Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Few Comments on Arenda Wright Allen, The Judge Who Struck Down Virginia’s Ban on Marriage Equality

She Get’s OuR Vote for Supreme Court Justice (No, Don’t Write In, Yes We Know We Don’t Have One)

The federal judge who ruled that Virginia’s ban on same sex marriage, much like its previous ban on inter-racial marriage violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment because there is no rational basis for the ban is quite a person.

Her background is that of an individual who is deeply religious and one with a long career as a legal officer in the navy, experience as a prosecutor and as a public defender.  And no, no Harvard or Yale education here.

Two aspects of a Washington Post story about her stand out.  The first one involved an individual convicted of exploiting a child for sexual purposes who claimed he needed religion not jail. 

Wright Allen seemed to show little empathy for a man convicted in a child-pornography case. The man, who had been accused of luring underage girls into making lurid videos, told the judge that he didn’t need jail. “All I need is the Lord, some good Christian fellowship and my family,” he said.

Given her background one might have expected leniency here.  One would be wrong.

Wright Allen gave him 30 years.

“You mentioned wanting Christian fellowship. You can have that while you’re in BOP [the Federal Bureau of Prisons],” Wright Allen said, according to the Daily Press newspaper in Virginia.

The other interesting thing is the reaction of a radical conservative legislator in Virginia.

The ruling prompted Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), co-author of the ban, to call for the judge’s impeachment.

“Legislating through the courts against the will of the people is lawless disregard for our representative form of government,” Marshall said in a speech on the House of Delegates floor.

As noted in the article and elsewhere like Slate, 32 judges in 18 decisions have all reached the same conclusion as Judge Wright Allen.  No one has reached the opposite conclusion.  Does Del. Marshall wish to impeach the entire federal and state judiciary?

And of course the ignorance of Del. Marshall here shines brightly, mainly that the Virginia Assembly cannot impeach a federal judge.  But this man is probably too ignorant to care about his ignorance.

Despite cries of victory the marriage equality battle is not yet won.  There are at least four Supreme Court Justices who would vote to not only bar marriage equality but who would also vote to deny any rights to gay and lesbian couples, to prohibit their actions, to put them in jail for being gay and lesbians and probably to allow the states to torture them should they wish to do so (although to be fair Justices Thomas and Scalia would probably say they were personally opposed to torturing gay and lesbians but that the people of a state had the right to vote to do so should they so choose and that the Court should not let the personal view of individual Justices who opposed such torture over-rule the law.) 

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