Six Attributes of a Great Criminal Defense Attorney

Six Attributes of a Great Criminal Defense Attorney

There are a wide range of fees charged by criminal defense attorneys, and you may have wondered why one attorney commands more than another. Some of these reasons may seem obvious, while others are more subtle. One factor that people think of as being true, in reality, is not, and that is a win percentage. Winning cases is not like a sporting event, where a winning record is everything. What savvy analysts of criminal defense attorney performance look at is the success shown under the circumstances of the case. Some of the best defense attorneys in the country often win less than half of their cases, but when you look at the specifics of the cases and their clients, their success rate in very impressive. The following are six of reasons for this.

An intricate knowledge of the law
There is often an area of criminal law that great attorneys will specialize in. They understand every aspect of this area of the law and know every obscure ruling that may possibly apply in the case they are working on. This type of attorney does not need to look up cases that are on point to the argument being made, he or she already knows them. It is only a matter of understanding the specifics of the particular case that is being worked on for their client.

A strong working knowledge of forensics
They have a strong knowledge of scientific issues relating to the cases in the attorney’s area of practice. This includes specific testing, the procedures of the test and even the type of test equipment used. It includes all of the basic evidence that the prosecution may enter into evidence as well as the police procedures used to gather the evidence. They also know when and how to best refute scientific evidence

Jury selection ability
Great attorneys have gifted insight into people, and are able to pick the members of a jury that will likely benefit their client. Part of this is an art that is developed over time. Some attorneys employ experts to assist them in this process. This only serves to make the jury more likely to acquit their client.

A knowledge of the competition
Great attorneys often face the same prosecutors, time after time. They get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents and are able to use this knowledge to their advantage.

Many years of experience
Great attorneys come into being after many years of working in the field of law. Often they work under the tutelage of other great attorneys and learn much of their skill from watching others in the court room applying the skills of a great lawyer. They have defended many clients over time and are never surprised by anything new, because they have seen it all before.

They are occasionally in the news
Because of their talent, they attract defendants in high profile trials. Sometimes these lawyers are successful, while at other times their clients are convicted, but one thing that all of these lawyers have in common is strong defense of their client. This is true even when a case may look hopeless at the early stages.

Great criminal defense attorneys have all of the above attributes in common as well as many others. This type of lawyer is set apart from others by their level of ability. One example of this type of attorney can be found at The Hughes Firm.

The Declaration of Independence:

(Bold Seem Familiar in 2015)

The Declaration of Independence:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration

The only way to do things

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain has an article up concerning the efforts of some feminists to deprive male university students of their constitutional rights:

Rape Is a Crime. Or Not.
Posted on | July 2, 2015 | 7 Comments

Zoe Ridolfi-Starr (@ZoeRidolfiStarr) is a liar and a feminist, but I repeat myself. A recent graduate of Columbia University (annual tuition $51,008), Ms. Ridolfi-Starr is an enthusiastic supporter of her classmate Emma Sulkowicz, whose false rape accusation against Paul Nungesser led to his filing a federal lawsuit against Columbia. Ms. Ridolfi-Starr bragged to the Columbia student paper of her accomplishments as the university’s “friendly neighborhood angry feminist”:

Organized to fight gender-based violence on campus, founder of No Red Tape. Helped create the Prison Resistance and Education Project and the Books Not Bars programs for incarcerated youth. Worked for reproductive justice on campus, got free emergency contraception provided at Health Services, and secured the creation of the Columbia Emergency Health Fund to subsidize, among other things, abortions.

What is “No Red Tape”? It’s about depriving male students of due process rights, so they can be expelled merely on the basis of an accusation, under the guise of “fighting sexual violence and rape culture at Columbia University.”

There’s a lot more at the link.

Zoe Ridolfi-Starr

What the lovely Miss Ridolfi-Starr is advocating is that university administrators take action against those students accused of rape or other forms of sexual assault, without reporting those allegations to the police if the reporting victims do not wants such to happen. Under Miss Ridolfi-Starr’s proposal, an accused student would be “disciplined” by the university, without any necessity of the allegations against him being proved.

