Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Invitation To Assumption

Delhi Charter School in Delhi, Louisiana has announced in its handbook a policy requiring students who are suspected of being pregnant to take a pregnancy test.   If the results are positive, the young woman no longer will be permitted to attend classes on campus and instead "will be offered home study opportunities."

A blog of the American Civil Liberties Union argues the new policy is "in blatant violation of the law and the U.S. Constitution" and its Louisiana chapter, as well as the ACLU Women's Rights Project have sent a letter to the charter school asking it to suspend its policy because it violates the due process clause, the equal protection clause, and Title IX.

Public funding, private policies designed to reflect the profit motive- it's a great gig charter schools have, though hopefully the Delhi Charter School will reverse its policy or, failing that, will be ordered to do so.    It is only realistic, however, given that a positive reading results in removal from the school, that Delhi treats refusal to submit to the test as proof of pregnancy.

The same principle increasingly is in effect in questions of driving while intoxicated (or driving under the influence, depending upon the state), in which refusal to take a test is considered tantamount to an admission of guilt.   In 2010, we read here, "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a national 'no refusal' initiative, offering to provide stateshelp to implement the policy.  He noted 'About one in four DWI suspects refuses a breathalyzer test in order to avoid prosecution.  It's a persistent, ongoing problem.'"

If Delhi Charter School or law enforcement authorities permitted individuals to avoid a penalty based on the refusal to submit to a test everyone else under suspicion takes,  cooperative individuals would be disproportionately disadvantaged.    (And ultimately, droves of people would "just say no.")    By the same token, one cannot ride the subway twice- nor can Mitt Romney continue to be given a free pass.

A free pass, that is, by the media and virtually everyone not named "Harry Reid."   (The numerous Republicans, who, to their credit, have urged Romney to release tax returns are concerned about perception and never suggest that he might actually have something worth hiding.)  

After Majority Leader Reid stated that a Bain investor (and others) told him that Romney had in ten separate years paid no income taxes, Macho Man Mitt told him to "put up or shut up." Reid then rebutted the former governor's rebuttal, noting

When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it’s his obligation to put up, and release several years’ worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have done for decades.

Writing on Juan Cole's Informed Consent website, Democrat and Indianapolis attorney John Sullivan (not this John Sullivan) explains

Obviously, Romney will not produce his tax returns because he knows what’s in them is more damaging that the static he will take for not releasing them. At law, if a person is control of evidence refuses to produce the evidence, then the jury is instructed that there is a presumption that the evidence would be against the party failing to produce. It is called the “Missing Evidence” instruction.

Barack Obama has released twelve years of tax returns; Vice-President Biden, fourteen; Mitt Romney- worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars- two.      The latter could release a lot more, expose Harry Reid (or his contact/s) as a liar, and get the last laugh.   Or he could sink his presidential campaign.   He is choosing opaqueness over transparency.  

You read blogs more interesting than this, and probably more informative.   Where, however, will you find anything drawing a parallel between teenage pregnancy and a presidential nominee's tax returns?

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