Friday, January 23, 2004

I wonder if Dre understands how much I appreciate talking to him.
Today's topic had broadly to do with state's rights vs federal powers. Or in his case, devolution of power to the countries within the Kingdom. It's a testy issue for both of us, not always managed well here, but not, from what I hear, going well at all there. He was talking about a Scottish MP to the UK parliament refraining from a vote on an issue (tuition fees - hot thing there right now. Read up on it in Oliver Kamm's blog sometime) because it only had to do with England and Wales and nothing to do with Scotland.
Is it me, or does this seem to be neglect of duties? I mean, it would be one thing if he were working for the Scottish parliament, but he isn't. Andy says that this, along with a bunch of other nonsense, goes on an awful lot since devolution.

We also got to talking a bit about the balance of power between legislative / executive / judicial branches, along with states' rights vs federal powers - that complicated set of dance steps that seems to be performed to a polyrhythm of sorts. Gay Marriage comes to mind. Here we have a case of judicial activism on a state level (MA's ruling that not recognizing gay marriage is unconstitutional) vs the Federal Government looking to send out a mandate to correct that (Defense of Marriage act). I am all for recognition of gay partnerships. I am not for a change of definition of marriage. I am not for a federal mandate to states on what constitutes marriage. I'd much rather see a referendum on the ballot next voting time, to be honest, if it comes to this. More so, I'd rather see civil unions and states choosing to or not to recognize them.

Last bit was about 'common law' - that is, either something that is so obvious that it is not on the books (like a commonlaw marriage) but recognized anyway, or Anglo Norman Law (what we follow as opposed to the Napoleonic Code.) I'd forgotten about that all. Was nice to go over it again. Was nice that he was up for it.

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