"You don't spank children today," Judge Jose Longoria told Rosina Gonzales.The Derb is understandably incensed by this blatant instance of judicial activism:
"In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel," Judge Longoria of 214th District Court told Gonzales. "You don't spank children. You understand?"
It seems to me that the judge is out of line. It may indeed be that our standards have shifted so much that the generality of citizens would like spanking banned. If that's the case, let them press their representatives to pass appropriate legislation. The current situation in the U.S.A. is that spanking in the home is legal in every state; 19 states, Texas among them, also permit spanking in schools. This judge, name of José Longoria, is therefore legislating from the bench — a far more serious offense against public standards, in my opinion, than smacking a 2-year-old on the rear end.While the idea of corporal punishment horrifies many SWPLs no matter how deserving of it a child may be (and despite being named Jose, the judge looks enough like a SWPL), the general public does not share the court's thoughts. The GSS has asked respondents if they think it is sometimes necessary to give a child a "good, hard spanking". In 2010, 69% of those surveyed agree that it is, compared to only 31% who do not. In 1986, the first year the question was posed, spanking was favored 84% to 16%, so there has been a little shifting towards wussification in the last couple of decades, but a substantial majority of Americans still believe a swat on the ass is justified at times. The Derb does not need to entertain the thought that the judge may have been channeling public sentiment in his authoritarian ruling.
If this precedence becomes relevant by way of other court rulings referencing it I suspect there will be public push back, and the advocates of outlawing spanking will run across the same minefield that those calling for Michael Vicks' head following revelations of the brutality he inflicted upon pit bulls ran through. Spanking, too, has a racial component. Namely, blacks are its strongest advocate. The following table shows the percentages who agree that spanking is justifiable, by race. For both contemporary relevance and ample sample size for Native Americans and Asians, responses are from 2000 onward (n = 7,393--all proceeding tables have the same parameters):
There is a political component as well, and as is rather often the case on social matters, reliably Democratic blacks and reliably Democratic SWPLs are not on the same page (n = 8,026):
Even among white liberals, though, spanking has majority support (56.4% to 43.6%). Banning corporal punishment may be a progressive issue, but intruding on parental rights is not a popular one.
Parenthetically, spanking also finds relatively greater support among men than it does among women, and among those of more modest intelligence than it does among the more intelligent (and, surprisingly, the least intelligent):
GSS variables used: SPANKING(1-2)(3-4), YEAR, SEX, RACECEN1(1)(2)(3)(4-10)(15-16), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7), WORDSUM
* Respondents are broken up into five categories; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Really Dumbs (0-3, 12%).