In Virginia, Judge James Michael Shull was faced with of two divorced parents, each wanting custody of their child for Christmas. Since there was no compelling reason to choose one parent over the other, Judge Shull tossed a coin. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled last week that Judge Shull “failed to uphold the dignity of the judiciary,” and removed him from the bench: a rather draconian punishment, given the behavior of some judges who are allowed to keep their gavels and robes (such as Philadelphia judge Teresa Carr Deni, appointed to another 6-year term earlier this month, despite her decision last month to downgrade the alleged at-gunpoint rape of a prostitute to a “theft of services” charge).
And exactly how should Judge Shull have resolved this issue? This was the proverbial coin-toss decision, which made tossing a coin rather appropriate. Would the Virginia Supreme Court have preferred he ask for a sword and suggest a more Solomonic solution?
One thing I’ve been hearing a lot over the past few weeks is that if Senator Larry Craig did indeed solicit sex from an undercover police officer, using various methods of Secret Homosexual Communication, he’s a hypocrite because he’s come out (so to speak) against gays in the military and same-sex marriage and civil unions.
How is this hypocrisy? You can be a smoker and still believe that smoking should be prohibited in public spaces and that taxes on cigarettes are good policy. You can believe that adultery should be illegal, yet nonetheless adult. It may not make you an honorable person, but there’s no hypocrisy there: You’re stating your honest beliefs, even though they might be in your best interests.
A little closer to true hypocrisy would be the fact that while Craig’s fellow Republicans are calling for his resignation, they’re fairly mum about Senator David Vitter’s recently-revealed adventures with a prostitute; though even that wouldn’t be hypocritical if said Republicans are open about the fact they consider homosexual sex to be inherently wrong. They may be homophobes, but that doesn’t make them hypocrites.