“We are a better people than what these laws represent”: Dover’s Judge Jones rules Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

May 21, 2014 • 12:04 pm

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from federal judge John E. Jones III, but you’ll surely remember him as the judge who presided over the Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District et al. case in Pennsylvania in 2005. And, though a George W. Bush appointee, a Lutheran, and a Republican, Jones simply threw the defense’s case for teaching Intelligent Design (ID) into the trash, calling ID “not science” and accusing the defendants of “breathtaking inanity.”

Now he’s made another landmark decision, and again in the liberal and rational tradition.  According to CNN (and many other venues), yesterday Jones struck down the Pennsylvania anti-same-sex marriage law as unconstitutional. And he gave no stay on his decision, so it will be effective immediately:

Other courts’ decisions have been stayed, pending appeals — meaning gay and lesbian couples can’t marry in those states until an appeals court weighs in. Same-sex couples in Oregon began getting marriage licenses Monday after a similar federal court ruling, which that state did not appeal though the National Organization for Marriage subsequently did.

Jones issued an order Tuesday permanently barring authorities in Pennsylvania from preventing same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses. That means people could apply for licenses right away, even if weddings don’t happen so fast: Pennsylvania has a waiting period of three business days between applying for and obtaining a marriage license.

. . . In his ruling Tuesday pertaining to Pennsylvania, Jones echoed many assertions made recently by his federal court colleagues.

“The fundamental right to marry as protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution encompasses the right to marry a person of one’s own sex,” Jones wrote, adding that both Pennsylvania’s banning of same-sex marriage within its borders and its failure to recognize such unions performed in other states are unconstitutional.

The judge added that there is no “important governmental interest” that would warrant preventing gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

You can read the whole decision as a pdf file here, but I’ve taken a screenshot of the very last lines, which will make your heart swell. (The CNN site also has a nice video.)

Picture 1

Picture 2Lift a glass to a Republican whose heart is in the right place—Judge Jones:


h/t: Ginger

95 thoughts on ““We are a better people than what these laws represent”: Dover’s Judge Jones rules Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

  1. This judge seems consistently rational and makes decisions on evidence. The wackier elements of the GOP must hate him.

    I actually heard an interview with the author of a book called Enlightenment 2.0 and he (accurately in my opinion) characterized Republicans as having internalized anti-rationality in their party politics.

    1. Before Reagan clambered into bed with fundie xians, Republicans were a fairly rational set – a little too fawning of rich dudes, and too dismissive of harms to the environment, but basically rational beings one could work with. But once you decide that people that think a story about fruit and a talking snake is history are a welcome addition to your party, you have thrown rationality under the bus.

  2. I do so wish that the sane, rational, intelligent Republicans like him would take their party back from the bipartisan ideologues who seem to own it now.

        1. You may be right. Scary.

          And what about Eisenhower and his pinko-commie highway system? “You’re not spending my tax dollars for a road I won’t use. That’s Socialism!”

        2. Bob Dole’s proposal for health care reform in the 90s in some ways went much further than Obama’s

        3. Another sobering thought (showing just how far the GOP has swung to the right): Nixon started the EPA.

          1. Given the advances in human knowledge since the invention of lenses (telescope, microscope), and challenges (including looming disaster) knowledge and technology have wrought (I do by any means intend to dismiss the good wrought also, btw) and are also the only solution for, one would expect in a rational society that one of only two political parties would elect to pursue anti-intellectualism as a primary ideological tenet:


            Yet one of the two parties does invest in that philosophy, and grows only more rigidly committed as reality shrinks their belief domain. I find it rather terrifying how, at least so far, it serves that party’s short term goals remarkably well.

            This is a measure the current status of rationality in the USA, I think. It also reveals an ugly truth of willingness to commit to blind obedience by the human critter.

            1. oops (tarnation! I long for an edit feature in this software)

              … one would NOT expect in a rational society that one of only two parties would elect to pursue anti-intellectualism …

            2. Keep in mind that one of the main reasons the GOP has so many anti-intellectuals in it is because it inherited them from the Democrats following the civil rights movement. AIUI, prior to the 1950s, those fundamentalist baptists, moral majority types were mostly Democrats.

  3. Damn. Reading this made me feel that there may be hope for humanity, and the US specifically, after all. And that they are worth saving. I need moments like this once in a while to counter the more typical, fully warranted, pessimism.

