THE KILLING CHAIN
NEW YORK TIMES
…The national debate has focused on just one link in the killing chain, the acquisition of the gun. Now I understand why the gun has taken center stage. The gun is the shocking fact at the moment of the murder. Also, many Americans are material determinists. In any moral question or frightening conflict, there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with the human element and like to fixate on the material factor. But the sad fact is that gun acquisition is probably the link on the killing chain least amenable to influence. We live in a country that already has something like 250 million guns floating around. It’s hard retroactively to get a grip on them.
DECIDING NOT TO DECIDE GAY MARRIAGE
NEW YORK TIMES
…A decision ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional would be the Roberts court’s Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that struck down racial segregation in schools. The legal and moral choice should be clear. But the Brown analogy should give us pause. Same-sex marriage is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, but is the country ready for a decision requiring all 50 states to recognize such unions immediately? … … A limited Prop 8 ruling… would permit marriage equality to propagate organically, state by state. … [H]istory suggests it would be unwise for the Supreme Court to impose a uniform solution on the nation now. Doing so could touch off huge civil resistance in the most conservative states. Prudence and law dictate the same result: cold feet at the altar.
RAND PAUL’S LOOPY ASCENT
NEW YORK TIMES
[Rand Paul is] making headlines and waves, and not as a Tea Party curiosity but as a Republican Party lodestar, someone discussed seriously as a possible force in the 2016 presidential primaries. He was tapped just last week to be the featured speaker at the approaching Lincoln Day Dinner in Iowa. There’s an important caucus in that state, you’ll recall. Paul personifies the G.O.P.’s curse right now. Although it needs to re-establish its bearings in the mainstream, many of the Republicans making the biggest splashes are rowing in from strange tributaries, and the establishment can’t seem to stop the tide.
LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
American society is changing faster than anyone could have thought possible only a decade ago. Nine states and the District now allow same-sex marriage. … Opinion polling shows that a majority of Americans supports extending marriage rights to gay men and lesbians. Among young Americans, who grew up in an era in which friends and relatives could more easily come out of the closet and be themselves, there is hardly a debate. Now, it seems not only possible but also likely that same-sex marriage will be legal, widespread and, frankly, mundane and that this will happen relatively soon. The Supreme Court must play a part in this civil rights triumph — and justices should not shrink from it.