Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hamburger, Fries, and Handcuffs

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts wrote the opinion in the case of a 12 year-old arrested for eating a french fry at a D.C. Metro station. The caper included a purported mandatory-arrest law for juveniles involved in subway (or in this case, McDonald's) misconduct. No, I haven't read the case. I was busy with something or other.

This might give feminists a reason to praise the Roberts nomination. By upholding the constitutionality of the law, although questioning its wisdom, other mandatory-arrest laws may be strengthened. Such laws are often passed to protect victims of domestic violence. Even if the couple has reconciled, feminists argue that the aggressor should be arrested to prevent a later flare-up or retaliation against the victim.

If the mandatory-arrest law was a significant part of the holding in the french fry case, it is an example of the importance of neutral principles being applied consistently, even if you disagrees with a specific outcome. Today, it is subway misconduct by juveniles. Tomorrow, it might be domestic violence.

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