    Regarding Judge Jones, once could be coincidence, but not twice.

    I’m going to go get something to wipe my eyes now.

  4. The latest news is that Governor Corbett will NOT appeal. Marriage equality is now the law in PA.

  5. Judge Jones is great example of what conservative used to mean before it was radicalized. The government has no important governmental interest (a historical bedrock conservative position) in defining whom one loves and chooses to share one’s life.

  6. Despite the best efforts of groups such as N.O.M. and the nastier parts of the Republican party, Marriage Equality is being accepted across the country.

    From the first fights just a few years ago to today, there have been great strides and changes. It will not be long before this issue is put to rest fully and marriage equality exists in all states and at the governmental level.

  7. Judge Jones would likely make a good Supreme Court justice. Can all y’all imagine the head asplosion that would result if Obama nominated him — on both sides of the aisle?

    Oh — and if there’re any same-sex couples in Arizona planning on getting married as soon as it finally becomes legal here, and you’d like a trumpeter at the ceremony, let me know. When that time comes, I’ll also likely see if I can’t get some string quartets and harpists and guitarists in joining in a day or three of non-stop freebies….


    1. I’m sure there would be some in Arizona who would take a trumpet sounding at a newly legal same-sex marriage in Arizona to be heralding the apocalypse! 🙂

      1. Even better!

        …though the Wagner that usually gets played at weddings isn’t from Götterdämmerung, but is rather Elsa’s processional from Lohengrin. I’m more than happy to play that, but it’s not necessarily the most appropriate opera excerpt for weddings, despite how well-known it is. The Trumpet Voluntary (not opera!) would be a better choice, and the Mendelssohn wedding march from his incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (not opera either…) makes a great recessional….


          1. That piece has got to have given aneurysms to scores of librarians and publishers and catalogers over the years. Nobody can agree on what title, whether to attribute it to Clarke or Purcell, and so on. I have a degree in trumpet performance, and I’d have to look up what the latest consensus is on the matter.

            But most people know it as the Trumpet Voluntary, which is why most of us just call it that….


    2. Ben, I also look forward to SS marriages in AZ, but considdring how long they held out against MLK day, and they STILL won’t accept daylight saving time, I’m not holding my breath.

      1. Well unlike those two examples, this one has the weight of the constitution behind it, in my understanding.

      2. Oh, I hope we never have DST foisted upon us. Pointless, evil, wasteful, insane, and worse.

        But gay marriage will happen here, eventually, almost certainly before the end of the decade. If nothing else, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling applicable to the entire country. Too many courts have ruled as Judge Jones has for it not to wind up at the Supreme Court, and it’s almost inconceivable at this point for them to overturn them all. And if they do, expect an immediate and swiftly successful Constitutional amendment.

        …and don’t think the Supremes don’t know that that’s how it’d play out, and the last thing they want is to be remembered by history for being overruled on a civil rights matter by a popular amendment.


        1. Agreed (well, except about the DST part — I’d prefer to stay on DST year-round). Scalia explicitly wrung his hands about how this would play out in state cases, in his dissent.

          I expect these laws to fall pretty quickly. Your estimate of <10 years seems a good one.

        1. I looked it up, and apparently it is because it is too damn hot. Sun goes down, and you have hours of cooler temperatures to go out for dinner, etc.

        2. I hated DST even growing up in California, so I might not be the best person to ask about it. But, all the sane and rational and practical reasons why DST is evil aside…well, we’ve got plenty of daylight here. We don’t need to save any more of it, especially during the months when it’s rare for daytime highs to dip below 100°F and common for them to peak above 110°F.

          I never saw the advantages of the “pro” side of the argument, but, in Arizona, the “logic” (if you can call it that) applies in the exact opposite direction of what anybody but a mad d*g and / or Englishman would actually want.



          1. Seen somewhere by me, a supposed quote by a Native American, regarding DST “Who but a white man would cut off the bottom of a blanket, sew it on top and think they have a longer blanket.”

          2. You’re from California? I knew there was a reason you seemed so smart (full disclosure: born in Laguna Beach)

        3. I was living in Arizona during the late 60’s when DST was a big issue. One of the big issues was that during summer the sunset was so late that start of the drive-in movies had to be delayed until after 10 PM.