But that is exactly the wrong policy. All universities should, and really must, take the position that all reported sexual assaults will be referred to the police, because collegiate administrators do not have the time, professional skills or inclination to investigate reported crimes. Only in that fashion can the universities protect themselves from lawsuits that they did not “do enough” to protect students.

Think about what Miss Ridolfi-Starr has asked: if reported sexual assaults are handled only in-house, without reference to the police, the worst that the university can do is to expel the accused student. If we assume that the accused student really is a rapist, then Miss Ridolfi-Starr’s proposal leaves a rapist free and out on the streets. Her proposal doesn’t end any danger he poses, but simply transfers it from one group of young women — the coeds at the university — to a different group of women.

But, perhaps Miss Ridolfi-Starr doesn’t see the women of some working-class neighborhood as being as deserving of protection from an assailant as the highly intellectual coeds at an Ivy League college. They are, after all, just the plebeians of society, the laundresses and convenience store clerks and even [shudder!] housewives. Who cares if they get raped?

Well, we know something about that in Pennsylvania. Remember that the administrators at Penn State tried to handle the child abuse case of Jerry Sandusky in-house, and for their efforts, then-President Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz might wind up in the state penitentiary.

Three otherwise fine men, who just couldn’t believe, didn’t want to believe, that their friend could have been a child molester, men who had no training and no experience as criminal investigators, and three men who had absolutely no inclination or desire to go where the Sandusky case led, are all facing felony charges, all looking the possibility of hard time, because they didn’t report the case to the police.

Any collegiate administrator who receives a report of a campus sexual assault and who chooses not to report it to the police would be put in the same positions as Messrs Spanier, Curley and Schultz, possibly facing felony charges if the accused assailant goes on to rape other women.

Will that place an additional burden on women who say that they have been raped? Yes, actually, it will. Anyone reporting a crime is taking on an additional burden; that’s just the way it is. Miss Ridolfi-Starr would try to relieve victims of that burden, but she would do so in a way which makes a mockery of any form of due process, and would do so in a way which would expose colleges and administrators to other liabilities, including possible felony charges. Paul Nungesser, apparently falsely accused of rape by Emma Sulkowicz, is suing Columbia for allowing Miss Sulkowicz to sully his reputation after Columbia cleared him of all charges.

There are no winners there: both Miss Sulkowicz and Mr Nungesser, after paying all of that money to Columbia, have become unemployable. After all, what employment official would want either a “performance artist” like Miss Sulkowicz, who made serious accusations she could not prove, and suborned two other women to make false accusations against a man who declined to become her boyfriend, or Mr Nungesser, who, though as cleared as procedure allows, might be a sexual assailant, and whose presence in a company’s workforce would only start a whispering campaign, at the very least? It doesn’t matter which side you believe; the wiser position, from an employer’s standpoint, is to wish them both luck in finding a position with another company.

Despite Miss Ridolfi-Starr’s desire to reduce the burden on reporting victims, there really is no way to do that. Rape is a serious, serious crime, and reporting is not something that can be done lightly, and is not something that can be shuffled off to collegiate administrators who are simply not properly prepared to handle criminal cases; the police have to be notified, and take the case, and proper law enforcement procedures followed by the police and local prosecutors. Nothing else follows reasonable standards of proof, and nothing else gets a rapist who is actually found guilty off the streets.

Will the Europeans be stupid enough to do it? Updated!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Greece Asks for Third Bailout Amid Last-Minute Diplomatic Push
Athens nears expiration of European bailout program, likely default on IMF loan repayment
By Viktoria Dendrinou, Nektaria Stamouli and Gabriele Steinhauser | Updated June 30, 2015 11:58 a.m. ET

BRUSSELS—Greece on Tuesday requested a new bailout amid a last-minute diplomatic push before the country’s current rescue deal expires and it defaults on a payment to the International Monetary Fund.

