02.07.12

Not activist judges

Posted in at 16:36 by RjZ

Disappointed in a federal appeals court ruling against California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage The Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian legal foundation said:

“No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people.”

Wrong. That is exactly what appeals courts and especially the supreme court are supposed to do. The democratic process of the Alliance Defense Fund goes by another name: mob rule. Fortunately the democratic process we have here in the United States protects minorities, ensuring that they receive equal protection even when the legislative process has denied them those rights.

The populace can vote to restrict the rights of citizens as they have done many times in the past. Japanese can be interned in prison camps, suspected communists can be prosecuted and smeared, and African American citizens can even be denied a space on a park bench. All of these things can happen through a part of the democratic process. Fortunately, the courts can step in to undo those harms. They go against the prevailing view of the majority and, in doing so, protect the minority who, too, are full citizens in our society and deserve all the same rights and privileges. And when judges “undercut the democratic process” they are actually performing the final and critical step in the democratic process. They are protecting our constitutional rights even if the mob thinks (usually only in retrospect) it was right to do so.

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