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Could a State Judge Ignore a Supreme Court Decision Upholding Gay Marriage?
I won’t make you wait: the answer is no. But Article IV, section 2 of the Constitution, which spells that out, is apparently no obstacle for Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Judge Moore wrote a letter to the Alabama governor saying he would thumb his nose at last week’s federal court ruling that overturned his state’s ban on same-sex marriage. He pledged to do the same if the United States Supreme Court recognizes marriage equality for gays and lesbians when it rules on the issue this June.
Judge Moore’s letter has already drawn an ethics complaint. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for the stubborn jurist. In 2003, Moore was dismissed from the bench after he refused to follow a federal judge’s order to remove a two-and-a-half-ton Ten Commandments monument he had erected in the state courthouse. "To acknowledge God cannot be a violation of the Canons of Ethics,” Moore insisted at the time. “Without God there can be no ethics.” Undeterred, Moore waged two unsuccessful campaigns for governor before running for chief justice again in 2012. The people of Alabama reinstated him to his old seat.
In his latest bout of judicial civil disobedience, Moore opened the letter this way:
“The laws of this state,” Moore went on to write, “have always recognized the Biblical admonition stated by our Lord” that only men and women should “cleave” together as “one flesh.” And Moore cites a secular source for his position as well:
That’s right: Moore cited a Supreme Court case decided over a century ago to solidify his belief that gay marriage is anathema to the Constitution. No mention of United States v Windsor, the 2013 decision striking down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law defining marriage along heterosexual lines. And no acknowledgement that the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses he pooh-poohed as a source of the right to marriage equality are the exact constitutional phrases the Supreme Court turned to in 1967 when it decided that laws against inter-racial marriage were invalid.
But the real problem with Judge Moore's adolescent stance has nothing to do with his position on same-sex marriage. The trouble with his letter is, as the Southern Poverty Law Center puts it in its complaint, one of basic insubordination:
Chief Justice Moore has himself taken an oath to uphold the federal constitution, even if there are other sources of authority he agrees with or prefers. This is simply “Constitutional Law 101”—a principle that every first-year law student at every law school in every state in the Union would grasp instantly. Chief Justice Moore’s express rejection of this foundational principle evidences either a lack of faithfulness to a principle of law that is beyond dispute or an utter lack of competence that renders him subject to discipline.
If Moore's reaction to the federal court ruling is an early taste of how conservative states will respond to a possible Supreme Court decision this summer providing gays and lesbians across the country with a right to wed, we are in for some tumult in the years ahead. Judge Moore may have more chutzpah than the average cranky state official, but he is not, apparently, the only one with plans to try to scuttle a gay-friendly Supreme Court ruling. One would hope that however the justices rule in June, everyone will keep a copy of the Constitution close at hand.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.
- The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
- Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
- Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?
- New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
- The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
- The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.