TimS

Did one of the liberal Supreme Court Justices really suggest reducing age of consent to 12?

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7 hours ago, lichum said:

 

I remember this highly controversial recommendation.

 

I added the red but not the bolded type to Volokh's post.
 
 
According to Volokh's in-context, in-depth analysis,  it is true that justice Ginsburg did support the recommendation of lowering the age  of consent to 12.
 
From Volokh's blog:
 

pageok
[Eugene Volokh, September 21, 2005 at 4:37pm] 
Justice Ginsburg's Past Endorsement of Lowering the Age of Consent to 12:

[UPDATE: Since posting this, I have concluded that Justice Ginsburg was likely the victim of a drafting error, and the report's critics, including me, themselves erred in not seeing the error. More here.]
Sen. Lindsey Graham recently said that Justice Ginsburg "represents the ACLU," "wants the age of consent to be 12," and "believes there's a constitutional right to prostitution." Timothy Noah (Slate's Chatterbox) calls this a "smear." Mr. Noah is far kinder to my earlier comments about the Ginsburg-age-of-consent matter, but still refers to them as "analytically faulty." He also faults "Edward Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center" for making the same "ridiculously distorted" "pro-pederasty accusation."

 

I've wanted to comment further on this ever since Mr. Noah's piece was called to my attention on Monday, but it took a day and a half for me to get the relevant source from the library. Now I have the data, and can say a few words about the issue, and about whether the charge is a "smear" or a legitimate allegation.

 

1. Justice Ginsburg is indeed on the record as having endorsed lowering the age of consent to 12. When she was a law professor at Columbia, she, Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, former director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, and 15 law students put together a report for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The report, released in 1977, gave as one of its "Recommendations" (p. 102):

18 U.S.C. §2032 — Eliminate the phrase "carnal knowledge of any female, not his wife who has not attained the age of sixteen years" and substitute a Federal, sex-neutral definition of the offense patterned after S. 1400 §1633: A person is guilty of an offense if he engages in a sexual act with another person, not his spouse, and (1) compels the other person to participate: (A) by force or (B) by threatening or placing the other person in fear that any person will imminently be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping; (2) has substantially impaired the other person's power to appraise or control the conduct by administering or employing a drug or intoxicant without the knowledge or against the will of such other person, or by other means; or (3) the other person is, in fact, less than 12 years old.

The report also said (p. 97) that "Prostitution, as a consensual act between adults, is arguably within the zone of privacy protected by recent constitutional decisions" (citing the right-of-privacy cases), and urged that various federal prostitution statutes be "[r]epeal[ed]." This isn't precisely the same as saying that "there's a constitutional right to prostitution," because of the qualifier "arguably," but it's not that far off; the report wasn't merely impartially noting that this is one possible position, but seemingly endorsing it as the sounder position.

 

2. Was the quote, though, taken out of context? That, I take it, is the heart of Mr. Noah's argument. "Yes, the language Ginsburg quotes with approval puts the age of consent at 12, which does seem awfully young. But she isn't addressing herself to the age issue; she's addressing herself to the gender issue. Is her praise meant to constitute an endorsement of the entire bill? Of course not. Ginsburg makes this explicit in a footnote in which she complains that even this language 'retains use of the masculine pronoun to cover individuals of both sexes,' which at the very least is confusing if it's intended to outlaw statutory (and other) rape by women, too." (Here Mr. Noah is quoting from a 1974 version of this report; he didn't have a copy of Sex Bias in the U.S. Code.)

 

Yet then-existing federal law set the age of consent at 16. If the Ginsburg report had only intended to make the law sex-neutral, it could have done so without suggesting a new age of consent, or endorsing a proposed federal bill that lowered the age of consent. Yet the Ginsburg report's proposal recommended the replacement of a sex-specific age of consent of 16 with a sex-neutral age of consent of 12. It seems to me quite fair, and not a "smear," to fault the report for suggesting this change.

I didnt think anyone else here ever read Eugene Volokh.

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10 minutes ago, Little said:

I didnt think anyone else here ever read Eugene Volokh.

 

I enjoy reading Volokh's analyses  because of his thoroughness.

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25 minutes ago, Gamakatsu said:

 

That is correct, but at the time Ginsburg said what she did, such "Romeo and Juliet" laws were far less common. Did they exist at all at the time?

 

I don't know about the history of close-in-age consent exceptions to statutory rape laws.

 

I have read  that long ago, among  the states,  the age of consent  was generally lower than now.

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Posted (edited)

48 minutes ago, lichum said:

 

I don't know about the history of close-in-age consent exceptions to statutory rape laws.

 

I have read  that long ago, among  the states,  the age of consent  was generally lower than now.

 

I believe it was... in fact, around 12.  Raised to 16 in 1885.  Varies from state to state but mostly age of consent is 18 years now. 

 

And that's fine.  Great.  But without stepped age of consent laws, making it a set and forget 16-18 years old without exceptions creates a lot of "criminals" out of kids caught fooling around with other kids just a year or two their junior.

 

I dunno what Ginsburg's angle was when she made her proposal to reduce the age of consent, but I will say this:  Tim started this thread based on a statement made by a guy who still thinks there's a pedophilia ring based in a DC pizza restaurant's non-existent basement, so we can pretty safely assume she probably wasn't taking the "let's make it legal for adults to diddle 12 year olds" stance like he claims.  If the point was to not to make a criminals out of teenagers banging other teenagers, well then that's not really something I have a problem with.

