Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What the ACLU of Indiana is Doing These Days

From Jay at Stop the ACLU: ACLU Defends Pedophiles’ “Right” To Easy Access For Children

Obviously they don't phrase it that way. A city ordinance (I assume Indianapolis, based on a quote, but the article doesn't make it at all clear) forbids convicted sex offenders from coming "within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, recreation centers, swimming pools, sports fields or facilities when children are around."

From the article: "Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana's legal director, said the city ordinance effectively restores the long-discarded, punitive practice of 'banishment,' because it is virtually impossible to travel the streets and highways of Marion County without passing within 1,000 feet of a public playground or other prohibited site."

Which is kind of a wierd thing to say, because the article says the legal challenge is based on vagueness. The vagueness doctrine, in a nutshell, is that a law or ordinance is unconstitutional if it doesn't put reasonable people on notice that their conduct is illegal. As an example, if Nevada passes a law that says "whoever does bad stuff is guilty of a class B misdemeanor," that law is unconstitutionally vague, because no reasonable person can read that and know what is tolerated and what is forbidden.

Is that the case with Indiana's ordinance? Probably not. Falk's argument makes a certain amount of sense -- if you can't even drive on major interstates without violating the ordinance, maybe that's a little extreme.

Here's another interesting little tidbit: "'You see all the stories almost every day about a child falling victim to a molester,' Democratic City-County Councilman Vernon Brown said. He said this was one of the few things the council could do to save at least one child 'from that horror.'"

That's part of the reason Dems can't win the heartland in national elections. Can you imagine, say, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer making a statement like that?

Also: From the same article, other recent ACLU of Indiana cases:

"The group represented inmates in a class-action lawsuit that said a state prison policy prohibiting visitation between child sex offenders and minors violated the U.S. Constitution. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to that policy."

Agreed. If the inmate is currently serving time in prison, there is every reason to believe his rehabilitation, if any, is not yet complete.

"In November, in response to a suit filed by the group, federal Judge David Hamilton barred prayers that mention Jesus Christ, or endorse any specific religion, from opening the daily session of the Indiana House. Speaker Brian Bosma has appealed that ruling to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals."

Agreed, so long as there is no rule or regulation prohibiting any other religious group from offering the prayer as they see fit.

"In April 2005, the group sued to overturn the state's voter identification law, arguing it would drive the poor, elderly and others away from the polls. The law was upheld in both state and federal court."

Agreed. That's a completely ridiculous justification for trying to strike down the law -- since when do old people have a harder time getting ID than young people? Other than the natural effects of aging, that it.

"With help from the civil rights organization, Thomas E. Jones Jr., a practicing Wiccan, successfully challenged a 2004 ruling in Marion Superior Court that Jones and his wife, who were divorcing, could not share their religion with their son."

Agreed. I don't believe in Wicca, but the government has no business in that matter.