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Individual Rights

September 12, 1991 | TIMOTHY S. BISHOP, Timothy S. Bishop is a Chicago attorney who served as a law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan
Liberals prepared to take the long view of the Supreme Court's development of constitutional protection for individual rights can find one bright side to the nomination of Clarence Thomas. To be sure, if Judge Thomas is confirmed, his rulings will predictably continue the court's conservative trend. But that would be true of anyone on the Administration's short list of candidates.
April 30, 2013 | By Howard Blume
A conservative organization has joined with a group of California teachers in an effort to overturn laws that allow teacher unions to collect fees from those who don't want to be members. The lawsuit , filed Tuesday in federal court in Santa Ana, targets "agency-shop" rules that apply in about half the states in the country. Under the law, unions can collect from teachers a base fee for services they provide, whether the teachers choose to join the union or not. The law also includes a process by which a union reduces the fees to exclude the cost of political activities from those such as negotiating for wages and benefits.
December 26, 1991
In response to "The Bill of Rights: An Orphan Document" (Opinion, Dec. 15): The Times is to be commended for two separate but philosophically related articles. Richard Rodriguez's article ("A Legal Fix for Private Failure") correctly defines the Bill of Rights as a delineation of individual rights against the power of the state. Individual rights and the accompanying responsibility are two sides of the same coin. That is nowhere more clear than in the matters of personal health.
August 30, 2012 | Michael Kinsley
In an interview on the eve of his acceptance of the Republican Party's nomination for president, Mitt Romney sought to distance himself from his running mate and criticized those who would, as he put it, "chain us together. " "I mean, who is Paul Ryan?" Romney said, referring to the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin who is the party's vice presidential nominee. "He's just some congressman who happens to be highly opinionated, as it turns out. But why should that reflect on me, just because I picked him?
April 23, 1993
David Dawidoff (Commentary, April 16) is correct to point out that individual rights--as opposed to minority rights--is the bottom line in light of the new Guttmacher survey suggesting there are far fewer gays than previously believed. But it's still useful to speculate on how many gay women and men there really are. Advice columnist Abigail Van Buren has written, commenting on a "Dear Abby" survey to which more than 210,000 people responded: "Although mental-health professionals in the past have estimated that 10% of the population is either gay or bisexual, my survey indicated that there are possibly twice that percentage."
May 29, 1988
In the not-so-best of worlds, laws are made and enforced that respond more to the cries of "there oughta be a law" rather than a need to protect our rights. The outdoor display ordinance in Laguna Beach is an example. Someone said, "I don't like outdoor displays. They're tacky. There oughta be a law." And some lawmakers responded. The result is a law that does not protect individual rights, but rather restricts and abridges those rights, limiting the individual's private property rights, right to made a living, and freedom of expression.
May 9, 1993
I thank Dana Parsons for his column of May 2. Unfortunately, he misses a crucial element of my argument. I maintain that abortion is wrong not because of religious faith or theological doctrine, but as a matter of common sense. The doctrine of individual rights is the basis of self-government, but the ground of individual rights is human nature. Lincoln, who was neither an extremist nor a religious ideologue, maintained that slavery was wrong because it violated the "self-evident truth" of human equality.
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