure. Why is this concern about avoiding blight not something that would benefit the bank as well as the city?”

Sapirstein replied that eliminating blight would benefit the bank “as well as the city and other property owners in the neighborhood.” “How is that a particularized benefit?” she said.

Moore argued that the bond is a fee, which the city needs to hire code inspectors and create a database of who controls foreclosed properties.

But Justice Geraldine Hines said if she pays for a copy of her birth certificate, she gets a document in return for the fee. “Here I don’t see that,” she said. “The property owners, the mortgagees, don’t have something tangible.”

Moore said the banks get a “well-regulated industry” and preservation of their property values. In addition, when a bank registers ownership in the database, the city knows who is responsible and problems can be resolved more easily.

Sapirstein also argued that local law cannot require more than state law in an area that is regulated by the state or the result would be “a patchwork of ordinances.”

Gants indicated that the court may move to narrow the ordinances – for example, applying them only to a bank that has taken possession of a house, not a bank that is in the process of foreclosure when the homeowner is still living there. Gants said the ordinance as written could fine a bank for not maintaining a property where the homeowner still lives. As a homeowner, Gants said, “I’d say I’m still living here. This is my home. How can they be punished for not invading what’s still my home just because they happen to be foreclosing on it?” Gants said.

Moore acknowledged that the ordinance may be overbroad and said the city does not anticipate pursuing a violation in a case like that. Moore said the lenders’ lawsuit is premature because there is no information yet about how the city will enforce the laws. “We have the lenders essentially saying the sky will be falling, we are worried about x, y, z happening. None of that has happened and none of that may happen,” Moore said.

Moore said the city is still writing the regulations for the ordinances and if they are upheld, “The city is ready to go forward with implementation within a period of weeks.”

Similar foreclosure ordinances were established in Lynn and Worcester, and local banks challenged those as well. That lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The case involving Lynn and Worcester could be affected by the SJC’s ruling in the Springfield case.

Several activists supporting homeowners came in from Lynn and Springfield to hear the arguments. Candejah Pink, a Springfield homeowner and community organizer battled foreclosure for four years before reaching an agreement to keep her home. She helped write the Springfield ordinances. Pink said the bond is there to ensure that homes are maintained, which keeps crime and violence down. The mediation program, she said, is important to help homeowners come to an agreement with lenders. “We’re not asking to live in our homes for free. We’re asking for some mediation,” she said.

From Living Lies – On Stopa’s Courage, and Appellate Court’s Bias

Attorney Mark Stopa Shows Guts Confronting Appellate Court Bias

Posted on October 4, 2013 by Neil Garfield 

http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/attorney-mark-stopa-shows-guts-confronting-appellate-court-bias/ 

I have just received a copy of a daring and tempestuous motion for rehearing en banc filed by the winner of the appeal. The homeowner won because of precedent, law and common sense; but the court didn’t like their own decision and certified an absurd question to the Florida Supreme Court. The question was whether the Plaintiff in a foreclosure case needs to have standing at the commencement of the action. Whether it is jurisdictional or not (I think it is clearly jurisdictional) Stopa is both right on the law and right on his challenge to the Court on the grounds of BIAS. 

The concurring opinion of the court actually says that the court is ruling for the homeowner because it must — but asserts that it is leading to a result that fails to expedite cases where the outcome of the inevitable foreclosure is never in doubt. In other words, the appellate court has officially taken the position that we know before we look at a foreclosure case that the bank should win and the homeowner should lose. The entire court should be recused for bias that they have put in writing. What homeowner can bring an action or defend an action where the outcome desired by the courts in that district have already decided that homeowners are deadbeats and their defenses are quite literally a waste of time? Under the rules, the Court should not hear the the motion for rehearing en banc, should vacate that part of the decision that sets up the rube certified question, and the justices who participated must be recused from hearing further appeals on foreclosure cases. 

Lest their be any mistake, and without any attempt to step on the toes of Stopa’s courageous brief on an appeal he already won, I wish to piggy back on his brief and expand certain points. The problem here might be the subject of a federal due process action against the state. Judges who have already decided foreclosure or mortgage litigation cases before they even see them are not fit to hear them. It IS that simple.

The question here was stated as the issue of standing at the commencement of the lawsuit. Does the bank need to have a claim before it files it? The question is so absurd that it is difficult to address without a joke. But this is not funny. The courts have rapidly evolved into a position that expedited decisions are better than fair decisions. There is NOTHING in the law that supports that position and thousands of cases that say the opposite is true under our system of law. Any judge who leans the other way should be recused or taken off the bench entirely. 

In lay terms, the Appellate Court’s certified question would allow anyone who thinks they might have a claim in the future to file the lawsuit now. And the Court believes this will relieve the clogged court calendars. If this matter is taken seriously and the Supreme Court accepts the certified question for serious review it will merely by acceptance be making a statement that makes it possible for all kinds of claims that anticipate an injury. 

It is bad enough that judges appear to be ignoring the requirement that there must be an allegation that a loan was made by the originating party and that the Plaintiff actually bought the loan. This was an obvious requirement that was consistently required in pleading until the courts were clogged with mortgage litigation, at which point the court system tilted far past due process and said that if the borrower stopped paying there were no conditions under which the borrower could win the case. 

