Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Supreme Court

Gay Marriage, Obamacare, and the Moral Implications of other Recent Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court has recently issued a slew of interesting and important decisions, and I want to make a point to talk about them, their consequences, and the merits of the arguments and judicial philosophies to which the various justices appealed.

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Let’s Repeal All the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts

In my previous post, I wrote about Indiana’s recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and how it differs from other versions of the law passed by other states and at the federal level. Today, I want to make larger and more provocative argument that all Religious Freedom Restoration Acts–even those written tighter than the Indiana law–should be repealed. This may sound like a radical point of view to you, but hear me out.

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Duck Dynasty and Corporate Speech

American cable station A&E has put Phil Robertson, star of its hit reality series Duck Dynasty, on an indefinite hiatus for making comments in the January issue of GQ magazine in which he disparaged gay people. There have been two broad categories of reaction to this. LGBT rights supporters are happy, believing that A&E’s move sends a message that criticizing homosexuality is no longer okay. Conservative Christians, on the other hand, are upset–they believe that A&E has stifled Robertson’s free speech rights. Who’s right?

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Antonin Scalia and Homosexuality

Recently US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was asked to defend a dissenting opinion he made in the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas case, when the Supreme Court struck down laws against sodomy. The defense offered by Scalia is presently being roundly condemned in the media. Rather than join the chorus of visceral emotional disgust, I would like to analyse Scalia’s argument to investigate where precisely, if anywhere, the argument goes wrong.

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Judges and Juries

One of the popular arguments for democracy as opposed to expert-driven, sophiarchist government is the notion that democracy is good for the same reasons that juries are good as opposed to judges. David Estlund makes just such an argument in Democratic Authority on the basis that all reasonable people can accept the jury model but not a system of judges due to uncertainty regarding the knowledge of the judges and that, by extension, all reasonable people can accept democracy but not government by experts. Today I aim to challenge this line of argument with a more critical examination of judges and juries and how we use them.

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