Monday, July 6, 2015

Divisible, With Liberty And Justice for Some

Let us jump straight into right before today's debate class. As I was walking to Ives Hall, I was listening a little bit to the clock tower chiming. I was immediately interested however, when I realized that the person in charge of the many bells was actually playing "Here Comes the Sun," which was crazy. It lasted for three or more minutes at least, and no one else seemed to notice. That might have been the coolest part of my day.

The class began with everyone reading a handout on the Supreme Court justices who voted against legalizing gay marriage (Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas) and why they did so. After reading their arguments, we discussed whether they were solid or not (they were not, as a general consensus). 

The interesting idea that came up in class, based off some of the dissenting judges' reasoning, was whether or not it was democratic to let nine people decide a sweeping rule for the whole country. However, the Supreme Court is around to interpret the Constitution, not to be swayed by people or Congressmen. Taken directly from the Supreme Court's website, the Constitution "is designed to provide for a national government sufficiently strong and flexible to meet the needs of the republic, yet sufficiently limited and just to protect the guaranteed rights of citizens; it permits a balance between society's need for order and the individual's right to freedom.

The complex role of the Supreme Court in this system derives from its authority to invalidate legislation or executive actions which, in the Court's considered judgment, conflict with the Constitution. This power of "judicial review" has given the Court a crucial responsibility in assuring individual rights, as well as in maintaining a "living Constitution" whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations." So thank you, Supreme Court, for deciding that prohibiting the marriage of two people because they are of the same sex is unconstitutional, meaning it goes against the Constitution. That is exactly why you are here. Our democratic society is built with the Supreme Court in it, they are part of our democracy. 

Class closed out with a debate, with the resolution "This house regrets the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage." I was a judge in this debate, since I had debated in most of the others and because I hadn't been a judge before. Long story short, the debate was terrible. The proposition had no good reasons for regretting the Supreme Court's ruling, so there were just crazy arguments being thrown around (such as gay couples could move to other places to get married) and it was honestly quite amusing to everyone involved. It was an interesting experience however, to see people have to (try) to go against their true values and argue different sides, even if they bitterly opposed the side they were arguing for. 

This afternoon, I went to running club. Becky and Sophie had persuaded me to come one time, so I  did. It started at 5:00 PM and everyone ran for about 35 minutes. It was okay, but kind of annoying. It was a very slow jog, and there was one person who couldn't run straight, couldn't maintain any sort of same speed, and talked about the most menial things for the entire run. The run was more of an act of patience than of athleticism. However, I enjoyed running with Sophie and Becky, and the places that we ran were very nice. Cornell is lovely for sure.

After dinner, I went to Insomnia Cookies with Evan and we bought six cookies and they were good. They were warm and soft. I had a snicker doodle, mint chocolate, and M&M cookie. I ate them all. No regrets. None. On the way back to the dorms, we stopped and watched the sunset which was very red. It looked like a dragon's eye, the way it was framed by the clouds.
Terrible photo, but the sun was bright red.
The other thing I forgot about the East Coast is that it has fireflies! The little bugs that flash bright yellow. They're so cool. That's the one thing the Bay Area doesn't have that I wish it did. Little fireflies.

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