    1. My hope, exactly. Strange to say that about a conservative judge, but this one seems a good ‘un.

  8. The legal opposition to same-sex marriage crumbling has been interesting to watch, I imagine it wont be long before it’s legal in all 50 states, despite any majority opposition in some of the more retrograde states, because it is blatantly unconstitutional. And I also believe, that mirroring what happened in Canada to an extent, once it’s a fact on the ground, the opposition will evaporate. Because it will really have virtually no impact on the life of anyone who is opposed to it. It will quickly become an extreme fringe issue.

  9. Here’s to the Judge and Constitution. Justice is a beautiful thing. Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment.

  10. Here’s his closing statement, in text, for you to copy and paste 🙂

    The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded notion of “separate but equal.” See Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S.483 (1954), overruling Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). In the sixty years since Brown was decided, “separate” had thankfully faded into history, and only “equal” remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

    We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

    An appropriate order shall issue.

    /Signed/ John E. Jones III, United States District Judge

    1. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection.

      But apparently it can trump separation of church and state.

  11. Once again, with the html tags 🙁 or rather, 🙂

    The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded notion of “separate but equal.” See Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S.483 (1954), overruling Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). In the sixty years since Brown was decided, “separate” had thankfully faded into history, and only “equal” remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

    We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

    An appropriate order shall issue.

    Signed John E. Jones III, United States District Judge

  12. Come Man, think of the impact on the Institution of Marriage™!

    It is . . . irritating(?) . . ., how now that same sex marriage is such an issue that in some places / instances people are compelled to try and initiate new laws to protect against restrictions that the typical marriage laws in the US didn’t include in the first place.

    Some people think that denying civil rights to others is a more ethical response to two people loving each other than simply ignoring them, let alone congratulating them. Christianity, the Religion of Love™.

    1. Yes. The same arguments against same sex marriage are paralleled by the old arguments for racial segregation, womens’ rights, etc. In my experience, all bigots feel that they are reasonable and moral, and think that if they just explain their bigotry to you that you will of course come around to agreeing with them.

  13. john e. jones iii, appointed by w, enthusiastically recommended to w by man-on-dog santorum. poetic justice?

    1. It wouldn’t surprise me if w isn’t very invested in anti-homosexuality emotion and barely notes the end of nationwide marriage prohibition for same sex union. That, and he’s the sort of oblivious person who chooses not to pay any attention to this particular issue, despite being forced to as a nominal party leader for many years while a politico.

      I was unaware Rick “sweaterlad” Santorum recommended Jones for his seat. It is immensely gratifying to know that one of the most sanctimonious and deliberately ignorant religious bigots around, one who I expect to campaign again for President over the next couple of years, has had 1st Kitzmiller v Dover & now this ruling splatted in his face like a plate full of cream pie. He’ll harp on both till hell won’t have it on the ol’ campaign trail is my prediction, appealing to the most base traits of his political base.

      1. and from the confirmation hearings

        “Senator Santorum. John Jones is another outstanding lawyer and has served not just as an outstanding lawyer, but served the community beyond the practice of law. As Senator Specter mentioned, he was the head of the Liquor Control Board in Pennsylvania which, as Senator Specter noted, is a very difficult position. It is a position that is constantly under scrutiny of attempts to privatize, to modernize, and he has shepherded it through some very difficult waters and dramatically improved efficiency
        there and has just done an outstanding job for Governor Ridge, and now Governor Schweiker, in an appointed position in that regard. It shows his commitment to public service, but he has
        also been, as Senator Specter noted, an outstanding litigator, an outstanding attorney in Schuylkill County.
        So I am very, very excited about all three of these nominees. I think the committee, under review, will find them to be incredible nominees for these positions, and I certainly
        recommend that the committee move them to the floor and get them voted on and seated quickly.
        Senator Cantwell. So, Senator Santorum, you have not worked with Mr. Jones before?
        Senator Santorum. No, but I did mention he also went to the same law school I went to. So he also has an outstanding legal education.”

      2. Actually, Jones is a protegee of former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge who was a moderate Rethuglican when such folks existed (they are currently an extinct species).

          1. You probably recognize it as a robust red, bit it spends all its time pretending it is a dry white.

  14. Right and wrong are neither Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal. They just are. Judge Jones knows what’s right.