The Greek government submitted a proposal for a two-year agreement with the eurozone bailout fund to cover its financing needs and restructure its debt, according to a statement issued by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s office. The proposal says Greece wants the new rescue package to cover €29.15 billion in debt repayments between 2015 and 2017.

There are big questions over how seriously the eurozone would consider Greece’s request. While European officials have said that a new aid program would be possible, it would require Mr. Tsipras to accept the economic overhauls and austerity measures lenders want—and which he rejected last week—in a major about-face. It was unclear how much ground Mr. Tsipras was conceding.

Many officials don’t trust Mr. Tsipras and his government to implement these measures. Four European officials said they didn’t know whether it was the beginning of a U-turn by Mr. Tsipras or an attempt to complicate negotiations.

Emphasis mine; more at the original.

Basically, the Greeks have run out of Other People’s Money, can’t pay their debts, and so they’re asking for another infusion of Other People’s Money. The European leaders have known all along — if they haven’t known, then they are just plain stupid — that Greece couldn’t pay back the bailout loans, yet they keep letting the Greeks off the hook.

I have been reading William L Shirer’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and the European leaders today remind me of Neville Chamberlain, trying something, anything, to avoid facing the truth: Greece can’t pay back its debts, period, and everybody knows it, but nobody has the nerve to actually admit it.

At The First Street Journal, we said it years ago: the Europeans should let Greece go bankrupt. It would be harsh, it would be unpleasant, and a lot of people would lose money, but it would have been facing the truth, and would have avoided the continual spending of good money after bad that has kept happening.

If some European leaders “don’t trust” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ ability to meet the conditions necessary, it’s for good reason: he can’t. Even if he wanted to — and he ran for office on a platform of not meeting austerity conditions — his coalition and the Greek public wouldn’t let him.

Will the European leaders let Greece off the hook again? I’d bet a can of Mountain Dew that they will.
Update: I guess that I lose that can of Mountain Dew!

Greece Defaults on IMF Loan Despite New Push for Bailout Aid
European finance chiefs shut down Athens’s last-minute request for emergency financial aid
By Gabriele Steinhauser and Viktoria Dendrinou in Brussels and Nektaria Stamouli in Athens | Updated June 30, 2015 6:58 p.m. ET

Greece became the first developed country to default on the International Monetary Fund, as the rescue program that has sustained it for five years expired and its creditors rejected a last-ditch effort to buy more time.

The Washington-based fund said the Greek government failed to transfer €1.55 billion ($1.73 billion) by close-of-business on Tuesday—the largest, single missed repayment in the IMF’s history.

The failure to pay the IMF was a dramatic, if anticipated, conclusion to a day full of unexpected twists and turns. On Tuesday morning—with the clock ticking toward the midnight expiration on the European portion of Greece’s €245 billion bailout—officials in Athens said they were working on a new solution to the four-month old impasse with creditors.

By the afternoon, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had asked for a new rescue program—the country’s third in five years—to help pay for some €29.15 billion ($32.52 billion) in debt coming due between 2015 and 2017.

Late Tuesday, Greek officials were also raising doubts over their plans for a referendum planned for Sunday, in which the government had asked its citizens to vote against pension cuts and sales-tax increases demanded by its creditors.

More at the link. Maybe, possibly, finally, the European leaders are learning what we have all known for years: Greece could not be bailed out, could not meet the obligations it had made, and would not agree to the austeity programs necessary to get the county back on a sound(er?) financial footing. Or maybe, possibly, the European leaders will come up with something else; only time will tell.

We told you so!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Stocks Tumble Around the World on Greek Crisis
European stocks and bonds, as well as the euro, fall as Greece shuts banks and implements capital controls
By Tommy Stubbington and Josie Cox |Updated June 29, 2015 8:08 a.m. ET

A sudden deterioration in Greece’s debt crisis shook global markets Monday.

Stocks around the world tumbled after a weekend breakdown in negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors left the country teetering on the brink of default and pushed it closer than ever to an exit from the eurozone.

