Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Proposition 8 And Animal Judges

Defenders of Proposition 8 (the California gay marriage ban) are arguing that the ban should be reinstated because the judge who overturned it is a gay man in a long-term relationship. Their argument is that his relationship gave him an interest in the outcome.

I've gone from seeing this as an offensive argument grounded in thinly disguised antigay prejudice to appreciating the awesome consequences it would have for jurisprudence. The US Supreme Court regularly decides cases that address the rights that all Americans have. So in order to make sure that those decisions were made by impartial justices, we'd have to put foreigners whose rights wouldn't be affected on the Supreme Court. But that might not be enough. Since some Supreme Court decisions address the human rights of both Americans and foreigners, impartiality requires that we assign those decisions to animal judges.


Zack said...

You haven't gone far enough. What happens when chimpanzee advocates sue to broaden the notion of human rights? We come to the hampsters in your picture, naturally. But when advocates of a Singer-esque bent start extending the animal rights claim, we need to start looking beyond animals.

It turns out, not only should trees have standing , but they should also determine who else gets to.

Of course, you can't have trees adjudicating their own suit for standing, so...

Anonymous said...

Woof! Woof woof?

Max Kingsbury said...

I think one of the most basic kindnesses you can offer to those who disagree with you is to initially assume that they are not just being selfish. If they prove you wrong, however, all bets are off.

Barack Like Me said...

I loved this idea at first, but then had a conflicting thought.

While I find it abhorrent that some think a gay judge couldn't be impartial on Prop 8, don't we want Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from considering cases on the new health care law, because his wife has campaigned against it?

I'm trying to draw the appropriate line in my mind -- perhaps the difference between what someone *is* and what someone *does*?