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Justice Unhappy With Protect Marriage Washington's Case

After just finishing reading threw the 61 page transcript of the Supreme Court proceedings and I would say if you have the time that it is definitely not as dry as one would imagine it to be, however you do get the since that the press coverage is very on the ball when they say that the justices are not thrilled at all by the legal argument of Mr. James Bopp Jr the lawyer representing Protect Marriage Washington in this case.   It becomes quite clear that 7 of the justices well since they are also the only ones talking  are really not inclined to Mr Bopp's arguments with  Justice Anthony Scalia jumping him right off the bat hardly one sentence into his opening statement. Mr Bopp comes off as spending much of his time on the defensive trying to fend of constant grilling and interrogation from the justices as they poke and produce holes and gapes into his case, in the case of justice Scalia done quite often with over exuberance. 

There are some great quotes that can be pulled out of the transcript of the arguments before the court that seem to illustrate just dimly the justices viewed the case that PMW had to make before it. From Justice Ginsburg  "The sponsoring organizations sometimes sell or trade these lists. They use them for fundraising purposes. So that would be the end of a person's privacy" This is one of the most interesting point brought up and I personally think it could be one of the hardest points to define the privacy of the lists as the list really are not private but are used and sold to others.

Justice Scalia "And in light of the fact that for the first century of our existence, even voting was public, you either did it raising your hand or by voice, or later, you had a ballot that was very visibly red or blue so that people knew which party you were voting for, the fact is that running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate, or to take part in the legislative process.

You are asking us to enter into a whole new field where we have never gone before." This came as Mr Bopp keep trying to argue that petition singing was like voting and that it had to remain secret and was that is why it was and should be protected as a first amendment free speech right, which got justice Scalia on the path to set him straight on the fact that voting had not always been secret and there was not constitutional right that it had to be.

"Oh, this is such a touchy-feely, oh, so sensitive about, about any" Justice Scalia "You know, you can't run a democracy this way, with everybody being afraid of having his political positions known."
This is after a vigorous back and forth over public disclosure of names, where the justice keep backing Mr bopp into saying that they thought such information was marginal because no one really looked at it or cared about it same with campaign finance (something he is involved in a lower court case about) but that it still needs to be blocked because people could feel threatened and its not fair that those not signing a petition aren't having their position made public.

Justice Scalia "Well, that's bad. The threats should be moved against vigorously, but just because there can be criminal activity doesn't mean that you -- you have to eliminate a procedure that is otherwise perfectly reasonable." After Mr Bopp basically said that the laws needed to be overturned because the PMW campaign head "had to" sleep with his family in his living room during part of the campaign Because of threats.

Then they got into questioning Washington sate attorney general Robbert Mckenna, He seem to have much better luck then the Mr Bopp, even though he did have some would seem like rough spots in the the transcript the justices seemed far more inclined towards his arguments, if not wanting for the more details on hypotheticals, then they where to Mr Bopp's.   They seemed to warm up even more to the idea then they had when questioning Mr Bopp on why he thought it was not important on why allowing the public to have access to and view the list of of signatures for petitions of referendums and initiatives.  Not only to help with political discourse but to also help insure that the to state is doing its job correctly as well as that it is doing its job in a trust worthy manor to begin with something that seemed to strike an exceptionally popular cored one again with justice Scalia.

Over all it seems to be off to in my non expert opinion a very promising direction as it appears that at least a good chunk of the conservative wing of the court sceptical at the case that Protect Marriage Washington is trying to lay out before then in an unprecedented effort to not only create an never before heard of conditionally right but at the same time swipe down disclosure laws and open up the door to the bringing down of many more similar such disclosure laws all in an effort to hind themselves in a closet form something that is not even coming their way!


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