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Election 2014
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Election Law
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Gubernatorial 2013
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Senatorial 2013
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On May 2, 2012, Mark Joseph Young became

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(in addition to being the Time Travel Movies Examiner since June, 2009) the New Jersey Political Buzz Examiner.  Arising from discussions of the Birther issue, the author covered matters related to the American political and legal system at a level that is fully professional but at the level of the legal and political layman.  Early plans include some consideration of coalition government under the American political system, the immigration problem, and other controversial topics.

I have a Juris Doctore from Widener University School of Law, and as a voter am an independent from a family of independents, tending moderately conservative but with some stronger sympathies in both directions on particular issues.

As of August 8, 2015, changes in the editorial procedures at The Examiner made it nearly impossible to continue working there.  Gradually these articles will be relocated here.  It is hoped that readers will support the continued work in this area through the Patreon campaign.

Earlier articles on legal topics archived on this site are indexed at Thoughts on Law and Legal Papers, including analysis of the ten Internet regulations proposed by C-Net some years back.

This page will be updated frequently as articles are unpublished.


Most Recent

To make it easier to keep current, I provide a list of the most recently published articles at the top, from most recent back, so that readers can find what they have missed.  All articles will also be listed in their categories, below, and these links take you to those categories.

  1. Was John Brown a Hero or a Villain? (2)
  2. Was John Brown a Hero or a Villain? (1)
  3. One person, one vote, applied
  4. New Jersey Political Buzz index early 2015
  5. One person, one vote, means what
  6. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Create a U. N. Net
  7. The Intended future of health care
  8. C-Net's Proposed Law:  No New Taxes
  9. The Judicial approach to changing the law
  10. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Close Libel Loopholes

Back to top of page.
Classics and Indices

See also Miscellany.

With the loss of MJYoung.net in 2014 the convenient index and often still useful earlier articles vanished from the web.  This series is an attempt to restore that material.

  1. New Jersey Political Buzz index 2012:  provides explanation and links to all articles published in the first calendar year of this assignment, including articles under the categories Birther Issue Articles, Birth Certificate Issue Articles, Coalition Government Articles, Marriage Law Articles, Homeland Security Articles, Gun Control Articles, and New Jersey Issue Articles.
  2. New Jersey Political Buzz index early 2013:  continues the list of articles through the former half of the year, covering Gun Control Articles, Marriage Law Articles, Search and Seizure Issues, Church and State, New Jersey Issue Articles, Miscellany, Gubernatorial 2013, and Senatorial 2013.
  3. New Jersey Political Buzz index late 2013:  continues the list of articles through the latter half of the year, covering Senatorial 2013, Gubernatorial 2013, Church and State, Marriage Law Articles, Miscellany, and Coalition Government Articles.
  4. New Jersey Political Buzz index early 2014:  continues the list of articles through the beginning of last year, covering articles on Church and State, Freedom of Expression, Presidential campaign, Health Care, Legislation, Discrimination, Gun Control, the 2014 Election, Marriage Law, and Drug and Alcohol Laws.
  5. New Jersey Political Buzz index late 2014:  continues the list of articles through the end of last year, covering articles on Drug and Alcohol Laws, Discrimination, Health Care, the 2014 Election including Candidate Interviews, Marriage Law, Intellectual Property, Gun Control, Taxation, Church and State, Classics and Indices, and International Law.
  6. New Jersey Political Buzz index early 2015:  continues the list of articles through the first half of this year, covering articles on Coalition Government, Broadcasting, Marriage Law Articles, Judiciary, Internet Law, Congress, Discrimination, Election Law, Search and Seizure, Presidential, Health Care, and some previous indices.

