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Elena Kagan: Supreme Court Nominee Raises Questions

May 10, 2010 Comments off

Elena Kagan, United States Solicitor General was nominated today to the United State Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.

Here,we examine just two aspects of her professional views related to sex offender laws.

1. The Marshall Memo: In 1993, Kagan wrote a memo praising former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she had clerked and whom had just died. At the time, Kagan quoted from a speech Marshall gave in 1987 in which he said the Constitution as originally conceived and drafted was “defective.” She quoted him as saying the Supreme Court’s mission was to “show a special solicitude for the despised and the disadvantaged.”

If you truly believe this, Ms. Kagan, then surely the societal and legislative attacks on registered sex offenders stands as the penultimate example of a class of citizens who are currently “despised and disadvantaged” in this nation.

2. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the administration’s top courtroom lawyer, urged the justices to uphold a 2006 federal law providing for the continued detention of sexually dangerous federal inmates who have completed their prison terms. In United States vs. Comstock, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2010, she acted on behalf of the U.S. government to argue that the federal government has the power to imprison citizens after they have completed their prison terms. Kagan argued in favor of civil commitment of “sexually dangerous” people after they complete their federal prison terms.

This should raise a large red flag to anyone favoring her appointment to SCOTUS. If she favors indefinite confinement of sex offenders by the government well beyond their prison terms, she is not qualified to be a judge who has the obligation to uphold, defend and protect our Constitutional rights.

Sources:
reuters.com: U.S. justices question sex offender confinement law.
abajournal.com: Sex-Offender Case Is Test of Necessary and Proper Clause.
stlbeacon.org: Sex offenders: Lock ’em up and throw away the key?

Elena Kagan, arguing for the government, compared the indefinite detention of sex offenders to quarantining those infected with “some very contagious form of drug resistant tuberculosis.” In the case of a TB infection, Solicitor General Kagan said, we’d say the government has the power to hold the person for the safety of society. Justice Stevens picked up on the analogy and pressed the attorney on the other side: Doesn’t the federal government have the power to quarantine?

The idea that sex offenders are not like ordinary criminals but somehow sick or diseased and have to be segregated from the general population is a powerful one and may operate as a subterranean motivation for much legislation in the area. But the analogy also discloses an ambivalence about how we think about sex offenders. Are they like ordinary criminals (bank robbers, reckless drivers, etc.) who should be punished and then released? Or are sex offenders more like people who are ill, who need treatment and care — perhaps indefinite treatment and care — rather than punishment?

Illinois Retroactive Sex Offender Law Passes Unopposed

May 10, 2010 Comments off

Illinois Voices reports that Illinois Passes Retroactive Sex Offender Registration Bill.

Senate Bill SB3084 96th General Assembly
Status: 5/7/2010 – Passed Both Houses
Short Description: SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION-RETROACTIVE

Senate Sponsors
Sen. Iris Y. MartinezWilliam DelgadoJohn J. MillnerToi W. HutchinsonJacqueline Y. Collins, A. J. Wilhelmi and Emil Jones, III

House Sponsors
(Rep. Deborah MellRaymond PoeDennis M. Reboletti, Linda Chapa LaVia, Jack D. Franks, Michael K. Smith, Charles E. Jefferson, Keith Farnham, Carol A. Sente and Robert F. Flider)

Synopsis As Introduced:
Amends the Sex Offender Registration Act. Provides that a person is required to register as a sex offender who was not previously required to register before the effective date of this amendatory Act because the sex offense that the person committed occurred before a specified date. Requires that person to register within 5 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act. Provides that if the person is confined, institutionalized, or imprisoned in Illinois on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act, he or she shall register in person with the local law enforcement agency within 5 days of discharge, parole, or release. Provides for the duration of the registration. Effective immediately.

Retro-active (or Ex Post Facto) laws are prohibited by the United States Constitution (Section 9) and by most State Constitutions, as well. See U.S. Constitution : Ex Post Facto Lesson. Illinois now joins the infamous ranks of Ohio and Nebraska as being one of the corrupt state governments which have enacted retro-active “punitive” laws upon any resident who has committed any sex-related offense anytime in their life. These laws impose punishment, restrictions and life-long requirements to register (often with imposed fees) on those who were convicted or pleaded of any sexually-orientated crime at any time in their lives.

Illinois citizens must contact their representatives ( and bill sponsors who are listed above) to express to them your opposition to this illegal legislation. Remember that these people are your servants and they work for you, as a voting citizen. You should be respectful (only because they will not listen to you otherwise) but firm and direct. You should tell them to repeal this illegal law immediately.

Then, all those affected directly by this law need to begin the process of legally challenging this law in the Courts. See here for sample legal motions and information about how you can challenge the law pro se (yourself without an attorney). Illinois people should also contact the Illinois Public Defender Office to urge them to assist, as the Ohio Public Defender Office has in these efforts.