Thursday, April 02, 2015


Here is a quote from the New York Times:

"It seemed like routine business for the student council at the University of California, Los Angeles: confirming the nomination of Rachel Beyda, a second-year economics major who wants to be a lawyer someday, to the council’s Judicial Board. Until it came time for questions. 'Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community,' Fabienne Roth, a member of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, began, looking at Ms. Beyda at the other end of the room, 'how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?'

...The council, in a meeting that took place on Feb. 10, voted first to reject Ms. Beyda’s nomination, with four members against her. Then, at the prodding of a faculty adviser there who pointed out that belonging to Jewish organizations was not a conflict of interest, the students revisited the question and unanimously put her on the board...Reports of anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish sentiment have been on the rise across the country in recent years, especially directed at younger Jews, researchers said." [NYT] 

Yikes! For some reason, many people have come to believe that disagreement is cause for shunning and economic boycott. If A dislikes the policies of country or state I, then A is justified in punishing people who sympathize with I. (Note that "I" could be Israel or Indiana).

Suppose some guy comes into your store wearing a "I heart Indiana" hoodie.  You are gay, or have gay friends.  Do you have to serve him?  After all, you don't like what he stands for.  And...and...well, it's YOUR STORE.  Do you really have to validate this person?  Kick 'em out; he's intolerant.

But the meaning of "tolerance" is respectful treatment of people you disagree with, or hate. And tolerance is required of citizens in a democracy.

The hard problem: How tolerant should we be of other people we perceive (and that we have good reason to perceive, at least in our perception) as intolerant? (Referring now to the Indiana law, of course). Is it legitimate for a corporation to refuse to sell to people from Indiana, given that Indiana is intolerant of same sex couples?

Here is an article from three years ago from Wake Forest Law Review. It gives quite a bit of detail, but comes out against the constitutionality of laws such as those in Indiana.

And here is an even better (IMHO) law review article (from almost 50 years ago, when we were having an analogous argument about black folks) about common carriers and public accomodations. It is quite detailed, and historically useful.

Excerpt from the latter:

Under English common law, it was the duty of common carriers to serve all persons without imposing unreasonable conditions. 

The English courts considered that "a person [who] holds himself out to carry goods for everyone as a business . .. is a common carrier," ' and that any member of the public may create a contract with the carrier by accepting its general offer.  

(Garton v.  Bristol & Exeter Ry.  Co., 1 B.  & S.  112, 121 Eng.  Rep.  656 (1861). See generally, Kline, Origin of the Rule Against.  Unjust Discrimination, 66 U.  PA.  L.  Revd.  123  (1918)  ;  Kline,  Scope  of  the  Rule  Against  Unjust  Dis- crimination  by  Public  Servants,  67  U.  PA.  L.  Ray.  109 (1919). 7 Ingate v.  Christie, 3 Car.  & K.  61, 175 Eng.  Rep.  463, 464 (1850). S Denton v.  Great Northern Ry.  Co., 5 El.  & Bl.  860, 119 Eng.  Rep.  701 (1856))

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Argentines Don't Forget.

They don't fight effectively, and they have a woefully broken political and civil society.  But they don't forget.  From a friend traveling down south...