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The Consistency of Libertarian Judicial Activism
So constitutional journalists such as Linda Greenhouse have attacked the federalism argument that libertarian constitutional scholars such as Randy Barnett want to use to strike down the DOMA. The result, in her opinion, would leave the states "to their own devices" in determining what marriage is. So, again in her opinion, the result would be a denial of individual rights in those states which continue to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.
But here's Ilya Somin's libertarian correction to Greenhouse's limited perception:
Greenhouse’s argument is based on a fundamental error: she conflates structural limits on Congress’ authority outlined in Article I of the Constitution with individual rights constraints on the states. In reality, it is perfectly possible for a particular law to be both beyond the scope of Congress’ authority if enacted by the federal government and a violation of constitutional individual rights if adopted by a state. Our federalism brief merely claims that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to enact DOMA because the law exceeds the scope of Congress’ enumerated powers. That conclusion is perfectly consistent with the view that state laws banning gay marriage violate individual rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Indeed, I myself have argued that the Court should strike down California’s Proposition 8 because it is unconstitutional sex discrimination. Similarly, we would argue that a federal law banning interracial marriage is also outside the scope of congressional power under Article I, while simultaneously endorsing the holding of Loving v. Virginia that state laws barring such marriages violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The states’ sovereign authority over marriage – like all state sovereign authority – is constrained by constitutional individual rights. Nothing in our brief is inconsistent with that basic principle.
In other words, Greenhouse noticed only one barrel of the libertarians' double-barreled judicial activism. When the second barrel fires, she should have noticed, it's clear they're aiming at the same result she is.
The Court can say that Congress can't regulate marriage because it isn't a commercial activity. It can, in other words, rely on the narrow view of the Congress' power under Commerce Clause put forward by Barnett that allowed four justices to say the ObamaCare mandate isn't constitutional. (The Chief Justice, of course, got out of the obvious implication of this view of the Commerce Clause by contorting his way to the conclusion that the ObamaCare mandate is really a tax. But nobody, it would seem, could say that the DOMA is really a tax.)
This way of explaining why Congress can't regulate marriage doesn't point to the conclusion that the states can do whatever they want with it. A libertarian readily concludes that Court can say state laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional for the same equal-protection reason that laws banning interracial marriages are. Said libertarian might also say that such state restrictions on marriage are arbitrary deprivations of liberty or what Justice Kennedy, in Lawrence v. Texas, called autonomy with respect to personal relationships.
This second form of judicial activism would be an unprecedented constraint on federalism or the authority of the states.
The libertarian is all about finding constitutional limits to both the authority of Congress and the authority of state legislatures. He's no respecter of either "the State" or states. He's all about respecting or presuming the liberty of the free individual.
The libertarian position, we can say, isn't the conservative position or the liberal position, because both conservatives and liberals have a more restrained view of the judiciary.
As I've said before, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia we can probably count on to vote to restrain the Court from striking down either DOMA or state laws restricting marriage to between a man and a woman. And Roberts also showed semi-incredible restraint by not using his view of the Commerce Clause to lead him to strike down ObamaCare.
Liberals, meanwhile, tend to join the libertarians on issues such as marriage. But they have a very permissive view of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, and they had the very opposite of the judicially activist view when it came to the ObamaCare mandate. Liberals tend to defer to "the State" (aka BIG GOVERNMENT) more than the states.
That's why it's fishy when they join the libertarians in playing the federalism card on DOMA, and we can see why Greenhouse should encourage them not to do it. They instead might encourage the libertarians to just say that Congress has no more right to trample on individuals through an arbitrarily restrictive or inegalitarian definition of marriage than do state legislatures.
We can conclude that this dispute between liberals and libertarians over federalism is mainly a misunderstanding: it's conservative and even democratic (with a small "d"), not liberal or libertarian, to care about the people acting through the states.