  7. Why Should Cable Television Carriers Pay to Deliver Local Broadcast TV? (1):  Begins a discussion of a perceived injustice in the regulation of the television industry with a basic statement of the problem that regulations require cable and satelite television providers to pay for what their customers can receive free.
  8. Why Should Cable Television Carriers Pay to Deliver Local Broadcast TV? (2):  Continues the discussion of a perceived injustice in the regulation of the television industry with an examination of what is permitted and what is and is not permitted under the regulation.
  9. Why Should Cable Television Carriers Pay to Deliver Local Broadcast TV? (3):  Continues the discussion of a perceived injustice in the regulation of the television industry by presenting the poor legal basis behind the distinctions being made.
  10. Why Should Cable Television Carriers Pay to Deliver Local Broadcast TV? (4):  Continues the discussion of a perceived injustice in the regulation of the television industry looks at the supposed economic benefits and actual problems.
  11. Why Should Cable Television Carriers Pay to Deliver Local Broadcast TV? (5):  Concludes the discussion of a perceived injustice in the regulation of the television industry finishes addressing the economic problems.

  12. Thoughts on the Ten Internet Laws Proposed by C-Net:  introduces the series with a description of the methodology and a brief introduction to the proposals, in preparation for a detailed discussion of each in turn.
  13. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Put Porno In Its Place:  examines the proposal of restricting pornography to a dedicated top level domain (TLD), and finds the legal flaws in the notion.
  14. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Ban Spam:  considers the form of their proposal to control unsolicited commercial e-mail, and finds it flawed in several respects.
  15. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Protect the Freedom to Link:  looks at the suggested rule to keep the material on the Web open to the rest of the Web.
  16. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Mandate Privacy Policies:  talks about the regulation of the use of personal information by websites.
  17. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Stop Domain Speculators:  suggests that the proposal is both ineffective and disingenuous.
  18. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Unmask Mystery Webmasters:  faults the recommended law as being unfair to the free speech of those who will only speak anonymously.
  19. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Protect Personal Information:  considers the problem of whether websites should be able to make publicly available information more readily available.
  20. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Close Libel Loopholes:  finds that the authors fail to understand the legal process when the attempt to make it impossible to file a lawsuit.
  21. C-Net's Proposed Law:  No New Taxes:  looks at the most popular of the proposals, and why it does not work.
  22. C-Net's Proposed Law:  Create a U. N. Net:  concludes the series with the recognition that the final proposal is both necessary to the whole and impossible to do.

  23. Was John Brown a hero or a villain? (1):  provides the history of this important early abolitionist who died trying to obtain the recognition that the blacks were as human as anyone else.
  24. Was John Brown a hero or a villain? (2):  follows the logic of the history of John Brown's uprising into an application to the modern world.
This section will continue to expand, at first with the addition of older material, then with semi-annual updates.

Election Law

See also Discrimination, and the article Election Day:  Time to Vote.

In recent years several issues related to voting rights and regulations have arisen.  One side wants to remove all obstacles to voting so that anyone can vote anywhere (does the slogan Vote Early--Vote Often mean anything?); the other side wants to address voter fraud by requiring stricter regulation of the voting process (perhaps in the process incidentally excluding persons not capable of obtaining legitimate identification papers).  We have touched on the issue of who should vote before, but it looks as if it may become a recurring topic, so here's a new section.

  • Compulsory voting:  discusses the suggestion that people who fail to vote should be fined.
  • One person, one vote, means what?:  raises the issue of whether persons not eligible to vote should be counted for the purpose of establishing election districts, explaining the question involved in Evenwel v. Abbott.
  • One person, one vote, applied:  continues the subject with a consideration of who we should or should not count, why, and how we make that work.

There will undoubtedly be more on this in the future.

Health Care

See also Discrimination.

The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has made health insurance a big issue in The United States.  Some say that it is a mistake, that privatized medicine gives us the best medical care in the world, the best drugs, the best doctors, the best hospitals; others say that the mistake is in the other direction, that the United States lags behind in medical care because it is a rich man's benefit, and that we need to follow the lead of dozens of other advanced countries into socialized medicine, providing equal access to all--which again is not what this program provides.

That should probably be the beginning of one of the articles in this section, but that is not where the discussion begins for us.  Rather, we are starting with what might be considered peripheral matters, problems created by the fact that the massive legislative package attempts to do so much that not even its sponsors were certain of its contents.