Still, there was little sign of outright panic in the market. European stocks recovered slightly from early losses. Bonds in Italy, Spain and Portugal—highly indebted countries seen as vulnerable to the Greek crisis—also pared losses after initial sharp falls.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 2.4% midway through the session, wiping out most of the previous week’s gains on optimism that a deal would be done. Greece’s stock market will remain closed this week along with the country’s banks.

We’ve said it before: trying to rescue Greece was just throwing good money after bad, and this effort should have been abandoned long ago.

The European Union should just let go here, let Greece fall by the wayside. If they do not, then the voters of Germany and France and the other better-off European countries should vote out the political leaders who wasted so many of their tax euros.

In the end, the Greeks will have to live within the means supported by their production; that is true of every nation, of every people. Letting the Greeks suffer the consequences of their own profligacy might, might! serve as a warning to other nations to get their economic acts together before they fall into the same trap.

Yorkshire called it, years ago

Whilst looking back through some old Common Sense Political Thought articles, I found this sadly prescient one from Yorkshire, from 4½ years ago:

Census: Fewer than 10 percent of (Baltimore) city households are nuclear families. What could possibly go wrong???
Posted by Yorkshire on 19 December 2010, 10:42 pm

Census: Fewer than 10 percent of city households are nuclear families

Before moving with her boyfriend of three years to a Hampden home this September, Brandy Washington lived with two other women, both young professionals in their 20s, just like her.

Delaying marriage is a lifestyle that has suited the 27-year-old. She and her boyfriend wanted to “try things out” and live together before becoming more serious — a far cry from her high-school-sweetheart parents, who married right out of college.

Almost all of her peers, Washington said, are living the same way, either with friends or a long-term partner. They have few serious personal commitments, and are free of social stigmas pressuring them to get married and have children on a specific timeline.

“Living in Baltimore, it’s definitely more liberal than other parts of the country,” said Washington, who works in marketing. “It’s nice to have camaraderie and people who are going through some of the same situations as you are. It’s a great way to prolong your youth as well.”

New U.S. Census Bureau data indicate that her choice is becoming more common here. Baltimore and Washington are among a handful of U.S. localities where fewer than 10 percent of households are made up of married couples and their children. In the city, 8.6 percent of households are such nuclear families, compared to 23 percent statewide and nationwide.

Young adults like Washington and her friends may be fueling the changes. Since 2000, the census data indicate, Baltimore has seen a jump in the number of people living apart from family. Just over half of all city households consist of families of any kind, a decline of 5 percent since 2000. Meanwhile, an increasing proportion of households consist of people living alone.

“There’s a perception that what you do after you graduate isn’t [getting] married,” said Peter Darrell, 26, who works in commercial real estate and shares a home with his brother and two roommates in Patterson Park. “You go and make yourself into a person, you have an adventure, you do something, and then you go get married.”

A lot more Here:,0,2775625.story

The article Yorkshire linked was a giddily positive one, one talking about the young urban professionals, the hipsters and the like. Why, they weren’t really problems, but just young adults having some fun and finding out who they were before they settled down. The dark side of the story was further down:

The low proportion of nuclear families in Baltimore is also influenced by other factors, including the large number of families led by single women. And the trend is happening all across the state, from rural Allegany County to Southern Maryland. In almost every locality, the figures show a smaller share of households are made of nuclear families than a decade ago.

We noted previously a graph from The Wall Street Journal:

The graph tells us what we already knew: families that are organized around a married couple are far more financially successful. But telling normal people that they should get married and have children, because that has proved to be the strongest economic model in all of human history, why that’s not something that the left can say, because it shatters their entire cultural construct, shatters the notion that traditional marriage1 is just one of many legitimate and functional family arrangements.

And thus, the problems of the Charm City that came to everyone’s attention following the death of the criminal Freddie Gray had already been foreseen. What happened in Baltimore a few weeks ago will be repeated in Chicago or Philadelphia or Oakland, in whichever city the next black hoodlum is killed by the police or dies in police custody,2 in a city in which the traditional family arrangement has been largely abandoned for some other far less economically efficient “structure.”