Some conservatives such as George Will seem sincerely to think of federalism as the ticket to getting rid of the DOMA without declaring a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. But limiting the power of Congress over marriage will do nothing to make the real issues—the equal protection and "substantive due process" issues—go away. The real issues do concern whether laws restricting marriage to between a man and a woman really are as arbitrary as those that restricted marriage to members of the same race. We might remember that not even President Obama thought that a year ago.
This storm rained electrons, shifted energy from the sun's rays to the magnetosphere, and went unnoticed for a long time.
- An international team of scientists has confirmed the existence of a "space hurricane" seven years ago.
- The storm formed in the magnetosphere above the North magnetic pole.
- The storm posed to risk to life on Earth, though it might have interfered with some electronics.
What do you call that kind of storm when it forms over the Arctic ocean?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8GqnzBJkWcw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Many objects in space, like Earth, the Sun, most of the planets, and even some large moons, have magnetic fields. The area around these objects which is affected by these fields is known as the magnetosphere.</p><p>For us Earthlings, the magnetosphere is what protects us from the most intense cosmic radiation and keeps the solar wind from affecting our atmosphere. When charged particles interact with it, we see the aurora. Its fluctuations lead to changes in what is known as "space weather," which can impact electronics. </p><p>This "space hurricane," as the scientists are calling it, was formed by the interactions between Earth's magnetosphere and the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_magnetic_field" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">interplanetary magnetic field,</a> the part of the sun's magnetosphere that goes out into the solar system. It took on the familiar shape of a cyclone as it followed magnetic fields. For example, the study's authors note that the numerous arms traced out the "footprints of the reconnected magnetic field lines." It rotated counter-clockwise with a speed of nearly 7,000 feet per second. The eye, of course, was still and <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/for-the-first-time-a-plasma-hurricane-has-been-detected-in-space" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">calm</a>.</p><p>The storm, which was invisible to the naked eye, rained electrons and shifted energy from space into the ionosphere. It seems as though such a thing can only form under calm situations when large amounts of energy are moving between the solar wind and the upper <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR854520.aspx" target="_blank">atmosphere</a>. These conditions were modeled by the scientists using 3-D <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21459-y#Sec10" target="_blank">imaging</a>.<br><br>Co-author Larry Lyons of UCLA explained the process of putting the data together to form the models to <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/space-hurricane-rained-electrons-observed-first-time-rcna328" target="_blank">NBC</a>:<br><br>"We had various instruments measuring various things at different times, so it wasn't like we took a big picture and could see it. The really fun thing about this type of work is that we had to piece together bits of information and put together the whole picture."<br><br>He further mentioned that these findings were completely unexpected and that nobody that even theorized a thing like this could exist. <br></p><p>While this storm wasn't a threat to any life on Earth, a storm like this could have noticeable effects on space weather. This study suggests that this could have several effects, including "increased satellite drag, disturbances in High Frequency (HF) radio communications, and increased errors in over-the-horizon radar location, satellite navigation, and communication systems."</p><p>The authors <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21459-y#Sec8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">speculate</a> that these "space hurricanes" could also exist in the magnetospheres of other planets.</p><p>Lead author Professor Qing-He Zhang of Shandong University discussed how these findings will influence our understanding of the magnetosphere and its changes with <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/uor-sho030221.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">EurekaAlert</a>:</p><p>"This study suggests that there are still existing local intense geomagnetic disturbance and energy depositions which is comparable to that during super storms. This will update our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling process under extremely quiet geomagnetic conditions."</p>
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.
- It's not always easy to tell the difference between objective truth and what we believe to be true. Separating facts from opinions, according to skeptic Michael Shermer, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, requires research, self-reflection, and time.
- Recognizing your own biases and those of others, avoiding echo chambers, actively seeking out opposing voices, and asking smart, testable questions are a few of the ways that skepticism can be a useful tool for learning and growth.
- As Derren Brown points out, being "skeptical of skepticism" can also lead to interesting revelations and teach us new things about ourselves and our psychology.