Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The courts and the legislature: I disagree with the 11/14 editorial in the Boston Globe entitled "Gay marriage and legislative politics." While the examples Scot Lehigh gives such as abortion rights, healthcare and term limits could have and perhaps should have been allowed a vote by the legislature (although, I am not sure about abortion because the Federal Court has spoken) a legislative vote on gay marriage is not the same thing.

Term limits and even healthcare are not civil rights. They can and, perhaps, should be subject to popular debate. Marriage is a civil right. Our judiciary and third branch of government has spoken and ensured that a group of people have those rights no matter what anyone else thinks. That is our system of checks and balances. A court decision should not be up for a vote. The civil right aspect of marriage should, in my opinion, make it prohibitive of anyone to exclude and deprive a particular group of citizens that which is accorded to the rest of the populous. Moreover, the Constitution should be adding civil rights to it and not taking them away.

Even if a court ... a high court... makes a decision, for example, in Plessy v. Fergusson which erroneously, in my opinion, found separate to be in fact equal, that decision can be and was ultimately reversed. It was done through the court itself, albeit one hundred years later but nonetheless the court reversed itself. I am trying to be consistent when I say if the court decided against it then at some future date when the culture has progressed out of the Middle Ages that court might reverse THAT decision.

Brown v. the Board of Ed of Topeka did just that. Plessy I believe was reflective of that society and that culture at THAT time in our history. The Brown decision, one hundred years later, was met with anger and threats of impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren and others in the Warren court. The decision though stood despite great opposition of the populous particularly in the south but even elsewhere.

Once a decision is reached by the court it should be kept. If a petitioner desires that case to be reviewed, cases can still be brought before the court and the court ultimately may reverse itself. It did so in Bowers v. Harwick which held homosexuality was not protected under privacy rights but in Lawrence v. Texas nearly ten years later overturned that decision.

I do not like people putting those court decisions they do not agree with up for a vote simply because they do not like what the court said. If that happens why the have a court in the first place? The federal decision of 1803 Marbury v. Madison, in my opinion, established the right of judicial review. The founders established the courts as the third branch of our government for a reason. They did not often trust the electorate always to do the right and fair thing. I agree with our founders.

Our system, in my opinion, has been corrupted by religious belief. Our founders were men of the Enlightenment and possessed a questioning mind with regard to religion. Many were NOT Christians, some were deists and some as evidenced in certain of Jefferson's writings and Hamilton's Federalist Papers were downright skeptics and maybe, dare I say, atheists.

We have as a country, I believe, sold our soul to the devils of religious interposition. I hope some day this dark veil of the superstition of belief will be lifted and nullified by science and fact!

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