  • The Hobby Lobby argument:  considers what is probably being presented to the Supreme Court in the issue of whether a publicly owned corporation that happens to be closely held by a group with strong religious views can be said to have a protected religious belief.
  • The New healthcare inequity:  explains why the rich will be able to get better health care under the A.C.A. that was not so readily available to them before.
  • Hobby Lobby:  The key points:  gives a summary of the central issues as decided by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby v.Burwell, deciding that for-profit close corporations can claim religious exemptions to paying for insurance providing abortofacient medical care.
  • Wheaton College and the Hobby Lobby decision:  explains further the reasoning in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, and why the injunction granted in Wheaton Collge v. Burwell was logical arising from it.
  • Hobby Lobby and contraceptive costs:  notes an aspect within the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decision which suggests that a company which declines to include some or any coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act would not from that see a lower insurance bill.
  • Principles, corporations, and Eden Foods:  looks at the witch hunt aspect of the attack on Eden Foods, the nonsense being spouted by the attackers, and raises the question of when the constitutional right to have anything turned into the right to have it given to you by someone else.
  • Health insurance costs, good news and bad:  explains why consumers in several states need to go back to the market this winter to avoid paying more for their health coverage.
  • The Aging population problem:  raises the issues concerning costs of social security and medicare, and calls for solutions.
  • The Intended future of health care:  considers the possibility that the problems with the Affordable Care Act are part of a program to push us toward something else.

This is another hot issue bound to raise more points in the months and even years ahead.

Judiciary

See also categories related to specific court decision topics, such as Marriage Law Articles, Gun Control Articles, Search and Seizure, and so forth.

There are of course many subjects focused on what courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, decide; this category is more pointed at understanding the judiciary itself, and on internal judicial matters.

  1. Fixing the Supreme Court:  Oversight?:  Introduces the issue of whether Supreme Court Justices ought to be responsible to someone else, and raises the question of to whom we might give that responsibility.
  2. Fixing the Supreme Court:  Personal bias?:  Addresses what to do about the fact that Justices sometimes hold opinions on subjects on which they are called to make decisions.
  3. Fixing the Supreme Court:  Conflicts of interest?:  Looks at the fact that the Justices do not live in a vacuum and might in theory be influenced by the personal interests of family and friends.
  4. Fixing the Supreme Court:  Public opinion?:  Examines the final complaint, that the Court is often out of step with the opinion of the majority of Americans, and whether this is a valid objection.
  5. The Judicial approach to changing the law:  considers liberal criticism of conservative use of the courts to change laws with which they disagree.
As yet it is uncertain what else might go in this category, but there are several possibilities, particularly if one of our Justices is replaced.

Presidential

See also Gubernatorial 2013.

The rumor has been floating for a while that our New Jersey Governor Christie is one of the best candidates the Republican Party could field in the upcoming 2016 Presidential race.  That of course does not mean that they will; but the race is going to be of interest in New Jersey whether Christie ever declares himself a candidate or not.  So here's to considering the race.

We'll be looking at this well into 2016, so this will gradually become a relatively large section.

Search and Seizure Issues

See also Homeland Security Articles, Gun Control Articles.

Receipt of information about a Supreme Court decision in this field has prompted the introduction of a new subject category, on issues related to Fourth Amendment protections.

  • Dogs, Technology, and Searches:  notes that the pending Supreme Court decision in Florida v. Jardines concerning the use of drug-sniffing dogs on private property may have significant impact on the use of technological surveillance techniques.
  • Search and seizure:  Canine invasion:  summarizes the decisions in Florida v. Harris and Florida v. Jardines, noting that the court treats drug-sniffing dogs as if they were modern technological devices, and laying the groundwork for further discussion.
  • Search and seizure:  Un-dog-matic:  delves deeper into Florida v. Harris to consider what would be required to discredit a dog as a valid basis for probable cause.
  • Search and seizure:  Sniffing machine:  looks more closely at the decision in Florida v. Jardines and its implications for the use of newer technology in gathering evidence.
  • Search and seizure:  New breed:  tackles the specific problem of identifying when particular devices or applications are "new" and what happens when they become ubiquitous.
  • Search and seizure:  Rashad Walker:  looks at a peculiar New Jersey case, in which the (New Jersey) Supreme Court's decision seems so obvious that it raises the question of how the appelate court could have reached a different conclusion.
  • Search and seizure:  Torrey Dale Grady:  presents the U. S. Supreme Court case establishing that a requirement that a recidivist sex offender wear a global positioning system tracking device is unquestionably a search under the Constitution.