For all of recorded human history, we have had marriage,3 and every society of which we have any knowledge at all has demonstrated that marriage is the organizing principle behind the societal structure. But for the left, why sexual freedom and doing your own thing, why they’re just fine, and certainly just as good as traditional marriage. It’s just too bad that the cold, hard statistics prove them wrong.

  1. Meaning: the legal marriage of one man and one woman; The First Street Journal does not accept the notion that two homosexuals can legitimately be married to each other.
  2. Why is it that when nine truly decent black Americans were murdered by a white punk in Charleston, there were no riots, were no violent protests? Does #BlackLivesMatter apply only to thugs?
  3. Some of those cultures allowed polygamy, with one man allowed to have more than one wife, but while the wives were each married to one husband, they were not somehow married to each other. Even in these societies, few men had more than one wife, because only the wealthier men could afford it.

Rule 5 Blogging: They left the lipstick at home!

It’s the weekend, and time, once again, for our version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacy McCain described as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat deshabille, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Bar Refaeli in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: They don’t have to wear makeup to do their jobs!

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN – JUNE 25: U.S. Army Captain Brandi Faudree from Charlie Co. Sixth Battalion, 101st Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Shadow monitors a patient while enroute to the hospital in a MEDEVAC helicopter June 25, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. As combat operations begin to escalate near Kandahar, the 101st Airborne MEDEVAC unit transports casualties of war as well as sick and injured local residents. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: They left the lipstick at home!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

I noted earlier that the Supreme Court’s decision stating that homosexual couples have a legal right to “marry” could put a serious burden on churches which actually hold to the word of God that homosexual activity is completely sinful, but I’d point out here that there is more: churches and other institutions which recognize marriage for the purposes of health insurance or other benefits, and even income tax withholding1 will now have to recognize homosexual “marriages” as real marriages for those purposes.


  1. Line C on the Form W-4 Withholding is the place where an employee indicates whether he wishes to list his “spouse” as an income tax exemption.

We called it, seven years ago

From the old site, over seven years ago:

Same-sex marriage: a fait accompli
Posted by  on 2 June 2008, 6:57 am

As I noted in a comment on Pandagon,1 I think that same-sex marriage is pretty much of a done deal.

Politically, I think that same-sex marriage is inevitable. Even if the California initiative passes, it could not invalidate any same-sex marriages performed and recognized by the Golden State prior to passage; such would be an ex post facto law, and inherently unconstitutional. If the proposed state constitutional amendment tried to hold such marriages as invalid, the whole thing will be thrown out as unconstitutional; if it has an exemption for those unions legalized between June 17 and passage, that would leave California in the odd position of recognizing existing same-sex marriages, but allowing no more. That hardly seems workable to me.

New York will be the next state. Governor David Paterson’s directive to state agencies that they recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere will, if not struck down by the legislature, leave the Empire State in the odd position of recognizing same-sex marriages for people living in New York, as long as they were performed elsewhere, while not allowing such within the state. That’s another wholly unworkable situation.

I don’t at all like the idea that such is being imposed on a clearly reluctant society by judicial fiat, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a fait accompli when I see one.

I have one, and really only one, concern. I want churches protected from criminal and civil liability if they refuse to perform a same-sex marriage. Many of our friends on the left pooh-pooh the idea that churches could be compelled to perform such, under the First Amendment, but seem strangely reticent to be willing to enact more explicit protections for churches in the event that same-sex marriages become legal.

To me, it’s simple: it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what could happen if an interracial couple went to a church, and asked to be married, and the minister refused because his church does not believe in interracial marriages. That minister and his church would face being sued, because they had discriminated on race, and churches fit the definition of a public accommodation. Since we license ministers to perform marriages, they have a dual religious-state legal function.

Well sooner or later, a same-sex couple is going to present themselves to a Catholic priest, and ask for a nuptial Mass. The priest will have no choice but to refuse, and he, and his parish, and his diocese will all get sued. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which undid a discharge under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy held that classifications based on sexual orientation would be examined under a higher level of scrutiny, Patterico explains it here. This could mean that discrimination based on sexual orientation might be held to the same standard as discrimination based on race.

