Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 3, 2009

WHAT THE 'JUDICIAL ACTIVISTS' HAVE IN COMMON.... In recent years, four state Supreme Courts have ruled in support of same sex-marriage.

In Massachusetts, the ruling was written by Justice Margaret Marshall.

In California, the ruling was written by Justice Ronald George.

In Connecticut, the ruling was written by Justice Richard Palmer.

And in Iowa, the ruling was written by Justice Mark Cady.

And what do all four have in common? Each was appointed to their respective state Supreme Court by a Republican governor.

Given this, I suspect many far-right activists will interpret this as evidence that the Republican Party isn't nearly right-wing enough. GOP governors must find more rigid ideologues for state judiciaries!

The fact that "equal protection" doesn't mean what they think it means, and that even GOP-appointed judges can't rationalize the legal position of anti-gay activists, continues to elude them.

In the not-too-distant future, Americans are going to look back at this era and wonder why on earth there was even a debate about allowing consenting adults to get married. It no doubt makes conservatives uncomfortable, but the right, historically, has consistently been on the wrong side of social justice issues of the day -- equality for African Americans, equality for women, equality regardless of religious belief -- and in every instance, their hostility for basic fairness looks absurd in hindsight.

The fight for marriage equality will, I suspect, be no different.

Steve Benen 4:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

Add to that: Earl Warren was appointed by Eisenhower, + Warren Burger by Richard Nixon.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on April 3, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I lay the blame clearly at the feet of the legislators in these states. What we have is stealth liberal judges who masqueraded as moderates to get appointed. The legislators failed to do due diligence.

Posted by: Al on April 3, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Judicial activism according to Republicans means the judges don't decide cases how Republican politicians think they should.

Posted by: ET on April 3, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be easier to conclude that Republican appointees are feeding the wedge issue wars?

Posted by: Danp on April 3, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP - the party of angry, white, hetero, Christian men. Big Tent.

Posted by: whichwitch on April 3, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

You are more optimistic than I, overall. I wonder how distant the "not-too-distant" future is, not simply with this issue, but with virtually everything the 'conservative movement' feels it has to oppose. I had hoped that the extraordinary vituperation of politics in the Bush years might be tempered with the 2008 elections, but it hasn't happened.

Posted by: Coop on April 3, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Angry, white, hetero, Christian men always seem to pitch tents when they are around each other. Add a few wet t-shirts and some pudding and you've got yourself a real party!

Posted by: Breezeblock on April 3, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

>"but the right, historically, has consistently been on the wrong side of social justice issues "

Classic RWA personality type in action... also responsible for most war, torture, ethnic cleansings, genocide... (etc)

Sad but true.

Posted by: Buford on April 3, 2009 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

A new theme I am hearing more and more from right wing acquaintances is that "America is a Republic and not a democracy." For the most part this is little more than a high-toned justification using the American sacred word "republic" to de-legitimize the results of the past two popular elections in which The People (aka "the angry mob") turned decisively against the Conservative Movement. Yet, what is truely ironic about all of this -- given the constant harping of conservatives against "judicial tyranny" and the "black-robed usurpers" of the Supreme Court whose ruling are an insult to the "will of the people" -- is that what a Republic really means is a democracy under a constitution, under the rule of law, and subject to the courts and its judges.

Posted by: Ted Frier on April 3, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Breeze...don't forget them thar arsenal of high powered weapons - it's a must have for any good dadgum time..

Posted by: whichwitch on April 3, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we can convince Steve to post a list of ALL the issues that Republicans (+former party incarnations) and conservatives have been proven to be on the WRONG side of history. Not to mention the issues they won that turned out to be miserable failures: prohibition.

Posted by: bruno on April 3, 2009 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Could it be that the GOP noisemakers that voted on these judges knew what they were doing? Appoint a sane judge to speak conservatively but vote moderately, then blow your horn to lead the angry masses when they make a moderate ruling. Cynical, but effective. The GOP noisemaker keeps the loyalty of the angry mob without having to clean up after poor judicial decisions.

The GOP noisemakers may actually be more upset with ultra-conservative judges that force substative votes on social issues.

Posted by: danimal on April 3, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind that all four of those Republicans were moderates by today's GOP standards.

Posted by: mfw13 on April 3, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody clue in Michelle Bachman and I'm sure by next week she'll be sponsoring a bill to make any prospective judge sign an oath never to use his own judgment.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on April 3, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Typically when a ruling like this is handed down, the opponents -- see, e.g., Rep. Steve King (R.-Wack-job) -- state their objections in the context of "Judges shouldn't be making laws." Yeah, well maybe members of the judicial branch shouldn't be deciding presidential elections, either.

Posted by: navamske on April 3, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

And as I've said before, if you're against gay marriage, then don't have one.

Posted by: navamske on April 3, 2009 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

the right, historically, has consistently been on the wrong side of social justice issues of the day -- equality for African Americans, equality for women, equality regardless of religious belief -- and in every instance, their hostility for basic fairness looks absurd in hindsight.


It's equality and fairness they're against.

Studies have shown concepts of justice and fairness are innate across species, so why do we not say conservatives have some kind of medical problem?

Posted by: alan on April 3, 2009 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

In fairness to those republican appointed judges, they're guilt of the same thing you and other liberal journalist (like a. serwer) are guilty of. Reading. It's fundamental.

Posted by: red on April 3, 2009 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

The bigoted right's argument with this "activist judges" crap is the anticonstitutional view that the minority's civil rights must be at the mercy of the majority. Since we've moved into the majority favoring either civil unions or same-sex marriage, it'll be interesting to see if their rationale changes as that majority grows and grows and grows...

Posted by: shortstop on April 3, 2009 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Seeing as corporate personhood as well as GWB et cetera have been fisted upon us using "equal protection," and that somehow the 14th Amendment still countenances blatant disenfranchisement; the least it can do is provide a greater degree of fairness in marriage.

Posted by: jhm on April 4, 2009 at 7:25 AM | PERMALINK

From Al:

I lay the blame clearly at the feet of the legislators in these states. What we have is stealth liberal judges who masqueraded as moderates to get appointed. The legislators failed to do due diligence.

Does that mean that you believe that the ENTIRE Iowa supreme court is made up of stealth liberal, pro-gay marriage judges? Seriously? Or perhaps are you really worried that some conservative judges have been swayed by actual legal arguments and that others can be too.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 4, 2009 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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