Here are responses to reader comments over the past week on a variety of topics.
In response to my post yesterday about Sarah Palin's threat communicated through her attorney to sue bloggers like Shannyn Moore who reported that there were rumors that Palin resigned because of some wrongdoing that is being investigated, Buddy Toledo asked whether Shannyn herself is a public figure who would be limited by the rules of New York Times v. Sullivan if she (Shannyn) were to sue Governor Palin for defamation. Off the top of my (pointy little) head, Buddy, I would say 'Yes she is!' She writes a blog read by millions of people. Buddy also states:
I could sure use a recap about the "matter of public concern" (or something like that) standard too.
In Tuesday's post about how we elect the President I thought that I had made a compelling argument for amending the Constitution just by quoting language from Article II, Section 1, which provides that 'Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,' the Presidential Electors. In other words, the Constitution does not guarantee individuals the right to vote for President ' instead, under the Constitution the state legislatures have this right. Dave apparently thinks that this is just fine, and he goes one step further and advocates repeal of the 12th Amendment! Dave writes:
No way, I wouldn't change much! The Electoral College is one of the most brilliant ideas of our founding fathers. I wouldn't mind laws that freeze things where they are now. You were not a big fan of my earlier at-large congressmen idea.
The power of the state legislature is not absolute. They are accountable to the voters. And weren't there some unsuccessful attempts for states to term limit themselves that were overturned in courts?
I would like to go back to the idea of the Vice-President (and therefore the President of the Senate) being the Presidential candidate that finished second. I think there should be some healthy friction between the legislature and the executive branches.
Also, Dave, I oppose the Electoral College because of a little thing I like to call 'democracy.' We hold elections and respect the principle of majority rule precisely because each individual has an equal right to participate in the governance of society. Our ancestors fought a revolution in support of the idea that no person has any inherent right to rule any other person. To the extent that we accept undemocratic practices and institutions like the Electoral College, malapportionment, gerrymandering, the committee system, or the filibuster, we derogate the principle that 'all men are created equal.'
In response to my post about restrictions on the veil and the burqa, N.E. Frye writes:
But freedom of religion is no more absolute than any other right. There have been many religions that practiced human sacrifice; I presume it would not be protected, and there have been court cases involving a parent's right to refuse medical treatment for a child etc. Brutality as a part of exorcism has been prosecuted successfully I believe.
I have no particular problem with head coverings or even face coverings, but where there is some reasonable need for accurate identification, it seems the government can reasonably demand a clear proof of identity. You don't have to show your face, but we don't have to let you on the plane or into the federal building or whatever.
Both the Reverend and Miss Terby responded to my post about Obama's signing statement reserving the right to conduct diplomacy with the World Bank without being controlled by Congress. The Reverend states:
Signing statements become a "third way" to avoid complying with specific details of legislation, even though the Constitution is silent on signing statements.
The very reason presidents issue signing statements is political in nature. If a president vetoes a bill because it includes specifics he has no intention of following, opposition politicos will use the veto as proof that the president is "against the troops", or some such tripe.
If America fails .it will be because our federal leaders can no longer do the right thing. Pragmatism wins and the nation's rule of law suffers.
Not to mention that Candidate Obama denounced signing statements and vowed not to use them. This seems to be just one more example of Obama finding out that things are a bit different when you are actually the president than they are on the campaign trail. It's much easier when you don't have actual decisions to make.
Tomorrow, some predictions about Sotomayor, speculations about Rove, and an analysis of the proposed amendments to the Military Commissions Act.