In the event of legally recognized same-sex marriage, we need solid protection for churches.

And now, the Supreme Court has said that all states must allow homosexual couples to get legally married, and must recognize marriages of homosexual couples legally performed in other states. Abraham Lincoln (purportedly) said, “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” And so it is with marriage: calling the union between two men or two women a marriage might make it so under the law, but it doesn’t make it so in the eyes of God, nor does it make it so under any culture in human history, nor does it make it so under plain common sense.

The law will never backtrack on this; this is now an established legal “right” under our system, but that does not mean that an individuals have to actually recognize such sham “marriages” as real. It is unfortunate that businesses will have to recognize such unions.

The most important thing which must now be done is for our legislators, federal and state, to pass laws which provide immunity to churches and priests and ministers who, acting within the tenets of their religion, decline to perform homosexual “marriages” or rent facilities to celebrate them. The left would tell us that, oh, the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, and churches could never be penalized for refusing to perform homosexual “marriages,” so we don’t need such laws, but plain common sense tells us that we do. If the left really believe that such things are already protected, then they can have no real objection to adding statutory protection, but count on it: they’ll object anyway.

  1. I left the reference from my original article, but the Pandagon site has disappeared.

How are the American left different from the Taliban?

Remember how horrible, how awful it was when the Taliban, then in control of Afghanistan, destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan?

After 1,700 years, Buddhas fall to Taliban dynamite
By Ahmed Rashid in Islamabad | 12:00AM GMT 12 Mar 2001

Before and after the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The world’s two largest standing Buddhas – one of them 165ft high – were blown up by the Taliban in Afghanistan at the weekend.

After failing to destroy the 1,700-year-old sandstone statues of Buddha with anti-aircraft and tank fire, the Taliban brought a lorryload of dynamite from Kabul. A Western observer said: “They drilled holes into the torsos of the two statues and then placed dynamite charges inside the holes to blow them up.”

The operation to wreck the statues carved into a cliff in the Bamiyan Valley in the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan was supervised by Mullah Obaidullah, the Taliban defence minister. There has been an international outcry since Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader, issued a special edict on Feb 26 ordering the destruction of all non-Islamic statues.

Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, had pleaded with the Taliban’s foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, in Islamabad yesterday to save Afghanistan’s cultural heritage. He was told that all other “moveable statues” – including more than a dozen smaller Buddha statues in the Kabul Museum – had also been destroyed.

It was barbaric, it was closed-minded, it was something that appalled the modern Western mind. Surely, surely! liberal, sophisticated Westerners would never do anything like that!

National Cathedral to remove Confederate stained glass
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service 7:52 p.m. EDT June 25, 2015

(Photo: Washington National Cathedral)

WASHINGTON — The dean of Washington National Cathedral has called for two stained-glass windows featuring Confederate flags to be taken down from the Gothic edifice, in yet another instance of institutions reconsidering countless tributes to the Southern cause.

“It is time to take those windows out,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall in a Thursday announcement.

The prominent building on the skyline of the nation’s capital includes windows honoring Confederate generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee, and each contains an image of the controversial flag.

“The Cathedral installed these windows, in part, because its leadership at the time hoped they would foster reconciliation between parts of the nation that had been divided by the Civil War,” said Hall, who has called for the governing bodies of the cathedral to remove the windows that have been there since 1953.

The Washington National Cathedral announced plans June 25, 2015, to remove two stained-glass windows honoring Confederate generals. This window features scenes from the life of Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of Confederate forces in the Civil War. (Photo: Washington National Cathedral)

There’s more at the link.

Now, can someone please tell me how the American left, who want to destroy all representations of the Confederate battle flag, differ from Mullah Omar and the Taliban, who were just so overwhelmingly offended by the Bamiyan Buddhas? I can see no difference, no difference at all, except, of course, that the multicultural left are just so, so intelligent and sophisticated.