October 4, 2013

Living in compressed time with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"We live in an era of time compression," said Justice Kennedy. And "It’s simply stunning to me to see the changes in attitudes." He was talking about attitudes about sexual orientation.

At the same time — compressed time, presumably — he said that, in a "functioning democracy," courts should not be "resolv[ing] the most serious issues of the day."
"I just don’t think that a democracy is responsible if it doesn’t have a political, rational, respectful, decent discourse so it can solve these problems before they come to the court."
Attitudes are changing rapidly, and in a democracy, serious issues should be resolved outside of the courts. And yet he wrote the decision that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Why not wait for the democratic process to play out?

Maybe — in the mind of Anthony Kennedy — they did wait. DOMA was passed in 1996. They waited 17 years.

In compressed time, that's what? Half a century?

13 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

I can't hear time compression without thinking of Final Fantasy 8. I won't have anyone talk about me in the past tense!

Lyssa said...

The husband and I like to point out all of the things that we grew up with, that our kid will never know, even though it seemed like we grew up in a time of great advanced technology (80's and 90's). Phones with cords, film in cameras, a household without a computer, dial-up, etc. I hadn't thought about social attitudes towards sexual orientation(after all, we certainly grew up with sexism and racism being historical artifacts), but those would fit, too.

It really is quite amazing to think about - the things that were said routinely when I was a teen (1990's) would be extremely shocking today.

Can anyone think of another social change that has happened in this type of time frame? Are we likely to encounter another in our lifetimes?

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Do you think I like ruling by diktat? The political branches should do what I want without having to be told."

MadisonMan said...

He's 77? Time has not compressed his aging.

I don't care what your political leanings are, there is a time to let the younger generation take over.

I think every generation looks back and says Whoa! I've had to deal with a lot more change than anyone before me!! (And doesn't that make me special)

Matthew Sablan said...

"I don't care what your political leanings are, there is a time to let the younger generation take over."

-- I'm reading the Mars Trilogy now, and just got about 3/4 through Green Mars where some of the characters are thinking that exact thing. Then again, they have SCIENCE! that has let them live to something like 140.

great Unknown said...

What choice did Kennedy have once the Court granted cert. The "democratic process", for better and/or worse, has long been subverted by the Judicial process.

Thank you, Justice Marshall.

ricpic said...

All the idealism of "the people should decide" goes out the window when judges find themselves in the delicious position of being the final arbiters.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

I attended one of his talks back in the 1990s at law school. When asked about SSM, he was circumspect but we all felt he was against a Constitutional/ judicial resolution in favor. Time has compressed within his own life.

jacksonjay said...

Spoken like a duly "evolved" swinger. His evolution was certain more deliberate and thoughtful than that of Justice "It's A Tax" Roberts.

MadisonMan said...

Then again, they have SCIENCE!

Great. Thomas Dolby is in my head now.

Real American said...

Kennedy compressed his ass cheeks and the Windsor ruling oozed out of it. True story.

donald said...

How awesome that a Supreme Court justice doesn't understand the concept of republic as opposed to democracy.

The Godfather said...

As an example of compressed time, think about Bill Clinton. He is lauded by Democrats, who are seriously considering nominating his wife for president, yet he's the guy that put Don't-Ask-Don't Tell into effect, he's the guy who sponsored DOMA, he's the guy that ended "welfare as we know it". These are all actions that, if committed by a Bush, would he high on Democrats' list of high crimes and misdemeanors. But they were done by Clinton in the '90's, and they are forgotten, because he seems to be the only successful Democratic president since -- I don't know, FDR? Cleveland? Jackson?