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So the rest of the Supreme Court decisions came out today. While a number of decisions that come out of the court won't really affect the average person there are some key ones that came out today that are worth people knowing about.

1. The government does not have a constitutional obligation to protect people from violence who are under protection from a restraining order. This comes from a case where a woman had a restraining order against her ex-husband, the ex constantly violated it by seeing the children, the wife consistently called the police about it (who apparently nothing), and the ex eventually killed the children.

2. The two 10 Commandments cases split in a way that suprised myself and others. The court said it was unconstitutional for the 10 Commandments to be displayed inside a courthouse, even if it was included with a display of historical legal documents (like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, Magna Carta, etc). But the court said it was constitutional for there to be a marble reproduction of the 10 Commandments outside on the back lawn of a state capitol. The kind of reproduction that proudly claims "I am the LORD thy GOD." I'd rather declare both unconstitutional or at least compromise on only calling the marble shrine unconstitutional, but who am I to say so aside an American citizen.

3. MGM v. Grokster was handed down with an unanimous decision stating that developers of peer-to-peer software could be held liable for the illegal uses of their software. This is similar (but not exactly the same) to saying that manufacturers of VCRs, VHS tapes, and even cassette tape manufacturers could be held liable for the copyright infringements done by people using those items to record and distribute context from television and radio. Or that car manufacturers are civilly liable (ie-being sued) for injuries when someone uses a car to run over someone else.

Just thought I'd share some of my real life with y'all.

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1) That is a little surprising, but I see a wave of State legislation coming out to address this. In my state, things are moving steadily on legislation because a woman was publically strangled to death by her estranged husband, who she had a restraining order out against.

One option being reviewed is to allow said complaintants to get fast-tracked firearms permits ... which makes me shudder.

2) Not as surprising, since the there is a basis of State Governments being based on Christian principles even to this day. The first ruling is surprising since our modern legal code is based upon longstanding Christian legal doctrine, so if placed in context as a past legal code, I would have thought it would have been allowed.

I am just not as terrified by the Bible and Marble statues as other folks, I guess.

There is a difference between Freedom of Religion and freedom from religion.

3)Wasn't this kind of the same thing that happened to Napster?

It is not the same thing as building a car or VCR, since it is not illegal to duplicate something, but it is illegal to do so for sale or profit. It would be illegal, it appears, to create something that's primary purpose is to break the law.

On the other side of the equation, was it ever shown that this software actually hurt the movie industry?

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1. The decision applies solely to the question of constitutionality, but I find it very surprising that there wasn't a procedural or substantive due process right to protection under a court order. If the right to protection from a court's order for protection doesn't exist in our most basic document then what does that say about the power of the individual and the court?

2. I wholeheartedly disagree. Our rebellion against England was predicated on the idea that the power of the government and the law stems not from divine power but from the people and nothing else. To say that the source of law is something other than the people just defeats what Paine and others wrote.

3. Sort of. The reason I used those loose analogies is that peer to peer software and protocols have countless legal uses and have been used that way since the advent of networking. Grokster and the like are just an international application of that thirty year-old idea. This is a lot like when Michigan outlawed NAT because cable companies were angry about people using more than one computer on a cable modem.

But yes, harm to the music and movie industries by peer to peer software has yet to be firmly established. In fact, the worst harm to the movie industry has been mostly attributed to DVD sales.

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1) A problem with such things is that Court Orders happen without benefit of a trial (which saves lives, but doesn't it also violate the rights of the restrained?)

Restraining Orders restrict Individual Rights. Its a tougher cookie than one might think.

2)What does our money say?

Plus, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Followed by,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Then there is this, which is at the heart of the matter,

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Its a tough matter, because we, as a society, are allowed to freely express our religious ideals, yet can not allow the states to force one singular religous ideal. The interpretation of that dance is where we are now.

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1. Perhaps, but non-enforcement of a judicial order reduces the preceived and actual authority of the government. I wish my judge wasn't on vacation, I'd love to hear what he has to say about it.

