As a person who opposes Gay Marriage and has publicly called it simply narcissism I am of course displeased with the Supreme Court’s rulings today but even worse that the result of the final Prop 8 case is the overturning of that referendum based on standing.
Let’s wind back the tape. In California gay marriage was imposed by fiat. Dissenting citizens, opposed by the entrenched Democrat Machine at every turn, went through the complicated expensive and time-consuming process to mount a referendum to reverse them and against all odds, won.
Opponents immediately went to court where a sympathetic judge ruled against the referendum. The State’s Democrat machine refused to defend a law passed over their wishes on appeal so the people took on the appeal themselves.
Now the Supreme Court has decided they don’t have the right to do so.
In a one party state the implications are staggering!
If a state government, overwhelmingly controlled by a single party wants to push unpopular laws for the benefit of any group the people’s ability to stop them by referendum is stymied.
Any sort of referendum is very hard. It requires a vast amount of people willing to invest millions of dollars and months or maybe even years of time while being willing to stand up to opponents who will vilify you. In a one party state it’s even harder since the people who oppose you control all levers of government, making it easy to punish your friends and reward your foes.
Why go through all that time and effort and expense when even if you win, all the party machine needs is a single sympathetic lower court judge to rule in their and violà you’re foiled without standing to appeal.
Fans of Gay Marriage might be cheering today, but not as loud as fans of one party autocratic government.
Update: Legal Insurrection nails it
The death of the ballot initiative movement as Court gives de facto veto power to government officials who want to lose a case.
Update 2: Justice Kennedy
There is much irony in the Court’s approach to justiciability in this case. A prime purpose of justiciability is to ensure vigorous advocacy, yet the Court insists upon litigation conducted by state officials whose preference ist o lose the case….
In the end, what the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around. Freedom resides first in the people without need of a grant from government.