Monday, May 19, 2014

High Court Rules Nagging Constitutional

What will be the effect on marriage of the recent ruling by the state’s highest court that according to the Times stuck “down a statute that made it a felony to communicate with someone ‘in a manner likely to cause annoyance or harm’” (“Top Court Champions Freedom to Annoy,” NYT, 5/13/14)? The Times went on to point out that "Ronald L. Kuby, one of the lawyers involved in the original case, called the decision a victory for 'the demented and dissident, the crazies and the critical, the malcontents and the maladjusted--amen.’" The ruling came in response to the case of Raphael Golb who according to the Times, “waged a yearslong campaign against academic rivals of his father, Norman Golb, a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar.” First of all Raphael is plainly the kind of kid that every academic dreams of having. Dogs will die for you, but children these days rarely fight their parents’ intellectual turf wars.  However, more importantly, what the New York State’s Court of Appeals has done in one fell swoop is to turn something that was considered problematic into socially acceptable behavior. In so doing experts in the field of matrimony predict that the decision will ring a death knell for the marriage counseling industry which has thrived on the attempt to curb nagging among both married and unmarried couples. In some circles the decision by the court has been compared to the repeal of the Volstead Act, which originally ushered in prohibition. With the repeal of both the Volstead Act and the statute prohibiting annoying behavior a couple can now come home after a hard day’s work, mix a few martinis and spend the evening fighting.


  1. Having had thousands of people viciously prosecuted under this unconstitutional statute, the District Attorney should certainly consider resigning. As for Raphael Golb, he had the courage to condemn the abusive tactics of a certain group of academics in a series of highly entertaining blogs, some of which can still be found online:

    The "annoyance" he caused certainly did not deserve the persecution he endured for five years, replete with phony felony charges cooked up by Vance's assistants. See the documentation of the trial and appeal at:

    and Scott Greenfield's pertinent discussion:

    as well as Jacob Sullum's excellent analysis:

  2. Thanks for all these links. I do find the level of filial devotion to extraordinary and to some extent anomalous. Usually sons try to outdo their fathers at their own game, to topple or at the very least ignore them. Here is one son who was doing just the opposite.


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