Is it a “technicality”?

The news is out – the Supreme Court has ruled on the Pledge of Allegiance case. The NY Times has this posting up (Linda Greenhouse is probably hard at work on her article as I speak). I have not read the Court’s opinion yet, but the Court apparently essentially came down to this: “Eight justices agreed that Dr. Newdow, a nonpracticing lawyer who is also a physician, cannot qualify as a legal representative of his 10-year-old daughter, on whose behalf he filed suit.” Well, the Associated Press seems to indicate that this is a “technicality.” I thought that Slate.com’s Dahlia Lithwick had a most pertinent conclusion: that Newdow couldn’t win because of the standing problem – that he lacked legal custody of his daughter, which made the Court stuck with custodial issues rather than the substantive matter itself – and in so doing, may arguably be seen as a technicality.

Nonetheless, the Court understandably wouldn’t accept Newdow’s case as the appropriate case to answer the question of the constitutionality. You need standing after all, as my Con Law prof would say (and heavens knows, he spent half the term covering the concept of standing), and I think that this outcome was something that was easily expected. But, would laypeople understand that? First year law students can barely accept that, and I’d agree that this can be irritating of the Court. But, Newdow was a curious party all along (forget the standing problem, he’s something of an eccentric, being the lawyer-doctor). Anyway, the constitutionality question can be explored under better circumstances.

In today’s NY Times, Fascinating article on the history of slavery in America – how slaves lived during slavery, became free, and dealt with what freedom meant – and then they wrote about it in their own slave narratives, which have not been published until the 21st century. I liked how the article traced how a family passed their ancestor’s manuscript in each generation, and the article was nicely noted how the manuscript had the literary value – not just the historical power.

A curious NY Times’ article – NYC’s ex-mayor Ed Koch is in a commercial to get NY’ers to volunteer to facilitate the Republican convention. Quite an idea – the Democratic party town hosting the Republicans, and Koch is telling us to make nice with the GOP tourists. Uh, ok.

Strange weather – cloudiness with sun peaking out now and then. Partly sunny or partly cloudy – technically….

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