Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Ternus Party and the Drinking Age

Seeking the Chief Justice's Opinion

As the parent of a 19 year old myself I can sympathize with the plight of Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and her husband Dennis Drake. Dennis, their son, and the son's friends got in hot water this weekend for an "underage" (sic) drinking party on the couple's property.

I qualify "underage" because this isn't 15 year old high school kids we're talking about: it's 19 year old ADULTS.

When I was a late teen (back when thr drinking age was 18 like it should be), Dad used to say "I'd rather let you have a beer at home than out getting in trouble." Of course, alcohol got me in trouble no matter where I was and I quit the stuff before I was 22. But all it cost me was a relationship and a few tenths off my grade point; I never got behind the wheel.

And that seemed to be Drake's concern, as he was positioned near the driveway at 1:30 AM to make sure no one drove home. Assuming that Her Honor was also in the parental loop (police reports don't indicate if she was home or not), that means two high-end lawyers looked at the situation and felt that the best thing to do was to let these young ADULTS have a drink or six at home and make sure they didn't drive.

Looks like the only thing anyone did that was WRONG was to be loud and obnoxious and annoy the neighbors--a temporary injury of lost sleep that's far less than would could have happened if Ternus and Drake had been less responsible.

This event is an opportunity Ternus should take to offer her opinion on the law. Not on the constitutionality of the law, but on the efficacy, the justice, the effectiveness of the law. Now, I'm just a dumb blogger, not a smart lawyer or nuthin' , so I don't know what the guidelines are. But from my perspective I'd love to hear Ternus say, "My son and husband broke the law, but it's a really bad law."

No comments: