Smug and Smarmy Slate Column Calls Legal Chaos "Sausage Making"


It's an old adage variously attributed to Otto von Bismark, Mark Twain, and a host of others, but it's become one of the most famous and scathing commentaries on the legislative process: "Two things you don't want to see being made are laws and sausages."

An article in Slate this week riffs on this classic saying with respect to the situation of the approximately 1,300 illegal same-sex "marriages" that occurred in Utah between the time of federal District Judge Robert Shelby's errant ruling and the Supreme Court's issuance of a stay against its effects.


In a wild and rambling article bent on defending Attorney General Eric Holder's unconstitutional affront to Utah's sovereignty in announcing that the DOJ would recognize those marriages, the Slate author says:

 This is how the sausage of civil rights gets made—with slicing and dicing and a sprinkling of carpe diem.

The author then does a haphazard job of trying to understand whether Holder's action is legal or not, quoting a couple law professors but opining that even while their "semi-technical answers may be correct," they are  "not terribly satisfying." Instead, she opts for an approach to the issue which brazenly tries to claim a basis for the present state of affairs in the (misread) history of the Civil Rights Movement.

The only point of agreement between us and her article is the allusion to the old saying about "laws and sausages," to which we'd add the observation that some laws (like some sausages) are made more disgustingly than others. If "this is how the sausage is getting made this time," then it is a sausage making reminiscent of the most grisly scene from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle or perhaps even something out of Soylent Green.

Copyright 2014