Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I was not sure what to talk about today, and then I thought about why I enjoyed yesterday’s piece so much. I really do not like doing pure opinion pieces. I much prefer when I can write something which is analytical. So what is the difference?

When I sought out to write my Master’s thesis, 105 pages, I intended to show how a 1986, ruling from the United States Supreme Court ,which upheld a law which criminalized oral or anal sex between members of the same or opposite gender, was contrary to the historical direction of the court. I instead ended up writing a thesis which found the ruling was consistent with how the Court had previously ruled in such matters. One of my advisors is a regular guest on the Davis Rankin show, Dr. Allan Saxe, of UT Arlington.

People were shocked to learn I was defending the decision of the Court as being consistent with the previous decisions of the Court. I had a reputation of being a strong advocate for gay rights. I left my job as an industrial engineer on the B1B Bomber over my right to be out of the closet without being harassed on a daily basis. So how did I arrive at a decision so contrary to what everyone expected?

As a Political Scientist (I hate that label - I prefer Political Analyst) it was my job to apply the facts to a specific model of analysis, and not to form an opinion. I needed a focus so I coined the term juridical methodology as the process used by the courts in their decision making process. Once I surveyed some 200 years of decisions by the Supreme Court I was able to create a model of analysis to which I could apply the Bowers v. Hardwick decision. What I found was the decision making process used in Bowers was no different than that used by the court over a near two hundred year history.

An example of how it works- this is in its simplest form. A single women wants birth control such as a condom - the law says it is illegal to sell condoms. Historically the Supreme Court would not take such a case. Eventually it did take such a case, but limited the right to one protected by marital privacy. Years later it extended the ruling to unmarried couples.

In the context of sodomy, in 1986, the issue was not ripe for such a leap forward in civil liberties. In 1991, I argued in an Application for Stay before the United State Supreme Court that the right to engage in sodomy was protected as incident to the right to marry - marital privacy. The protected right was marriage - sodomy was implied in the privacy which is incident to marriage. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia presented the Application for Stay to the entire Supreme Court and it was held for 25 hours - unheard of. I along with an entire military court waited anxiously in San Angelo for the Supreme Court to allow the court martial of my client to go forward. We came close.

Back to my point - my role as a political analyst when writing my thesis required I limit my analysis to a verifiable model of analysis without regard for where the axe fell. As an advocate for my client, it was my job to argue on behalf of my client, which may not have been totally free of personal bias.

I hope my readers got something out of this piece. When you read any blog, or letter to the editor - look for evidence of objectivity and inclusiveness of contrary facts. This is the difference between biased opinion and objective analysis. One manipulates and the other educates- the former manipulates and should be taken with a grain of salt. The latter can aide in education and should be studied for its objectivity and educational value.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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