Edited by Intrepid95

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2 minutes ago, Intrepid95 said:

 If the point was to not to make a criminals out of teenagers banging other teenagers, well then that's not really something I have a problem with.

 

Agree.

 

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Tim, Supreme Court Judges are ex-lawyers (as are most politicians) nothing more needs to be said.... expect the worst and be wildly surprised if it doesn't happen. I would believe that anything can come out of their pie holes no matter how bizarre.

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Subscribed to the Conspiracy until the WaPo made you accept all their other crap as a condition for subscription. eff em.

Really wish he'd find a less noxious host site. 

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11 hours ago, Gamakatsu said:

What crimes should we charge 12 years olds with who play 'doctor'?

 

Impersonating medical professionals for a start, omigawd you folks are easy. :)

 

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17 hours ago, Aquacide said:

 

no my post was about stepped age of consent laws, it was on topic.

 

his post was aimed at me not the topic. i thought this was supposed to have been cut out ?

 

The topic of your post was age of consent in Holland, more specifically a girl in Holland and your personal experience (in Holland) and how you learned about Holland's stepped age of consent laws from the Dutch girl....in Holland. A followup post about Holland would be on topic. We were talking about the laws in America prior to your post about Holland if you want to get technical. His post was personal...but it was also on topic, albeit just barely as the original topic was not Holland's laws.

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13 hours ago, Gamakatsu said:

Trying to protect two kids who succumb to their hormones from going to jail or getting charged with anything is the right thing to do and that's what Ginsburg suggested. By the time I was 13, a lot kids were touching and feeling, some doing more. Anybody who thinks such kids need to be charged is out of their mind.

 

No sane person thinks that 12 year olds should be able to consent with adults. Ginsberg didn't say that.

I agree with part one - and I don't think two 13 year old kids engaged in mutually agreed upon stuff touching are going to jail, getting charged or booked. It would take Seal to find examples of this, it simple doesn't happen and it's certainly NOT why/how the law was written.

 

Part two - the change in the law that Ginsberg recommended ABSOLUTELY would make it legal for adults to have sex with 12 year old children. Her suggestion changes the age of consent to 12. Ginsberg's suggested change to the law would give a 12 year old the legal ability to say "yes" and consent to sex....even with an adult. That's exactly what her suggested change to the law would allow - here it is again:

 The paragraph (from the Ginsburg report) reads as follows: "'Eliminate the phrase "carnal knowledge of any female, not his wife, who has not attained the age of 16 years" and substitute a federal, sex-neutral definition of the offense. ... A person is guilty of an offense if he engages in a sexual act with another person. ... [and] the other person is, in fact, less than 12 years old.'"

^^^That's exactly what she suggests :upck:

 

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Posted (edited)

22 minutes ago, TimS said:

I agree with part one - and I don't think two 13 year old kids engaged in mutually agreed upon stuff touching are going to jail, getting charged or booked. It would take Seal to find examples of this, it simple doesn't happen and it's certainly NOT why/how the law was written.

 

Part two - the change in the law that Ginsberg recommended ABSOLUTELY would make it legal for adults to have sex with 12 year old children. Her suggestion changes the age of consent to 12. Ginsberg's suggested change to the law would give a 12 year old the legal ability to say "yes" and consent to sex....even with an adult. That's exactly what her suggested change to the law would allow - here it is again:

 

 

^^^That's exactly what she suggests :upck:

 

 

No she didn't. You really need to look at the source. Do you really trust Lindsay Graham to give you all the details?

 

 

 

Edited by Gamakatsu

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20 hours ago, lichum said:

Yet the Ginsburg report's proposal recommended the replacement of a sex-specific age of consent of 16 with a sex-neutral age of consent of 12. It seems to me quite fair, and not a "smear," to fault the report for suggesting this change.

Sorry, I approved your post yesterday but failed to quote it - this part, right here, makes it clear that Ginsberg's intent was to LOWER the age of consent to 12 as well as make it gender-neutral. 

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1 hour ago, Gamakatsu said:

No she didn't. You really need to look at the source. Do you really trust Lindsay Graham to give you all the details?

 

I have no idea what Lindsay Graham says on the subject, not sure why folks on the left always assuming folks get their opinions from somewhere else - is it because they get their from someone else and can't imagine someone reading a quote and forming their own opinion? It's weird. It happens all the time here, I say something and someone on the left tells me to stop listening to (insert person I have NEVER read/listened to) :squid: It's really a very pathetic way to have a discussion...I can only suspect it's because they themselves require other folks to provide them with their opinion.

 

The "source" of what I just quoted was NOT Lindsay Graham, it was from Lichum's quote....and he was quoting "Eugene Volokh" - who also did not provide me with my opinion, I reached it by reading the verbiage Ginsberg suggested replacing and the verbiage she wanted to replace it with. In other words, HER OWN WORDS. I could care less was Lindsay Graham thinks, I've never read, looked up or intentionally listened to a word from Lindsey Graham. You have a better source than Ginsberg's own words, let's see it.

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55 minutes ago, GeoffT said:

*

Geoff, did you change your mind when you realized Ginsberg ACTUALLY did recommend changing the age of consent to 12? She wasn't a member of Congress, she was a professor shaping minds and shaping their futures :eek:

 

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