It is bad enough that Judges appear to be ignoring the requirement that the allegation that the Plaintiff will suffer financial damage unless relief is granted. This was an obvious requirement that was consistently required in pleading until the mortgage meltdown. 

Why is this important? Because the facts will show that lenders consistently violated basic and advanced protections that have been federal and State law for decades. These violations more often than not produced an unenforceable loan — as pointed out in law suits by federal and state regulators, and as pointed out by the lawsuits of investors who were real lenders who are screwed each time the court enters foreclosure judgment in favor of the bank instead of the investor lenders. 

It is not the fault of borrowers that this mess was created. It is the fault of Wall Street Bankers who were working a scheme to defraud investors by diverting the real transaction and making it appear that the banks were principals in the loan transaction when in fact they were never real parties in interest. Nobody would seriously argue that this eliminates the debt. But why are we enforcing that debt with completely defective mortgage instruments in a process that confirms the fraud and ratifies it to the damage of investors who put up the money in the first place? The courts have made a choice that is unavailable in our system of law. 

This is also judicial laziness. If these justices want to weigh in on the mortgage mess, then they should have the facts and not the stories put forward by Wall Street that have been proven to be pure fiction, fabrication, lies and perjury. That the Court ignores what is plainly documented in hundreds of thousands of defective mortgage transactions and the behavior of banks that resulted in “strangers to the transaction” being awarded title to property — that presents sufficient grounds to challenge any court in the system on grounds of bias and due process. If ever we had a mass hysteria for prejudging cases, this is it. 

Neil Garfield | October 4, 2013 at 9:26 am | Tags: bias, Mark Stopa, motion for rehearing en banc, recusal, removal of judge, standing | Categories: CORRUPTION, Eviction, foreclosure, foreclosure mill, investment banking, Investor, MODIFICATION, Mortgage, Motions, Pleading, politics, securities fraud, Servicer | URL: http://wp.me/p7SnH-5GX

Court of Appeals – ATLaw

http://www.atlawblog.com/2012/06/anybody-else-want-to-be-an-appeals-court-judge/

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Archive for the ‘Court of Appeals’ Category

Anybody else want to be an appeals court judge?

3:48 pm, June 26th, 2012

Gov. Nathan Deal’s Judicial Nominating Commission has officially jump-started the process of filling the vacancy on the state Court of Appeals, created by yesterday’s promotion of Judge Keith Blackwell to the state Supreme Court.

The JNC’s notice says, beginning today through Friday, July 6, it will accept applications for the Court of Appeals opening from “any qualified applicant” who did not apply for the Supreme Court vacancy. The six remaining members of the short list for the Supreme Court opening automatically will be on the short list for the Court of Appeals, unless the applicant notifies the JNC he or she doesn’t wish to be considered, the notice says.

Deal spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield told the Daily Report yesterday that those who applied for the Supreme Court but didn’t make the short list will not be considered for the Court of Appeals opening.

The notice contains the details on what those interested need to do to apply. It says the JNC will schedule interviews of new applicants “to the extent necessary.”

The members of the shortlist passed over in favor of Blackwell are DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia “C.J.” Becker; Elizabeth “Lisa” Branch, a litigator at Smith, Gambrell & Russell; Michael Brown, co-leader of Alston & Bird’s Government and Internal Investigations Group; Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge William “Billy” Ray Jr.; Macon Superior Court Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self III; and Henry County State Court Chief Judge Ben Studdard III.

Writing last night about the Blackwell appointment and Deal’s new opportunity, conservative lawyer and commentator Carrie Severino wrote for the National Review Online that she hears “great things” about Branch, noting Branch previously worked in the administration of George W. Bush.

Learn more about the Supreme Court finalists here.

Contributor: Alyson M. Palmer in Court of Appeals, Georgia Supreme Court, Judges, Judicial Nominating Commission | add commentShare  share

Court of Appeals – ATLaw

 

Hell, all we have to say about the matter, other than the obvious, is thank God Becker didn’t make it.  There is no bigger crook at DeKalb County Superior Court, than Judge Cynthia J. Becker.  See McDonald and Stegeman v. Georgia Power in DeKalb County Superior Court and see McDonald/Stegeman v. Superior Court, GA Power, et., al., in US District Court.

FBI Chief Describes GPS Problems Created By Supreme Court Ruling

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Written by Pursuit Wire|03/12/2012|0 Comments

Filed in: Law Enforcement, Legislation, Technology

You remember that one court ruling that forced the FBI to shut down every GPS receiver they currently were using to track their suspects? well, one of the problems was that the FBI was unable to find the transmitters. But the same Supreme Court ruling that bars police from installing GPS technology to track suspects without first getting authorization for a judge is creating more “financial” problems for the FBI.

The agency has been forced deactivate its GPS tracking devices in some investigations, FBI director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.

Mueller told a congressional panel that the bureau has turned off a substantial number of GPS units and is using surveillance by agents instead.

“Putting a physical surveillance team out with six, eight, 12 persons is tremendously time intensive,” Mueller told a House Appropriations subcommittee. The court ruling “will inhibit our ability to use this in a number of surveillances where it has been tremendously beneficial.”

The Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of the measure in January

 

Full story on CBS DC:  http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/03/07/fbi-chief-describes-gps-problems-created-by-supreme-court-ruling/