As you know, The California Supreme Court dropped a gay atomic bomb on Thursday when they overturned the ban on same-sex marriages in that state. But that is not what this post is about, no matter how much I enjoy seeing Portia Di Rossi kiss a girl even if it is just Ellen DeGeneres.
I've caught some of the coverage on the cable news channels and particularly on talk radio and have had just about an assful over two things I keep hearing said over and over again.
Thing 1. "We've got to stop these activist judges."
Okay, someone help me here. President Bush was the first person I ever heard use this term and it has caught on like Free Hot Wings ever since. If a judge or court makes a ruling one disagrees with, then they are characterized as "activist judges." But if one agrees with the ruling then the judge or court was "accurately interpreting the law." Because.....everyone who makes those statements is also a constitutional scholar so they would know?
That doesn't give the judicial branch, generally the most learned of any part of our government, much credit, does it? In this particular ruling, for instance, the California Supreme Court, where six of the seven were justices were Republican appointees, voted 4-3 to overturn the earlier Appeals court ruling.
You can read the opinions of all seven and they all justify their individual conclusions based on their interpretations of the Constitution, not based on their personal views on this one issue. They used the same criteria earlier courts used to make discrimination against citizens based on gender and race illegal in this country. I am not saying there aren't any bad judges or judges who sometimes make legal mistakes but that is why we have a higher court in place to have a way to settle any questions. This system worked exactly the way it was designed, regardless of the outcome.
Thing 2: "This ruling lets four wackos hijack the will of the people."
First of all, we've done pretty well in this country with a "majority rules" form of government for a very long time. 51-49 still makes a law in the Senate, and 500,000 to 499,999 still gets you elected as Mayor of any number of good-sized cities in this country. 4-3 means 4 wins.
Secondly, and this one irks me the mostest. It is not the job of the California Supreme Court or any other judge to rule according to the will of the people. No, their job is to rule according to the law. The people can legislate their will as much as they want as long as their wishes do not violate the Constitution. There are lots of laws that I disagree with and many rulings that make me furious. But that doesn't mean judges should care what I think. That is not their job.
Thing 3 (Bonus Thing): This really isn't a post about gay marriage. It is a post about fifth grade civics. Executive Branch, Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.