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Friday, March 10, 2006

A New Chapter

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. There are three reasons for this: 1) a lack of fresh news combined with the fact that I have already written about many of my views, 2) a lack of time due to a particularly intense semester at law school and 3) my desire to only write posts that present fresh ideas arrived at through thoughtful deliberation. This third reason demands further explanation.

Nearly all of the views I've written about have been arrived at only after a long, deliberative process. Sometimes it's easy to express these long-held views as they apply to new situations that arise in the news. Other times, it's not so easy. Often situations are so complex and involve such a wide array of issues that it would be intellectually dishonest to begin writing about them as if I were fully informed. One example would be the recent flack over the United Arab Emirates control of U.S. ports. Many liberals thought Bush + further weakening of port security automatically made this a horrible decision. But those same liberals allied themselves with racists on the right who just didn't want people with brown skin running U.S. ports. Sometimes these kinds of coalitions are inevitable due to the multitude of issues involved in a given situation. Other times these coalitions indicate that one side or the other is leaping to a conclusion without properly considering all the issues involved. My opinion on this matter was never that emotional nor interesting to merit an article. I think that as long as we are going to allow foreign countries to control our ports, we shouldn't discriminate on the basis of the race of the country. My personal wish would be to make the operation of our ports a government enterprise considering the massive safety ramifications. On the other hand, I don't really know enough about the finer points of port management to honestly say that my proposal is the best idea.

My larger point is that I have come to dislike knee-jerk reactions to complicated social problems. Those problems which have an easy solution -- the problems of SUVs, the unconstitutionality of the death penalty, the horrible failures of Bush during Katrina, the deplorable records of Justices Roberts and Alito -- these problems provide me the best opportunity to speak my voice. For I can speak it knowing that I have been intellectually honest. The problem for me is that I have written about most of the easy issues for which I am duly informed.

Blogging is, in a way, very easy when someone like George Bush is in charge. His absolute moral bankruptcy -- reflected by his aggressive corporate agenda, his war on the environment, his failure to separate church and state and his illegal war in Iraq -- all provide clear examples of what's obviously wrong. At the same time, I find these kinds of posts to often be the "low-hanging fruit," i.e., obvious to spot and therefore somewhat uninteresting. I've tried to provide a unique angle on this blog and have stayed away from posts that merely restate the obvious. An example of this would be the recent video that proved that Bush knew that the levees in New Orleans would not last. But I said the same thing months ago due to the enormous amount of circumstantial evidence; there's nothing that newsworthy about this video because the logical conclusion was already clear to all those willing to think about it. As such, I found no reason to write about this unless I had something original to add.

My point is only to explain my lack of fresh posts and to explain the limited amount of posts that will come in the future. Part of my training to become a lawyer involves the careful process of crafting law. Some people who I admire very much, such as Justice Brennan, at times became too results-oriented and harmed the integrity of the judicial process. (I plan to write on this issue in a future post.) I certainly do not want to stray down that path. I believe liberalism is the correct ideology because it is more fundamentally sound and reasoned than conservatism. Similarly, I'd like the quality of my posts to outweigh the quantity of my posts. Mainstream blogs rely upon daily posts, often several daily posts. This blog will never become one of those because I lack the time necessary to write duly informed comments on a daily basis. (Most mainstream bloggers do as well, so they write crap instead. I digress.) Nonetheless, the War on Corporate Evil must continue. Expect new posts weekly, or perhaps bi-weekly, but expect the posts to be more thorough, unique and thoughtful.

Comments on ""


Blogger Tran said ... (1:42 PM) : 

While I fully agree with your decision not to post crap, I must admit it is unfortunate that many of us will no longer be able to turn to the WOCE as a daily source of liberalism. =)

In the meantime, it would certainly be nice to get your perspective on smaller issues regardless of whether you can offer any deep legal insight. For instance, the recent case that is in the news regarding unintentional fathers and whether they should have the right to decline responsibility. They claim, essentially, that they should be entitled to the same autonomy that is accorded to females under Roe v. Wade.

On matters like these, Im certain many of us would still be interested to hear your personal perspective and it should not require much time/research. =) I apologize for blatantly coercing you to write more posts, but often times your perspectives are very interesting and lead to interesting idealogical debates even where there is no intense factual research involved.


Blogger Michael Alexander said ... (2:35 PM) : 

Well I thank you for your kind words. I'll try to post as often as I can, but at least until this semester is over it probably won't be much.

As for these fathers who want to escape financial responsibility for unintended children, I would think that they don't have much of a case. First, the right in Roe dealt more with personal autonomy to decide one's own medical procedures as opposed to the decision whether or not to have children. It's much more intrusive to make laws telling people what to do with their physical bodies than it is to make laws ordering financial support. Second, equal protection, as I understand it, applies to laws that legislatures pass, not decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no legislative law that permits abortion. As such, levels of scrutiny cannot really apply; they involve analyzing legislative acts, not acts of the Supreme Court. Even if equal protection concerns apply to Supreme Court decisions, one can argue that men have the same right to have an abortion, just that the laws of science prohibit it since men cannot get pregnant.

Finally, the rights of the child are at stake when it comes to financial responsibility, not the rights of the mother. "Parens patriae" is the idea that our government, in a way, functions as a type of parent-figure for all Americans. In particular, courts have consistently ruled that the care of children is a compelling state interest. Children should not be penalized due to the decisions of the parents. From what I can remember from Family Law, there is no way to opt out of financial responsibility for one's own children.

I'd say this is just a frivilous lawsuit. Of course, I could be wrong. I know that arguments similar to this one have put forth to support the idea that potential fathers should have a say in whether a woman can obtain an abortion.


Blogger Tran said ... (6:10 PM) : 

See what I mean... excellent discourse without much research. =)

A brief rebuttal: I think the claim is more along the lines that if a woman is given the unilateral decision whether or not to birth the child, she should not also have the unilateral power to financially bind the father. If the father cannot prevent abortion, and yet cannot demand it either, he should not be held responsible for the mother's choice - as it certainly was not his own. Thus, the comparison to Roe is more of an analogy - if women have a "right to choose" men should as well.

Not that I necessarily agree, or that it is a winning argument, but it certainly is a fair claim. No reasonable person can argue that it is 100% fair to a father that the mother should have all say, and he should be bound by her decision (which he cannot participate in). Child support payments are substantial and are certainly an intrusion on his reproductive rights - for instance, a father paying child support for an unwanted child may no longer be able to afford to have a wanted child.

Anyways, appreciate the comment... gave me something to break up the boredom that is criminal procedure. =)


Anonymous Tom said ... (12:52 AM) : 

Nice post Mike, even I'll miss your opine's.
I think the "Rov v. Wade for men" is an interesting case. It falls apart when you think about it at a specific level, if the right in Roe is to terminate a pregnancy, and nothing more.

But if you describe the fundamental right in Roe more basically, to use Brennan's words which were cited in Casey, the "right to bear and beget children" then you might ask yourself, why don't men have any say in whether or not to have children if it is such a fundamental right? Of course there's no way to reconcile the right of each parent to choose when they disagree. Another way is to give the man some rights by not forcing him to support a child when it was not his choice to do so. I don't suppose there is any remedy for the father if he wants to have a child and the mother decides not to.

I admit that from a social standpoint I'm against the plaintiff in this case, he should be forced to pay child support, but I agree with him that it's about time this issue was brought into the arena of debate.


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