  15. JJJ seems to have a penchant for dramatic, almost entertaining decisions. Granted Ive only read the two famous ones… But does anyone else also get this “The West Wing” vibe of awesomeness from them? Like something Bartlett would say to epically slap down the opponent, finally throwing off the shackles of party politics in the last minute?

    1. Unfortunately I think this one was too dramatic in tone. No disagreement with his arguments and I am very happy about the result, but I think the cause of gay rights and SSM would have been better served with a ruling that was more neutral in tone.

      If you contrast the tones or styles of this one vs. the Kitzmiller ruling, they are very distinct. Kitzmiller comes across as academic, neutral, and sober. Its the sort of ruling that, IMO, could easily convince other judges in other districts who might initially favor Initially Design to change their minds. That was it’s power – not that it was convincing to scientists or secularists, but that it was convincing to folks on the fence and even possibly other jurists who were leaninng the other way.

      But this one is so pro-SSM in tone, so triumphant, I don’t think it’ll change the minds of any judge who is currently opposed to SSM. The judges currently opposed to SSM aren’t even going to read past the first paragraph before dismissing this as the biased opinion of an idealogue. Which is a very big shame because, as I said above, his legal arguments are (IANAL but IMO) very good.

      1. Even if I agreed with your tactical assessment (and I’m not sure if I do, as I think the tide is definitely turning on this issue), there is something deeply unsettling about the notion that when defending basic human rights, one should tread lightly. Would you postulate the same if it weren’t about gay rights but, say, racial equality?

        In the words of Judge Jones: we are a better people than that. I hope.

        1. Oh I think the tide is turning on this issue too.
          And I’m not sure I would characterize my position as “tread lightly.” As I said, I think the Kitzmiller decision was a good model of how to make the argument in a way both sides can see it, and I don’t consider that decision to have ‘treaded lightly.’ Do you? I fully support the complete legal stomping of the anti-SSM side, because their legal arguments are so bad that they should not hold up in any court. But I think that as a judge, he should strive to be seen as a neutral arbiter while he delivers the stomp. I think that the very first paragraph in his ruling establishes that he’s not really neutral on this issue.

          I guess the analogy would be: if you’re ruling on a case between two football teams, don’t show up to deliver your ruling in the jersey of the team who is about to receive the favorable ruling. It very unnecessarily undermines your credibility as a neutral arbiter. Jones’ ruling makes it clear that he is personally in favor of SSM. I see Jones’ language as almost cheerleading; analogous to wearing the jersey. And I think it undermines his credibility as a neutral artiber in this particular case, or at least it will undermine his credibility to SSM-opposers. But having said that, and just to reiterate, I am very glad for his decision and fully support it. Its just some of the editorializing langauge in the decision that I think was unhelpful.

          To see what I mean, consider a similar case but where you’re on the losing side. Pick a decision you don’t like (maybe SCOTUS’ last ruling on prayer before school board meetings?). Imagine that Roberts had said something like this in his decision: “Hoping to end the injustice of non-prayer, eleven courageous Christians have come together as plaintiffs and asked this Court to declare that all Pennsylvanians have the right to pray during meetings.” Wouldn’t the words injustice and courageous used in this context scream “biased judge!” to you??? Yet I have taken most of that language from Jones’ own decision. If you think that sort of speech denotes bias when the ruling opposes something you agree with, then I think its fair to say that conservative anti-SSMers are going to construe that Jones’ decision comes out of a personal bias on his part.

          1. I don’t understand how a judge who has made a decision on an issue can be considered to be neutral at all. Perhaps he was when the case began, but by the time the ruling is made neutrality no longer exists. That’s the nature of decisions, no?

            1. I don’t think it’s a good idea when a judge is percieved as cheering for one side to win, and that’s the impression I get from some of Jones’ language. Once can describe why the (making up an example here) plantiff had the better legal argument without describing the situation like “this courageous plaintiff, fighting the injustice of the defendant, brought his case before me…”
              Out of respect for Jerry’s 10% rule, I’ll stop beating this horse for today. If you want to keep discussing it, I’ll look back in on it late Friday.

      2. I disagree with your assessment. It seems equally plausible that judges, jurors and others who are on the fence due to peer pressure, but are uncomfortable with the bigotry, will be emboldened by Jones’s boldly stated ruling. It may also embolden others who are not even on the fence but, again due to peer pressure, are reluctant to say, or vote, what they really think on the issue. Others may be shamed by it into changing their position. Those types of reactions are just as common as people digging in their heels as you depict.

