When a court applies scrutiny, it’s holding the government’s justification for a challenged law to a standard. How tough the standard is depends on the nature of the law and how the plaintiff says it’s defective. In some situations, courts apply strict scrutiny — for instance, laws that punish speech based on its content generally trigger strict scrutiny. If a court applies strict scrutiny, the government must show that the law in question serves a compelling government interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Practically speaking, applying strict scrutiny almost always means that the court will strike down the law.
Don’t knee-jerk-react to the topic of the case (it’s about abortion). Instead, read this short piece as an explanation of one facet of the interation between our federal courts and our state legislatures. One of the beautiful aspects of our Republic is the way our founders envisioned a system to combine the states under a federal umbrella. I note particularly the concept of the federal courts NOT being able to just randomly intervene in the states’ affairs.
I’m a criminal defense lawyer. I’ve represented people by appointment and voluntarily, and I’ve represented people accused of all sorts of things. I’ve made vigorous use of my client’s constitutional and procedural rights to attack the government’s case, even in cases were most observers believed it was clear that my clients “did it.” That’s my job. You’re free not to like it, and free to attack me for it. But I’m going to call you totalitarian and un-American if you do.
QUICK! ..what is the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? I’ll accept knowing the general gist as being good enough for full credit. I couldn’t have told you if you put a gun to my head.
So I looked it up, and am going to proudly attempt to keep this loaded in my head, and — heads up — I’m likely to swing this idea around in the future as a ward against un-American Americans who spout nonsense about not “liking” defense attorneys, what they do, or how they did it in a specific case.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
If you know a little history, you might see some of this, and think that today’s culture battles are part of a tradition that goes back to FDR …
If you know a bit more history, you might see that this culture war stems from North Eastern progressive tradition dating back to the US Civil War.
The truth is that our culture war does date to the Civil War. Just not the US Civil War in 1861. It’s the English Civil War in 1640s I’m talking about.
~ by Clark, from Strange Seeds on Distant Shores
My point is simply this: unless you are an extreme outlier, you do believe in all three types of human rights; Whether you prefer the term “Natural Law”, “God given rights”, or something else, you think that there are ethical norms that are not merely pragmatic but objective and true. Therefore government is not merely “something we all do together”, but potentially a destructive force that can commit evil. Finally, it is not only meaningful, but almost mandatory – if one is to say anything of interest – to take great care to distinguish between “is” and “ought” when speaking of rights.
~ Clark, from Three Meanings of the Word “Rights” ; Atheists are Confused