2. "In God We Trust" has become such a secular representation it no longer carries that kind of power. Additionally, "Nature's God" and "Creator" do not refer to the Judeo-Christian/Islamic God. The closest deity it's referring to is the Deist creator figure and, as a Deist myself, a small part of me rages at the consistent misinterpretation of those two passages in the Declaration of Independence.

Additionally, the Declaration of Independence partially serves as a logical and ethical justification of why the colonies could revolt. Under the common understanding at the time, the King and government's authority stemmed from God, hence any revolt against the King or the government was a revolt against God. To solve that perception, the Founding Fathers presented the idea that man, not God, provided the authority behind a government, hence their rebellion was not only ethical but their duty.

And, in relation to the 1st Amendment Article VI clearly establishes that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and says nothing for spiritual law, let alone the Declaration of Independence. When it comes to government and the law in America, the authority stems from the will of the people and the Constitution is the end-all and be-all.

Pardon my passion, but this is one of the major reasons why I study law. I absolutely love the fact that we have the freedom to hold and express whatever religion we wish and I feel that blending of Christianity and the government is the biggest threat against that freedom.

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Franklin, the biggest problem with that is that it is open to interpretation. Is it a Deist God, or the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God phrased in late 18th century terms? Even the Deists at the time weren't absolutely sure.

The interpretation I have mostly heard is that it uses terms to disassociate their God from the Catholic and Anglican representations of God, and were not anti-Christian in sentiment.

It would have been much clearer if they had made not mention of a higher power at all, but they didn't.

As for the Constitution being the end-all and be-all, I agree. Too bad it isn't 100% clear on every subject. Worse, this country has allowed Christian representations in our governmental liturgy since the foundation.

In essence, one side has been pushing back against tradition for the past fifty years and now a different section of the citizenry is pushing back.

Personally, I fear tyranny from the Left as much as tyranny from the Right. Either end getting self-righteous is a bad thing.

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Really? If that is the case, you are asking the wrong questions.

They should be:

What do I have to offer Canada?, and

Will they let me in to stay?

And the added concern of:

With Liberal flight, what does that do to the political landscape of the United States?

It isn't like the political/military/economic power of the US will dissipate overnight and the voice of opposition will have betrayed the nation by fleeing the electoral process.

Don't get mad, get organized. The next round is only 17 months away.

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It might be interesting to see just what they got mad about, ya know?

If everyone gets mad, nothing gets done.

FYI, in RL, I am a classic Internationalist Republican, not a religious conservative. I am proud to be a Christian, but God is kind enough to not follow me into the ballot box.

Someone asked me if I favored a Constitutional Convention, and it made me shiver to my core (in fear). I love this country and think it can weather most any storm. Our Founding Fathers, working in a desperate atmosphere of uncertainty and fear (remember, there was a very real fear that our fledgling nation would disintegrate and our Democratic Expermiment would fail), did a much better job then than I feel we could manage today when too many people think THEY(and only THEY) are a)RIGHT (about whatever we feel strongly about), and b)Invincible, which none of us are.

I would point out we survived the Red Scare in the 1950's because eventually the American Core gets tired of accommodating fanatics of either stripe.

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Originally posted by Franklin 'Singularity' Alden:
3. MGM v. Grokster was handed down with an unanimous decision stating that developers of peer-to-peer software could be held liable for the illegal uses of their software. This is similar (but not exactly the same) to saying that manufacturers of VCRs, VHS tapes, and even cassette tape manufacturers could be held liable for the copyright infringements done by people using those items to record and distribute context from television and radio. Or that car manufacturers are civilly liable (ie-being sued) for injuries when someone uses a car to run over someone else.
Well, more correctly, if a technology is primarily used for illegal activities, then the creator of that technology may now be held liable for the act of creating that software in and of itself. It basically means that programmers can no longer state "I built it for legal reasons, it's my users that are causing all the crime!". Which is something of a shame, really, as this will probably slow down technological progress as borderline technology is deliberately held back.
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