As additional aspects appear, they will appear here.

Discrimination

See also Church and State, Marriage Law Articles, Freedom of Expression, Health Care.

There are of course articles in other categories that deal with discrimination; these are specifically aimed at that issue.

  • Ham and religious discrimination:  considers the fact that some because of their religious beliefs consider it immoral to eat ham, or to serve ham, and how that should fit into our present questions of discrimination.
  • Opposing Michelle Obama:  considers the objections raised by Topeka high school graduates and their families to having the First Lady speak at their graduation ceremony.
  • Liberal Democrats offend women again:  looks at the problem with judging politics by labels.
  • Racial oversensitivity:  looks at the First Lady's warped perspective on the subject of racism, illustrated by her reaction to a simple and obvious request which is exactly non-racial in nature.
  • Unequal representation:  considers the flaw in measuring equality by the racial identities of elected officials.
I'm sure this section will grow over time.

Marriage Law Articles

See also Church and State, Freedom of Expression, Discrimination.

The Examiner editorial staff requested that political columnists address the issues surrounding the homosexual marriage debate.  With some trepidation I began, and found that I had quite a bit to say, hopefully in the name of amicable dialogue.

  1. Homosexual marriage:  The dialogue problem:  introduces the issue and attempts to establish a peaceable foundation for discussion.
  2. Homosexual marriage:  Licenses:  discusses what a license is, why we have them for marriages, and what they regulate.
  3. Homosexual marriage:  Interest:  explains why any effort to regulate any relationship based on a sexual component is now unconstitutional.
  4. Homosexual marriage:  Basis:  seeks and fails to find a legitimate basis for marriage licenses in the regulation of sexual conduct.
  5. Homosexual marriage:  Responsibility:  explores another possible basis for a legitimate state interest in licensing marriages, finding a possibility.
  6. Homosexual marriage:  Legitimacy:  extends the basis explored in the previous article to another facet in which the state has a legitimate interest.
  7. Homosexual marriage:  The pedophile argument:  considers the strengths and weaknesses of the argument that approval of homosexuality will lead to acceptance of pedophilia.
  8. Homosexual marriage:  Response:  returns to the slippery slope discussion in response to comments from readers.
  9. Homosexual marriage:  NAMBLA:  considers afresh the link between the homosexual community and pedophilia, and finds there is not so sharp a line as defenders of homosexuality claim.
  10. Homosexual marriage:  Births:  discovers that there is a strong economic reason for government to subsidize heterosexual unions which does not apply to homosexual ones.
  11. Homosexual marriage:  Rights:  using gun rights as an example, we address the accusation that those who are opposed to homosexual marriage are opposed to civil rights of homosexuals.
  12. Homosexual marriage:  Disability:  explains the argument that non-religious evolutionary theory would claim homosexuals dysfunctional members of the species.
  13. Homosexual marriage:  Marriage:  approaches the semantic problem of exactly what is being sought in the phrase "homosexual marriage", and warns that it might be no more than turning traditional morality into hate speech.
  14. Homosexual marriage:  Lies:  discusses the writings of one proponent of homosexual marriage who a few months ago was saying that there was no logic in the slippery slope argument who now is admitting that he, and those on his side, have always known it to be true but lied to get their way.
  15. Homosexual marriage:  Goveror Christie's concession:  considers the impact of Governor Christie's decision to withdraw the appeal and allow court-ordered homosexual marriages to proceed in the state.
  16. Romantic love and the nuclear family:  looks at the results of a recent study of with whom women fall in love, and finds questions related to the notion that men and women are interchangeable as parents.
  17. On negative population growth:  considers the use of special legal considerations to promote desired public policies.
  18. Discriminating between I.V.C.P. and L.G.B.T.Q.:  looks at the inequities in the decision by the State of California to deny funding to an on-campus student group that rejects the current view of homosexuality.
  19. Eliminating legal marriage:  explores the suggestion that the government cease to define "marriage" at all, and what ought to be done instead.
  20. The Right Side of history:  looks at the charge that those who oppose homosexual marriage are "on the wrong side of history", and just how meaningless that accusation really is.
This will undoubtedly be a hot topic; please be certain to read the first article, and to make all responses civil and amicable for purposes of discussion.

