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After Tsarnaev Gets Death, a Middle Georgia Marathoner and Law Professor Ponders the Death Penalty

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By Dave Oedel

On Friday, May 15, 2015, the Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 at the time of the bombing two years ago, was sentenced by a unanimous federal jury to death instead of life in prison after Tsarnaev earlier had conceded participating in the murders.

My wife and I have run the Boston Marathon three times in the past few years, and my sister-in-law witnessed the bombs exploding near the finish line. None of that gives me any more insight than anyone else on the appropriateness of the death penalty in Tsarnaev’s case. In its extensive coverage yesterday, though, the New York Times suggested that most Massachusetts citizens, where I was born and raised, and by extension many Boston marathoners, are offended by the verdict.

The Times and its friends didn’t poll me. After young Dzhokhar tried to kill people like my family members and me at the world’s most iconic marathon, … Continue Reading

What the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision Might Mean for Georgia and Similar States with State Constitutions Banning Same-Sex Marriage

(FILES)US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts poses for the Supreme Court class photo 03 March 2006 at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court ruled 25 June, 2007 in favor of a school that suspended a student for brandishing a banner proclaiming "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," in one of the more bizarre recent free-speech cases. The high-school pupil, Joseph Frederick, had argued that the school principal had infringed his constitutional right to free speech by suspending him in January 2002 over his apparently pro-cannabis message. But in a five-three decision, the Supreme Court concluded that the school officials in this case did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending the student responsible for it," the ruling written by chief justice John Roberts said.       AFP PHOTO/Paul J. RICHARDS/FILES (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: PJR07

 

By Dave Oedel

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this past Tuesday, April 28, 2015, on two interrelated questions involving the federal constitutionality of state-based same-sex marriages bans in states like Georgia. The Court’s decision, expected by late June, is likely to have an impact on Georgia’s law and those of similarly-situated states. But what impact?

A couple of probable swing voters in the case, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, early on in the oral argument Tuesday signaled that they were doubtful about using the courts to redefine the definition of marriage itself, something that they suggested has been assumed for millennia.

But that didn’t stop the Chief from posing this hypothetical, … Continue Reading

A Conversation With Sister Elizabeth Greim As She Leaves Macon

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The Telegraph’s 2013 Person of the Year, Sister Elizabeth Greim of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul, an order of nuns in the Catholic Church devoted to serving the homeless and poor, has touched many souls in Macon. Sister Elizabeth is now transitioning to a new position in Little Rock, Arkansas with Depaul USA, where she will direct a homeless day center transforming it into a center like the Daybreak center at 174 Walnut Street in Macon that Sister Elizabeth helped found in 2012, and has directed for the past three years. The Monitor caught up with Sister Elizabeth on April 24, 2015 to hear about what she’s learned and done in Macon, and what its people have meant for her.

There will be a mass and reception in Sister Elizabeth’s honor beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, 2015 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 830 Poplar Street in downtown Macon. The public is welcome.

Monitor: Before coming to Macon, where had you been, and what were you doing?

Sister Elizabeth: I’ve been a sister in the Daughters of Charity for almost 20 years now, the last ten in Macon. Before that, … Continue Reading

Why RFRA Fizzled in Georgia

Georgia's capitol building -- the gold dome  that you can see clearly from the I-75/I85 connector in downtown Atlanta.

By Dave Oedel

The most controversial bill that got killed in the last days of Georgia’s General Assembly ending April 2, 2015 was Georgia’s proposed version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, S.B. 129, that had been passed by Georgia’s Senate but was languishing in the House. After Indiana enacted a similar bill in March and immediately suffered withering scorn from the likes of Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook, Georgia’s RFRA died.

Though its sponsors vow that it will return in 2016, it seems unlikely to gain any more traction then, as it had little practical reason for passage to begin with, and its core constituency seems more riveted on matters like same-sex marriage.  The vigor with which Georgia’s RFRA was opposed by gay rights advocates, while comparatively strong as a media matter, was also more symbolic than substantive, in keeping with the largely symbolic character of the proposed law.

With the whole controversy appearing to be more of a media storm without much practical significance, yet with real possible state reputational damage looming, Governor Nathan Deal with his leadership team guided the bill to a quiet death. … Continue Reading

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