Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last Call For The Gulf Ecosystem

Reminder:  the millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico three years ago, not to mention all the chemicals used to break up that oil, didn't just "go away".

The Gulf of Mexico could see a record-size dead zone this year of oxygen-deprived waters resulting from pollution, US scientists have cautioned based on government data models.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecasts said the dead zone could be as large as New Jersey, or up to 8,561 square miles (22,172 square kilometers).

Dead zones are toxic to marine life and are caused by excessive nutrient pollution due to agriculture runoff. They are influenced by weather, precipitation, wind and temperature.

When there is little oxygen in the water, most marine life near the bottom is unable to survive.

“This year’s prediction for the Gulf reflects flood conditions in the Midwest that caused large amounts of nutrients to be transported from the Mississippi watershed to the Gulf,” NOAA said in a statement.

Oh yeah, and the fact the Gulf seabed is a nightmare of oil, chemicals, and other pollutants.  Enjoy!

More On DOMA's Demise

Section 3 of DOMA is toast, but Section 2, which does allow states to discriminate still on same-sex marriage, may be ripe for challenge.  James Joyner explains:

It occurs to me, however, that the impact of Windsor is effectively to render gay marriage the law in all 50 states.

Recall that the chief motivating fear of the Defense of Marriage Act was to prevent a judge in one state—Hawaii, where gay marriage remains illegal, was thought to be the likely culprit—declaring limiting marriage to one man and one woman violated the Equal Protection Clause, people flocking to that state to marry, and returning back home and,  because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, being deemed legally married at home.

Well, SCOTUS has now said that the Equal Protection Clause prevents Congress from discriminating against gays as a class, at least in the arena of marriage, which is fundamentally the province of states. Given that, then, doesn’t the Equal Protection Clause mean that residents of Alabama are now free to travel to California, tie the knot, and then able to demand recognition of their marriage back home?

If not, why not?

I personally think the court is now waiting for this exact challenge.   The logic striking down Section 3, that singling out same-sex couples for federal discrimination is itself unconstitutional, would have to apply to the individual states as well.

Or it would, if the courst would be given a reason to say so.  That appears to be the next step:  someone getting married in say California or New York and moving to Florida or some other anti same-sex marriage state, and then suing under DOMA.

I would have to think that would be the thing to do.  Somebody will, just a question of how quickly that case gets to SCOTUS.

When it does, bang.  Five votes to say denial of same-sex marriage violates the Fifth Amendment.

The Great Prop 8 No Hate Debate, Season Finale

DOMA Section 3 banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage, ruled unconstitutional on 5th Amendment grounds.  5-4 ruling.

California Prop 8 case dismissed for standing grounds, lower court ruling stands, Prop 8 is unconstitutional.  Also a 5-4 ruling.

Bottom line, CA can start limited same-sex marriage where officials believe the lower court ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional is valid.  Federally, where states have same-sex marriage, they are entitled to all federal marriage benefits and must be recognized by the US.

Carry on.


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