Congress

See also Coalition Government Articles, Election 2014, Legislation, and Senatorial 2013.

The indictment of New Jersey's senior Senator Menendez opened a topic that did not fit elsewhere:  consideration of the Senate and its members generally, apart from the elections.

  • The Menendez indictment:  looks at some of the details of the criminal corruption charges brought against the controversial Democratic Senator, and the strengths and weaknesses of the case as it has so far been revealed.

There will most certainly be more on the subject in the future.

Coalition Goverment Articles

See also Presidential, Election 2014.

The Republican Presidential Primary was particularly divisive, with groups supporting candidates of very different political viewpoints and serious questions concerning whether any one of them would be able to unite the party.  This notion of uniting the party, though, points to the essential problem in the American political system, which is a problem precisely because most Americans are not aware of how the process works at the party level.  Thus an explanation of coalition government, and how that applies in this country, seems useful.

  1. Coalition government:  Why Republicans are divided:  manages to cover most of the essential points, including why coalitions in American are formed differently from those in England or Israel, in a single article.
  2. Coalition government:  The third party problem:  examines why third parties do not thrive in our present system.
  3. Coalition government:  Why we have an Electoral College:  returns to issues surrounding the Electoral College, and why we do not have direct election of our President.
  4. Coalition government:  Eliminating the College:  published on Election Day 2012, looks deeper at the existence of the Electoral College, what the Framers expected, and what its elimination might mean.
  5. Coalition government:  Making sense of the College:  looks for a plausible basis for retaining the Electoral College system in its present form.
  6. Coalition government:  Revamping the College:  considers a proposed shift to proportional representation in the Electoral College, and shows why it cannot be implemented.
  7. Coalition government:  Rebuilding the Republican Party:  looks at what the Republicans need to do to return to a competitive force on the national stage.
  8. Polarization:  considers the problems in America today, with the tensions between the extremists on both sides and the weakness of the middle ground.
  9. Mark Cuban and the Republican dilemma:  examines the advice of billionaire investor Mark Cuban concerning a future Republican party focused solely on its economic message to the exclusion of other issues.
  10. The Republican solution:  suggests how the Grand Old Party can rebuild its strength without jettisoning its current supporters.
  11. Re-election incongruity:  explores why over ninety percent of incumbent federal legislators were re-elected when the federal legislature had an eight percent approval rating.
If there are questions, we'll add more to this section.

International

See also Homeland Security Articles.

Although technically our focus is on New Jersey, sometimes the people of New Jersey are--or perhaps ought to be--concerned about events on the world stage.

Church and State

See also Marriage Law Articles, Freedom of Expression, Health Care , Discrimination.

Although my biases in this area might be impugned, it is sometimes necessary to address the arguments advanced by some in the name of freedom from religion.  Some are no doubt well-meaning, but still misunderstand the sense of the First Amendment.

  • Church and State:  FEMA:  responds to an editorial in The Record on whether Federal emergency money can be used to repair and rebuild religious buildings.
  • Church and State:  Invocations:  the very sticky issue of whether ministers ought to open government meetings with prayer, and whether they ought to be banned from mentioning in those prayers any point that is specific to their own religion (e.g., the name of Jesus), is considered.
  • Church and state:  Right-wing Christians:  responds to an article by a liberal atheist who claims that shutting down foodstamps is not a "Christian" policy decision.
  • Wearing religious symbols:  examines issues surrounding whether employers including governments can dictate articles worn as an expression of faith.
  • The Radio Shack Boycott:  considers both the religious and the political notions behind attempting to force a national retailer to mention "Christmas" in its holiday advertising.
  • Holiday Greetings:  negotiates the challenging waters of how to wish a joyous holiday on Christmas Eve to those celebrating that holiday without offending anyone in the process.
  • A Happy Birthday:  returns to the issues of holiday greetings by asking why anyone should be offended at being wished a good day for any reason, or no reason at all.
  • Evangelicals out-of-touch?:  responds to the charge that Evangelical Christian leaders are not voicing the opinions of the majority of Americans on key issues.
  • Public Religious Holidays:  Christians and Muslims both feel that the decision by a Maryland school board to take religious holidays off the school calendar is an attack on their faith--for very different reasons which do not actually apply.