        This issue is highly emotional on both sides. The typical anti-SSM proponent does not hold their position because of reasoned consideration. Reasonable intellectual arguments will not change their minds. Look at how problems like this were changed in the past. Like racism, women’s suffrage. The more people that boldly demonstrate their opposition to bigotry, just like Judge Jones did here, the less acceptable it becomes to be anti-SSM. Until eventually it becomes socially and politically damaging to be overtly anti-SSM.

        What are the processes that contribute to that? I seriously doubt that dispassionate reasoned argument contributes significantly. I have discussed this with many people, one memorable time very loudly (not me, the other person!) in a posh Miami bar, and no one seemed the least bit motivated, or moved, by reasoned arguments (not definitive by any means obviously). Shaming, wearing down, seeing more and more people taking the other side. Having relationships, from informal like work or gym acquaintances to family members, with people known to be gay/lesbian. A major one, I think, is being confronted with people, or a person, that you respect and who opposes you. Whether they be a celebrity, mentor, friend or family. I think those types of behaviors are, collectively, much more involved in producing change than reasoned arguments.

        Regarding not changing the mind of any judge currently opposed, any legal opposition to SSM is so obviously, and trivially proved to be, technically wrong that any judge holding that position is obviously biased in a way that has little to do with reason. Biased either by religious / cultural beliefs that they have a very strong emotional commitment to, or for calculated tactical reasons that have to do with maintaining or gaining something they desire. Like access to wealth and power. Sure, there is likely to be at least one anti-SSM judge out there somewhere that is susceptible to reasoned argument on this issue, but there is not doubt in my mind that the number of such judges is insignificant.

        1. Yet we’ve heard that same argument over and over again about so many issues: my side is so obviously and transparently right, that anyone disagreeing with me must be irrational. They can’t possibly have good reasons for disagreeing with me, because there are none. You know what group (amongst others) used to be a victim of exactly that reasoning? Atheists. They were kept off juries in many states using exactly this logic: that no rational person could not believe in God, ergo atheists are incompetent to serve as jurors, because they must be irrational. Those laws are still on the books in some cases; you can go look them up if you don’t believe me. Start with Maryland’s, it’s a humdinger – they use that argument not only to disqualify atheists, but pretty much anyone who doesn’t believe in heaven and hell and a specific type of God.

          In this instance I share your opinion; I don’t think there are any good reasons for opposing SSM. But at the same time, I recognize that we all have a normal human bias to view our opponents in a very uncharitable light. So I am unwilling to say that they must be opposing it out of sheer emotion or unreason. I think for at least some opposers, their defense probably sounds very reasoned and logical to them. I can’t see it because I’m not them, but I’m unwilling to tar my political opponents in this matter with the brush of “must be irrational, because my position is the only rational one.”

          1. I understand what you are saying, but I wasn’t talking about my, or anyones, opinion there. I was talking about a technical point of law. Yes, laws can be, in many cases must be, interpreted. But there are many cases where the law and the issue it is being applied to are sufficiently unambiguous that no interpretation is necessary. For example as admitted by Deepak’s lawyer the other day. That is what I was talking about.

          2. Let me add to my first reply. I had to run out and barely skimmed your comment, and thought it was largely in reply to my last paragraph about judges and the law.

            In the wider context, I think you are stealing my lines, i.e. “we have heard that so many times before.” If we were talking about differences in opinion about what the best policies for empowering small businesses are, I would largely agree with you. This issue is quite different.

            You are accusing me of blindly engaging in the same type of behavior as the bigots who have harrassed atheists and other disliked subgroups. I disagree. I know I sometimes do the same thing, but I sure wish we would more often ask people some questions to make sure we understand their position before accusing them.

            A good illustration of the difference is that my position on this issue does not entail denying anyone their civil rights. The anti-SSM position entails exactly that. My position doesn’t deny anyone anything except the right to selectively deny others civil rights that they enjoy themselves because they are offended by the other.

            Equal rights under the law is what this issue is about. The group that needs to be protected, and the thing that is causing the bigots to try and take some of their rights away, SSM, is not the issue. It does not matter what the anti-SSM reasoning is about why SSM is bad. The issue is denying rights to others, period. And we have had that out in this country several times before. And each time we came up with the same answer. So I would ask you, do you think that there is some argument that would be convincing enough to warrant considering denying some group the civil rights afforded everyone else by our laws because of sex, color, sexual orientation, or any other similar attributes?

