Three Short Takes

First, this article tells us that the Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a law reversing a previous one (KFOR, 3/17/11).  Existing law gives joint custody to fathers and mothers when a child is born to an unmarried mother.  The new law would give sole custody to the mother.

The reason for the reversion to a less sensible rule that invidiously discriminates against fathers based on their sex?  The bill’s author, Rep. Aaron Stiles, explains.  Or does he?

Stiles said the Department of Human Services experienced problems this year because of the change.

He says when mothers would reach out to DHS to try to get child support from the father, the father would instead remove the child from daycare.

Maybe that means something to someone in a parallel universe, but I confess, it escapes me.  How is it that a non-custodial father can “remove a child from daycare?”  And what possible difference could it make to whether he should have joint custody or not, or pay child support or not?

Fathers of children born to single mothers can still assert their parental rights by a paternity action of course.  But that assumes they know about the child and that the child is theirs.  It also requires them to spend time, money and energy to obtain parental rights.  It therefore plainly discriminates against fathers based on sex and sex alone.

The proposed statute also seems to violate fathers’ due process rights.  On that issue, the U.S. Supreme Court said in Troxel v. Granville

[S]o long as a parent adequately cares for his or her children (i.e., is fit), there will normally be no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s children.

The Oklahoma bill plainly “injects the State into the private realm of the family,” despite no finding of unfitness on the part of the father.  As such, it is of dubious constitutional validity.

Second, I’ve followed the case of William McCormick III in a couple of posts.  He’s the former student at Brown who was accused of rape by a female student and forced by the school to drop out and enroll elsewhere.  He’s sued the school saying that he didn’t rape anyone, the school strong-armed him and failed to give him a proper hearing.

Because the woman didn’t go to the police in time, there’s no evidence of rape beyond her word.  She continues to maintain that McCormick raped her.

McCormick’s claims seem to be corroborated by the fact that the woman is the daughter of an influential and monied alumnus.  Emails from him to school officials suggest that he was trying to pressure the school into forcing McCormick off campus.

The latest news is that similar influence has resulted in the recusal of the third federal judge from the case.  Although the exact facts are complicated, Providence, Rhode Island, where Brown is located is a small world and lawyers for Brown, the woman and her father have connections with the various recused judges.

The upshot is that the case has now been moved to New Hampshire.  That’s a win for McCormick.  Brown and its wealthy patrons have a lot of power in Providence, so the farther away from there the trial is held, the better for him.

Third, they must be going for a world record of some sort.  NOW is criticizing the “War on Drugs,” as this article shows (Reno News and Review, 3/17/11).  I don’t object to anyone’s criticizing the War on Drugs, but NOW’s reasoning is all but beyond belief.  In a nutshell, NOW objects to the war because it, according to them, discriminates against women.

As the National Organization for Women has described the situation, “the incarceration rate of women convicted of low-level drug-related offenses has increased dramatically in the past decade as a result of our nation”s relentless ‘War on Drugs,” and poor women and women of color have been disproportionately targeted for drug law enforcement and receive long mandatory prison sentences that have little relationship to their actions or culpability.

Needless to say, that’s nonsense.  The facts are that roughly equal percentages of men and women use pot and other illegal drugs.  The percentages that are in no way equal are incarceration rates of men and women.  In fact, over 90% of people incarcerated for drug possession are men.  How NOW figures that “disproportionately targets” women of whatever class or race, I’ll never know.

And then there’s NOW’s backup theory that motherhood should be a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.

[T]wo thirds of women in prison have at least two children who are displaced as a result of their incarceration, often forced to live in the care of family, friends, or state-sponsored foster care where they may be at increased risk of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.’

I can just hear it in court: “Yes, judge, I robbed the liquor store and shot the clerk, but you can’t jail me; I’ve got a kid at home.”

Do I have to add that these are the same people who miss no opportunity to oppose fathers’ rights to a relationship with those same kids?  Yes, kids are at greater risk of abuse in foster care, so why is it that NOW prefers foster care to father care?

I seem to remember a time when these people claimed to stand for gender equality.  I’m sure it was just a dream.

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