It is a topic that arises occasionally, and certainly will be revisited.

Election 2014

See also Senatorial 2013, Gubernatorial 2013.

It may not seem like a major election year, but with a Senate race and every seat in the House of Representatives contested, New Jersey voters will need some background.  In puruit of that, I also attempted to contact each of the major party candidates, and those who responded are covered in articles covering those interviews, listed below.

Articles based on personal interviews with candidates, in the order in which their responses were received:

With the election behind us, this section is probably finished.

Taxation

See also Legislation, Health Care.

Taxes are always an election issue, but few voters understand the tax process, why it is as it is, and what impact would come of changing it.  Thus it seems reasonable to provide something of a primer on taxation, looking at what we do, why we do it, and how it might be changed, with what impact.

  1. Basic taxation:  Income tax:  gives a starting point for understanding the income tax concept and the primary point of deductions.
  2. Consumption tax and the myth of equity:  looks at the potential impact of a national sales tax.

I have plans to continue this, gradually, when other issues are not pressing.

Gun Control Articles

The suggestion was made that we ought to find a way to keep guns out of the hands of those who are possibly unstable, and so reduce the chance of someone going on a shooting spree.  The series explores the ramifications and possibilities involved.

  1. Gun control:  Crazies:  puts forward the idea as presented, that people who are marginally unstable and potentially dangerous ought to be prevented from owning guns, and raises some of the preliminary issues, such as how we identify such people and how we blacklist them.
  2. Gun control:  The Constitution:  explains the Constitutional right, the reason for its existence, and the problems that creates for all talk about gun control of any sort.
  3. Gun control:  Registration:  explores the problems involved in creating such a blacklist, from the sheer number of people who would be listed to the even greater number of people who would have to be examined to determine whether they belonged on the list, and how that becomes as much a list giving permission as a list withholding it.
  4. Gun control:  Inverse:  pursues the reality that creating a blacklist inherently involves creating a whitelist, and finds two serious problems with this.
  5. Gun control:  Profiling:  recognizes that the method is likely to be unconstitutionally discriminatory, as even if bias can be avoided the appearance of bias probably cannot.
  6. Gun control:  A system:  suggests what might be done to begin to approach such a system within the law, and notes that there are already some steps in this direction under Federal gun sales laws.
  7. Gun control:  Enforcement:  examines the problems involved in applying a law that forbids some from owning guns, in terms of the infringement of their other rights and those of the public at large.
  8. Gun control:  Massacres:  examines the notion that mass shootings have become a great problem recently, and finds it wanting on several fronts.
  9. Gun control:  Screening:  returns to the issue of attempting to identify everyone who might be marginally unstable, and finds difficulties.
  10. Gun control:  Assault:  examines the incongruity and inadequacy of banning "assault" weapons in preventing these types of massacres.
  11. Gun control:  Automatic:  provides definitions of several of the terms being bandied about in the present discussion.
  12. Gun control:  Schools:  replies to the suggestion that schools should have armed police officers but not armed guards who are not police officers.
  13. Gun control:  Mental health:  considers the impact on the mental health care of the nation when it becomes commonly believed that seeking psychiatric care will get you stripped of your constitutional rights.
  14. Gun control:  A Contrast:  puts the conflict over the Bundy cattle ranch against the war in Syria to illuminate the point of the Second Amendment.
  15. Ridiculous Application of Gun Control Law:  reports a couple of cases in which seemingly sensible if reactionary rules have led to absurd results in application.

