1 Social Q’s ethics. I’m whomping the advice columnist in the Ethics Alarms poll regarding whether complimenting someone on weight loss can be reasonably taken as offensive by the object of praise. Looking at the same column, I have decided that Mr. Gallanes was just having a bad day. Another inquirer complained that he sleeps with her bedroom window open, and is often awakened in the morning when the next door neighbor takes his dog out for a 5 am walk, a ritual, she says, that is always preceded by his “disgusting” coughing. The advice columnist suggested that she ask him to do his disgusting coughing inside. Yeah, THAT will go over well. If you insist on leaving your window open, you have no standing to protest sounds that would not be heard if you kept it closed. Given the choice between waking one’s spouse with the morning hacking that most men of a certain age can identify with, and getting all the morning phlegm up while walking the dog, the latter is the wiser and more ethical choice.
2. Supreme Court ethics and pro-abortion fear-mongering.
a.) Somehow it was reported as news akin to squaring the circle that Justice Kavanaugh joined with the four typically liberal justices in a 5-4 ruling yesterday that left Thomas, Gorsuch, Roberts and Alito licking their wounds. This is non-news. It was a dishonest partisan smear on Kavanaugh to suggest that he would be a mindless puppet in lock-step with conservatives on every issue. Justices consider cases in good faith, and the fact that their judicial philosophies make some decisions predictable doesn’t mean, as non-lawyer, non-judge, political hacks seem to think, that they will not judge a case on its merits rather than which “side” favors a particular result.
b) Kavanaugh did join the conservative justices in a ruling that overturned a 1979 case in which the Court had allowed a citizen of one state to sue another state. This decision, being a reversal of an older case, immediately prompted the publication of fear-mongering op-ed pieces warning that the evil Court conservatives, having re-read and enjoyed “The Handmaiden’s Tale,” were slyly laying the ground for a Roe v. Wade reversal with a case that had nothing whatsoever to do with abortion. Don’t you see? Stare decisus is the SCOTUS tradition that older cases will generally not be overturned by later Courts, lest Constitutional law be seen as unstable and too fluid to rely on. Garbage. Stare decisus has never been an absolute bar to reversing a wrongly decided case, so no new affirmation of that fact is necessary. In addition, the case overturned yesterday was a relatively obscure case that seldom comes into play, exactly the kind of case in which a reversal is minimally disruptive. Roe, on the other hand, has become a foundation of supporting law and social policy. That doesn’t mean it can’t be overturned, but it does mean that the protection of stare decisus is strong.
3. And speaking of abortion…once again, a GOP administration—this one— has revived the unethical “conscience clause” rules, allowing medical workers to refuse to deliver services (like abortion) that they have a moral or religious objection to. I’ve written about this many times. If your job involves providing medical services that a patient has a legal right to receive, then your duty is to perform them. If you can’t perform them, work in another field. Individual vetoes of a patient’s right undermine the rule of law as well as society values and community health.
4. Res Ipsa Loquitur and anti-Semitism: The uproar over Rep. Tlaib’s comments about the Holocaust is entirely deserved, and those trying to spin her words as anything but dishonest (ignorant?) and anti-Semitic deserve to be shamed right along with her. In case you missed it, here is what she said,
I think two weeks ago or so we celebrated, or just took a moment I think in our country to remember the Holocaust. There’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports… all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them. And so, when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that why can’t we do it in a better way? And I don’t want people to do it in the name of Judaism, just like I don’t want people to use Islam in that way. It has to be done in a way of values around equality and around the fact that you shouldn’t oppress others so that you can feel free and safe. Why can’t we all be free and safe together?
Mentioning a “celebration” of the Holocaust and Tlaib’s “comfort” with it are both signature significance, and Tlaib’s outright false historical claims are exactly why the public, especially its younger members (and progressives), are so tragically ignorant about how the Israel-Palestinian conflict arrived at its present hopeless state. Republicans de-committeed Rep. Steve King for white supremacy-messaging remarks no more offensive than Tlaib’s anti-Semitism. This is another integrity test for Democrats, who haven’t passed one in a very long time.