Sunday, September 13, 2015

Thirty years ago: John Roberts authored memo advising Reagan not to say AIDS couldn't be transmitted through casual contact

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of a memorandum by White House attorney John Roberts advising that President Ronald Reagan not publicly state that HIV could not be transmitted through casual contact.  Roberts would eventually become Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In the memo addressed to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts stated that the matter was a "disputed scientific issue", and he advised that Reagan avoid repeating an earlier briefing memo's talking point that "as far as our best scientists have been able to determine, AIDS virus is not transmitted through casual or routine contact."

On the contrary, Roberts advised that "There is much to commend the view that we should assume AIDS can be transmitted through casual or routine contact, as is true with many viruses, until it is demonstrated that it cannot be, and no scientist has said AIDS definitely cannot be so transmitted."

See here and here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Kentucky Constitution barely recognizes the duty to uphold the United States Constitution

As Rowan County Recorder Kim Davis is jailed for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in compliance with the United States Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling, it is of note that the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky requires elected officials to swear an oath of office with some rather odd priorities.

Section 228 of Kentucky's Constitution fleetingly requires elected officials to swear to "support" the Constitution of the United States, but then those same officials are required to expend many syllables swearing that they have not dueled in or out of Kentucky, that they have not sent or accepted a challenge to fight in a duel, that they have not served as a second in a duel, and that they have not aided or assisted with a duel.

To "support" the United States Constitution is almost an afterthought in Kentucky, apparently.

Additionally, dueling results in automatic disqualification from office in Kentucky -- unlike violating the United States Constitution, as Davis has done.

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