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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Legislating from the bench hurts republic
Imagine for a moment the people of California having battled for and then winning overwhelming support for homosexual marriage over the past decade. This includes successful ballot initiatives and a change to their state constitution, which ultimately resulted in their attorney general and governor not enforcing the new law and continuing a prohibition of same-sex marriages. Envision this leading to challenges in court, where ultimately a conservative circuit court judge imposed his own religious beliefs, calling the successful ballot initiative null and void.
Imagine further this stalemate leading to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Christian, Orthodox Jew and Muslim stakeholders, where the Supreme Court's decision resulted in a conservative justice writing a majority decision sending it back to the circuit court's latest ruling, with no further appeal options. In the majority opinion, the justice explains the only reason the citizens of California, an overwhelming majority of 535 U.S. senators and congressmen and a president proposed and signed such laws in the first place, was because of their bigotry toward people of faith who believe marriage to be between one man and one woman, as their ancestors have believed for thousands of years. Imagine the outcry of voters being disenfranchised. Imagine the accusations of overreach by a majority of jurists legislating from the bench.
This hypothetical is the exact inverse of the events leading up to and result of the Supreme Court's decisions concerning homosexual marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act last week. So why the need to contemplate the tables being reversed? While there are plenty of people applauding these decisions, as well as lamenting them, it is important to realize what actually just happened to our Constitution and the Framers' construct of three co-equal branches of government in the process. Someone may be thrilled with the outcome of this particular decision, but what about an outcome dealing with property rights, the right to protect yourself or even what may lie ahead with your health care, if that decision is not in your favor?
What is important to understand and remember going into this Fourth of July week is that the federal government would never have existed if the states had not given birth to it by ratifying the U.S. Constitution. The more we resort to decisions like Obamacare or DOMA being decided by parliamentary tricks and five people in black robes, the further we remove ourselves from a constitutional republic and the liberty that comes with it.
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