Justice Kennedy divided America

In the span of 30 years on the United States Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy changed the face of America and, in doing so, created Donald Trump and deepened our political divisions. While Justice Kennedy is receiving great accolades for many important court decisions that he authored, his legacy should be judged by his activism more than by any wisdom he provided. Even after authoring Lawrence and Obergefell, perhaps Justice Kennedy’s greatest effrontery was his 1992 opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upholding Roe v. Wade, wherein he wrote, “At…

Character matters more than ideas

On my desk in my home office I have several yellow “sticky” notes upon which I write reminders, sometimes for my “to-do” list but mostly with those momentary but deeper reflections, I feel I need to capture for later pondering. One of those deeper thoughts constantly before my eyes says, “Good policy requires good character.” Of course, for those who know me, this theme of personal character has been important to me. Character has been my basis for understanding freedom, supporting the issues I have supported over the years and…

Potheads make bad laws

Now that the Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative has inched closer to obtaining a spot on the November statewide ballot, it is a good time to get absolutely real about what policies, and their societal effects, are at stake. Supporters of the measure argue that good people are being forced to break the law just to relieve chronic pain. Opponents argue that this initiative is simply the first step in a broader campaign to legalize pot, as in Colorado. So who is right? Every statewide ballot initiative permits supporters and opponents…

Mitt Romney and the end of the Utah GOP

By the time you read this, Mitt Romney will have announced his candidacy for the United States Senate from Utah. He will win the seat being vacated by Orrin Hatch and he will win big. You might think that the Utah GOP under current party circumstances would welcome Romney’s decision. Instead, the state Republican chairman now holds Romney in contempt. On the eve of Romney’s announcement, Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson essentially called him a carpetbagger and compared him to Hillary Clinton. Anderson reeled off a host of complaints about…

Both Roy Moore and his Christian defenders should resign

The continuing saga of Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore no longer requires a set up to explain the controversy. We do not need anyone to tell us what he allegedly did to a number of young women and girls nearly forty years ago. Furthermore, a reasonable person does not need to know more than the Washington Post stories to know that, at the very least, Judge Moore should withdraw from his Senate race in Alabama. Even so, some issues still need explaining. For instance, what is wrong with the Christian…

Utah Democrats, sexual harassment, and accountability

The longer you are involved with politics the more obvious it is the inclination toward cliques, tribes, bullying, and fighting for or about identity we all learn in grade school stays with us into adulthood. Nothing exposes that sad reality like a controversy. This isn’t a fun post to write. Empathy for Rob Miller, or anyone, having their past combed over and every personal flaw debated publicly makes me hesitant. Anger at those without clue or scruple condemning the women who signed the letter to leadership accusing him of sexual…

Inside the bubble

Do you live in a bubble? Probably not, but it did get me thinking more seriously about the whole “bubble” concept. I remember a Saturday Night Live skit about progressives living in the Bubble now that Trump is president. It begins with a hippie looking guy saying, “What if there was a place where the unthinkable didn’t happen and life could continue for progressive Americans as before?” The skit goes on to describe this new Bubble as a “planned community of like-minded free thinkers…and no one else. If you’re an…

Military action as humanitarian relief

As has been said a million times since 9/11, the “war on terror” is unlike any war America has faced. And, yet, war is war and some things don’t change – not even with Donald Trump at the helm (as frightening as that thought is). That we act globally should be no surprise to anybody who has studied American foreign policy over the past century. George Washington’s concern about “foreign entanglements” and our once sacred Monroe Doctrine were abandoned long ago. America has acted globally since World War I a…

Changing my mind on capital punishment

The State of Arkansas is executing two convicted criminals tonight. One has been executed already. A second will be executed shortly, absent further judicial intervention. I know nothing of these men. I don’t have any opinion as to their guilt or innocence of the crimes for which they were convicted. Because they were convicted, I will assume they are guilty, though I know that assumption may not be warranted. The matter of capital punishment has been on my mind a great deal over the last week, principally because I started…