Gun control has been a hot topic as long as I have been aware of the political process, and is not likely to go away, so there will surely be more of these to come.

Intellectual Property

See also Freedom of Expression, Privacy Issues, Discrimination.

  • Copyright:  Why it exists:  its origin and original purpose.
  • Copyright:  Recorded music:  about song piracy, legal rights, and the likely impact on the future of music.
  • The Redskins Trademark:  considers whether a billion dollar team ought to be forced to sacrifice millions of dollars in merchandising licenses because a select group is offended by what it views as a racial epithet.

I'm sure this section will grow over time.

Drug and Alcohol Laws

See also Miscellany, Search and Seizure Issues.

The legalization of marijuana in two states has changed the climate in American politics on this issue.  We attempt to address a few points.

  • Marijuana legalization and the popular vote:  notes that in the wake of legalization of recreational marijuana support for that policy has fallen, and most precipitiously in one of the states that embraced it.  The benefits of a conservative attitude are considered against the advantages of experiments in law.
  • Drug testing and legalization:  raises the question of whether employees can be terminated for drug use in states in which such use is legal.
  • Employee drug testing answers:  looks at current law concerning the previous question of whether employee drug testing is still lawful.
  • Licensed to drink:  suggests better ways to control alcohol and other recreational drugs.

If the drug lobby is correct, we'll see more on this subject in the days to come.

Legislation

Laws are made by politicians elected to office, through a political process that involves negotiation and compromise--usually.  Here we include articles about laws being considered.

  • Republicans and unemployment:  as the Senate passes a bill that would relieve the financial stress on many of our unemployed, the questions surrounding whether the House will approve it may impact the November elections.
  • Taxing the sun:  considers a proposed law in Oklahoma that would impose taxes on those who generate electricity from home solar and wind systems and sell some of the power back to the grid.
  • Taxing the drillers:  looks at a law in Pennsylvania that would tax the petroleum produced by fracking in that state.

A political satirist once said that elections were always a problem for him, because it was usually the case that one candidate would be good for his country and the other good for his business.  That's not always the case, but we know that the circus we call the legislature can be very entertaining, and will undoubtedly produce more articles in the future.

Freedom of Expression

See also Church and State, Discrimination.

While the Church and State articles are certainly part of this, these articles are more about freedom of speech and of the press.

Privacy Issues

The Supreme Court in the latter half of the twentieth century decided that several of the rights protected in the amendments to the United States Constitution implied a "right to privacy".  While some of the consequences of this are their own issues, sometimes a matter appears which is simply about the right of a person to be left alone.

  • Publishing Police Reports:  considers a problem that arose in Hopatcong, New Jersey, when police published the identity of an accused rapist through social media and the public then provided the name of the underage victim.

Senatorial 2013

With the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg (mentioned in The 2013 New Jersey Gubernatorial primary results), a special election is being held to fill the seat.  We will attempt to provide information about all the candidates before the primary.

With the election upon us, there is not much more to tell.

Gubernatorial 2013

There's a gubernatorial election in 2013, and as the primary has now passed the campaign should begin to heat up.

With the election looming, there is bound to be more on this subject.

New Jersey Issues Articles

See also Gubernatorial, Senatorial, Presidential, Miscellany.

With the election looming it seemed worthwhile to do a couple extra articles covering issues in New Jersey, which perhaps might be of interest to other states but which were of particular interest here.  That opened a new subject area which might perhaps have been opened sooner, as the New Jersey Political Buzz Examiner ought to cover New Jersey issues.  So here are some of those:

  • New Jersey 2012 Bond Ballot Issue:  approaches the question concerning approving the issue of bonds for financing educational infrastructure, and explores the implications and impacts of bond issues generally
  • New Jersey 2012 Ballot Issue #2:  considers the legislature's proposed constitutional amendment empowering them to authorize payroll withholdings from judicial salaries to cover benefits packages, and some of the politicking involved in the legislative/judicial relationship.
  • New Jersey 2012 ballot issues results:  covers the outcome of the election in relation to the two Public Questions, with some further information about these.
  • South Hackensack Municipal Court Judge is a comedian:  discusses the case of his honor Vince A. Sicari, a.k.a. Vince August, stand up comic, and whether there is a conflict involved in a sitting judge also being a standup comedian.
  • The judge cannot be a comedian:  covers the ruling in the Vince A. Sicari case.

