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Fun With "Moral Turpitude"

"Turpitude" has always been one of my favorite things. Er, I mean words. Just say it a time or two, silently if speaking it aloud would cause unwanted curiosity from bystanders, and in any case using what mothers and teachers call your "indoors voice."

TURP. That has a satisfying, frog-like feel right there, doesn't it? Then TURP-u-TOOOOd. It's the kind of thing you almost want to see more of, just for the joy of getting to say "MORAL TURRRP-A-TUDE!!" several more times.

Well congratulations, because your chance has arrived. You get to say this repeatedly today, because it's the subject of a court case, a voting rights case in fact. In Alabama wouldn't you know, long a hotbed of turpitudity.

And other things we won't go into now. (Hey, I'm across the line into Tennessee. We always talk about neighboring states' residents that way don't we? I've heard Pennsylvanians discuss New Jersey drivers, and vice versa, often enough to know that.)

Back to the Swamp of Turpitude. It seems that this offense is sufficient, under Alabama voting, law, to render perpetrators thereof ineligible to vote. Ever again, apparently. From the AL news roundup:

A Jefferson County judge ordered Wednesday the state of Alabama to allow ex-felons to vote, saying a state law that denies voting rights to felons convicted of crimes of moral turpitude does not identify which crimes fit that definition.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance Jr. stayed portions of his order until it could be cleared by the U.S. Justice Department. The federal Voting Rights Act requires that changes in voting law in Alabama be cleared through the Justice Department.

Vance ordered voter registrars in Alabama counties to register ex-felons until "the Alabama Legislature passes, and the governor signs into law, legislation specifically identifying which felonies involve moral turpitude."

I think we should help out the Alabama legislature in this noble cause. I hereby declare it Moral Turpitude Day at Corrente, and think we should discuss all offenses against the public good and order which could, and of right should, be deemed suitable for specificity as "Moral Turpitude Crimes" of which those convicted should be stripped of the sovereign franchise. Apparently permanently; I see no mention of any expiration date in this story so evidently it is for life.

(Those in Alabama should read the story, or anyone who suspects that their state has a similar policy. It seems that there is a decade-old law on the books setting up a board to which ex-felons can apply to get their rights restored. The problem arose when a guy with a drunk-driving rap went to register, was refused on grounds of Turpishness; went to the restoration board to get straight and was turned down there too because DUI was not a Moral Turpitude offense. Despite this ruling the registrat still would not register him. You can see the problem here.)

So should DUI be a Moral Turpitude offense? (I have no idea if this was aggravated by a DWB type situation.) Or should it be restricted to the sort of activity that first leaps to your mind when you hear the words "moral turpitude"--you know, that SEX stuff. We know what you're like, you pigs. Sex, sex, sex all the time.

Is it getting warm in here or is it just me?

So give us your thoughts on the matter. Release your inner Turp. Not to be confused with "Terps" which I think is the nickname of some college sports program. Unless you think that Terps are turps, but be prepared to justify your reasoning beyond "they suck." That should be reserved for offenses like, Conspiring to Overthrow the Constitution and Loot the Treasury. People who do that suck. Let's be serious here.

You may begin.

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