      3. Well, Kitzmiller was a scientific issue (even though it set an unhealthy legal precedent regarding the scope of scientific inquiry), so a matter-of-fact tone was highly appropriate. That is not the case with SSM; a different tone is not inappropriate.


    1. This was one of the greatest Nova episodes ever. Gripping, even when you know the outcome.

  16. As a Pennsylvanian, I hadn’t realized how Rick Santorum had been so doubly blessed. Makes one proud.

  17. My late spouse, Tom, was from Pottsville, PA, where Judge Jones is from, too. Tom and I were legally married in DC in 2010. We did a lot of activism toward same-sex marriage. He died a year and a half ago, but it would have given him great joy to know about this decision and who rendered it. And so…a glass is raised to Tom, Judge Jones, and all those who can now marry! What a happy day.

    1. In 2010 I was about as selfish as you can imagine. I don’t think I volunteered for anything at all. So, I want to raise a glass to YOU — not only did you work for a cause, but your cause was a difficult one to work for, but you did it anyways. Hopefully one day I will get off my ass. And when I do, your example will be one of the many I think about.

    1. The beauty of reason is that it’s apolitical. And the beauty of solid legal reasoning is that its principles — at least in theory — are apolitical.

  18. I have long maintained that the important thing to read in these decisions is not the legal arguements or even the sometimes soaring rhetoric of the judges. It is the stories of the perfectly normal and normally heroic people who want and have forged, against all odds, loving relationships, commitments, aspirations and a will to overcome the slings and arrows of life just like the rest of us do. All they want is to have the same support heterosexuals have under our law and to be free of the fear that the law, enacted in spite and bigotry, will actively seek to destroy those relationships, commitments and aspirations.

    Judge Jones’ recitation of these facts is particularly moving. I recommend that everyone read pages 3-9 of the decision.

    1. The personal stories in the decision are moving, and I think they’ll help any laymen who bothers to read it connect with the ruling and the rights of gays. As some of my other posts make clear, I am less sanguine about the soaring rhetoric. 🙂

  19. As a lefty liberal Brit I can only applaud JJJ – probably the only US judge I could name, apart from a few on the Supreme Court.

    Reading his sane, balanced words makes me wonder whether people on the left half of the political spectrum can sometimes be a little rash in jumping to conclusions based on generic highlight information.

    On paper JJJ would appear to be an extreme right wing hang-em-high shoo-in by Dubya. In the real world he seems remarkably fair, committed to the truth and justice (including social justice).

    If I ever get pulled over for naughtiness in PA please let me have JJJ on the bench.

    I don’t know if there is such a thing as a positive ad hom but he even looks like a nice guy.

  20. That’s really great!

    Call me weird but I downloaded a copy of the Kitzmiller judgement, and read it from time to time to be entertained. If he ever stops being in the judiciary he would make a great writer or journalist.

    It’s good to hear that the Dover case wasn’t a one off. He seems like a very considered chap. Bravo.

  21. A question about being a “Republican”. For a judge, is he permanently forever branded a Republican? He can never just be independent of non-affiliated?

    As a Canadian, I do find it weird this partisan branding for Judges, Judges in Canada have no public political affiliation. Who they vote for in an election is their own private business.

  22. Great decision by Judge Jones.

    I’ve lived in a gay friendly city for so long (Toronto), and have had so many gay friends, co-workers and family, that the idea of living in a pervasively anti-homosexual-rights environment (.e.g. conservative areas of the USA) is disorientating.

    My sister is gay and has a deeply loving and committed relationship with her partner (with whom she would like to raise a child).
    To me, she’s “just my sister.” The idea that, when my sister announces she and her partner are deeply in love and want to tie the knot officially, that I would rise up and declare “No, that is a right my wife and I get to have, but I will deny it to you!” is just bizarre to me. It makes no sense either emotionally or intellectually. The very idea is like a Twilight-Zone episode, and yet there are still people living in that “zone.”

    Thankfully the flood-gates to acceptance of gays and gay rights seem to be opening rapidly at this point.

    1. Yeah, I’d be more – love? really? people love each other? But I wouldn’t even think about the gay part. 😉 That’s because I assume people are narcissists. 😉

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