Hopefully there will be more articles on local issues in the future, and hopefully they will also be of general interest.

Homeland Security Articles

See also Search and Seizure Issues, Privacy Issues.

There is a definite sense in which the American response to the modern terrorist threat over the past decade has itself eroded some of our freedoms.  Many are calling for a restoration of those freedoms, while others are more afraid of a next terrorist attack.  This section explores the issues in this debate.

  1. Homeland Security:  Nothing new:  The reaction of sacrificing freedoms to protect them is examined generally.
Again, questions from readers will help immensely in forming future articles for this subject.

Birth Certificate Issue Articles

See also Birther Issue Articles, Miscellany.

In response to the claims that he was not born in the United States, the White House released an electronic copy of what it claimed was Barrack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate.  In response, "Birther" groups found experts who claim that it is a forgery.  Then the President's attorney made a statement in court in New Jersey which some took to be an admission that the document was fake, and on that basis started claiming that he had committed fraud by forgery and ought to be impeached.  This series explores the issues in that claim.

  1. The birth certificate:  Admitted fake?:  examines what the President's lawyer said in court in New Jersey and what that actually means.
  2. The birth certificate:  Ballot requirements?:  explores why the Presidential Electoral College system means that a Presidential candidate does not have to prove his eligibility to serve in the office.
  3. The birth certificate:  Elector responsibility:  places the responsibility for assuring that the elected President meets the requirements where the Founding Fathers apparently intended.
  4. The birth certificate:  Impeachment for fraud?:  examines whether a crime was committed, and by whom, when the White House published a copy of a claimed Presidential birth certificate which is claimed to be a forgery.
  5. The birth certificate:  The Tennessee admission:  studies and faults the claim that the President's lawyers admitted his ineligibility for office in a case in Tennessee.
None of this examines the evidence; it examines the relevance, whether the question of authenticity of the published birth certificate matters in any legal sense.



Birther Issue Articles

See also Birth Certificate Issue Articles, Miscellany.

There is a claim abroad to the effect that President Barrack Obama is not eligible to be President of the United States because he is not a "natural born Citizen" of the United States as required by the Constitution.  The grounds for this claim are examined in this series of articles.

  1. The Birther issue:  the Constitutional question:  introduces the issue and looks at the text of the Constitution relevant to the matter.
  2. The Birther issue:  Supreme Court decisions:  looks at several of the cases related to citizenship.
  3. The Birther issue:  The critical case:  examines the case that has the most to say about citizenship, and which impacts many aspects of citizenship and immigration law today.
  4. The Birther issue:  Statutory definitions:  gets the final word from the present controling statute.
The issue concerning whether the birth certificate released by the White House is relevant to this question is itself a separate question, to be covered in a separate series of Birth Certificate Issue Articles, below.

Miscellany

From time to time something will be written which does not fit conveniently into a category.  Those articles will land here, at least until a category is created which covers them.

  • Obamanable:  addresses the general problems with conservative charges against the President.
  • And Justice for Trayvon:  expresses concerns about America's attitude toward its own justice system.
  • Underdogs:  considers the problems of the overmatched candidates in the present elections, Republican Lonegan in the Senate race and Democrat Buono in the Gubernatorial.
  • New Jersey Drug Court:  a look at plans to expand the mandatory monitored rehabilitation system in the state.
  • The New Year:  2014:  a review of where the series has been, with holiday greetings and an invitation to readers to contribute to where it goes from here.

I'm sure there will be more of these, too.

Any general questions about law and politics may be addressed to the author by e-mail or through various social networking sites such as Facebook.  The author holds a Juris Doctore from Widener University School of Law, but is not currently a member of any bar and does not give personal legal advice, only general instruction in legal issues.

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