I am currently taking a class (my last for undergraduate work!!!) called ‘Constitutional Criminal Procedures’. One of this week’s assignments is called a ‘Journal Assignment’; we are posed several questions to be answered in short essay form. This one struck me as odd, simply because it is more personal than research driven -it feels odd to have this on something I am handing in, but it is what it is. Ask a personalized question, get a first-person, personalized response. And so I thought I’d share and I’ll just say – I hope Professor isn’t a homophobe! [Though even if he is, he cannot find too much fault here, I think.]

 

3.  If you were sitting on the Supreme Court, what sorts of cases would you look for to review?

            If I were sitting on the Supreme Court, I would definitely harbor an affinity for human rights cases. Currently, with same-sex marriage still being up to the states and only a small number of them allowing for marriage or even legally recognizing civil unions so many people’s basic rights are being violated. This country claims to have separation of church and state and the founding fathers intended this to be the case but it just does not exist.  The claim that homosexuality is an abomination’ comes from religious beliefs, or as I suspect in many cases: fear. People tend to fear what they do not understand and there is a vast number of misconceptions surrounding the LGBTQ community. It is unconstitutional for anyone to be discriminated against simply as a result of sexual preference; though this is not spelled out as other discriminatory possibilities are, it would have been had the writers of the Constitution thought of it. To purposely leave it out would have directly contradicted their claims for separation of church and state.

            Personally, as a straight ‘ally’ as I am known in the LGBTQ community, I wished to never marry until everyone could. However, I needed dental insurance – a benefit my partner’s employer offered and not mine so I had to succumb. This just one of the injustices gays face as a result of the lack of protection that is currently in place. In most states, it is perfectly legal for a person to be fired for being trans-gendered 

            Certainly there are other ways that human rights are violated often, in the workplace for many and as a result of human trafficking, to name a couple. These cases would capture my interest as well. I also have a strong distrust for the criminal justice system in regards to their ability (or lack thereof in many instances) to convict accurately, particularly when the death penalty is on the table for the defendant. Though it would be quite a hardship emotionally, I would like to look very closely at any death penalty appeals in order to keep watch for the possibility of wrongful convictions by the lower courts. In addition to watching for these cases, I would want to hear as many human rights cases as possible as I very much hope that the United States Supreme Court deems same-sex discrimination to be unconstitutional in my lifetime.

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