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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

One Tall Voice: Courting tyranny

Published: September 26, 2008
Section: Opinions

I was going to write my article this week on the economic and rational reasons against gay marriage. After some thoughtful conversations with David Azer ’11, I found this position to be logically indefensible. But there is something that has ticked me off for quite a while, something in the political arena that I would like to open for debate. Some of the most controversial issues of our time have been decided not by the legislative branch of our government, but by unelected judges. Most of this activity has favored Liberals and so the whining howl of that class of people has remained silent. Still, these acts of judicial lawmaking are not only unfair, but also unconstitutional. The Roe v. Wade decision has done much harm to our valued liberties by taking away power from the rightfully elected representatives of the people. In addition, the actions of certain state judges in regard to gay marriage has violated the liberties of many. Whether or not you agree with the political sentiment advanced by these happenings is irrelevant. I still hope that you may recognize that the means by which they were enacted were wrong.

Lets start off with abortion. I tend to think of myself as anti-abortion (I hate the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice”) but I’d like to divorce this from the discussion. I only want to convey my beliefs on how our government’s stance on abortion was executed. First, the standing legal precedent was not decided by the Congress, but was rather determined by six unelected officials who sit on the Supreme Court. I have no right to petition these individuals, to seek redress or even vote on them. Like six “popes” these individuals have taken the decision out of the hands of legislators and decided it among themselves. Furthermore, Roe v. Wade is poorly argued. It depends on the notion of a “right to privacy” that is not even remotely stated in the Constitution. It is a poor band-aid that has violated people’s right to choose legislators to determine legal policy. Taking the issue out of the hands of the people and wrongfully violating the Constitution, this decision was unjust. The Supreme Court has no right to legislate from the bench and to do so only undermines our American notion of democracy.

Gay marriage is another issue where the courts have taken away the democratic rights of ordinary Americans. Judges in certain states have decided, independent of legislative action, that gay marriage should be legal. This, in essence, screws all the other 49 states in the union. Due to the Full Faith and Confidence clause of the Constitution, all states must honor the licenses and contracts of each state. Alabama, therefore, must recognize a marriage license made in Massachusetts even though none of their Congressmen ever voted on the issue. Why must the democratic process be bypassed? Why must liberals celebrate the craven path of judicial activism rather than extolling the virtue of democracy? Due to the national ramifications involved with gay marriage, this must be played out in the Congress. Since this issue clearly affects all states, the nation legislature is the correct avenue to decide upon this issue. Due to the actions of “popes” on a Massachusetts bench, however, the democratic process has been hijacked.

It doesn’t matter if you agree that gay marriage should be legal or that abortion should be allowed. I think that everyone can agree that it is good and fair to let the democratically elected officials decide matters that mean the most to us. Judicially active judges have taken away our ability to decide the issue of abortion with a poorly argued and activist case. In addition, a few judges at the state level have violated the rights of the majority to elect and petition their government. I don’t trust activist judges; I hate how they are corrupting the democratic system. And seriously, what’s with the garb that these judges wear anyways? Who knows what they’re doing underneath those robes!