Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In response to an article by Maggie Gallagher re: Constitutional challenge to California's Prop 8:

But Maggie, there are Constitutional limits on what a majority of people can vote to do to a minority of people. You set up this entire argument based on the idea that the will of the majority is being thwarted and that the court in question in overstepping its Constitutional authority. But this line of thinking disregards the role the courts have in determining whether laws (and state constitutions and their amendments) are Constitutional, whether they infringe on the rights of the minority. In this case, they are determining whether the amendment in question violates any part of the Constitution.

By my read, a legit case can be made that it does violate the 14th amendment, insofar as the government involves itself at all in the doling out of favors and benefits based on marital status. By being involved in the doling out of said status and precluding a certain individual from said status thusly, it is discriminating. To me, this doesn't seem such a far reach for judicial review (and I am a strict constructionist, "original intent" advocate who deplores the judicial activism of the far left). If something is as plainly unconstitutional as Prop 8, it cannot be allowed to continue. And more generally, if any law infringes on the rights of a minority of people, the mere existence of the (even possibly overwhelming) majority voting for it does not make it Constitutional.

While there is a "core Constitutional right to vote for" any and every thing under the sun, that does not mean that whatever people vote for must stand as law, regardless of its own (un-)Constitutionality.