Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Mitt Romney Condemns Judicial Terrorism
In a report published by Newsmax.com on June 28th, 2006, Massachusetts' Republican Governor and presumptive Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (pictured at left, courtesy of the Mitt Romney Blog), reiterating his support for a ballot measure banning gay marriage, said it's the job of voters - not the courts or lawmakers - to define what constitutes a civil right. "Who's going to tell us what a civil right is and what's not? Well, the people will," Romney said in calling on lawmakers to allow a vote on a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. The vote is scheduled for July 12.
Supporters have long cast same-sex marriage as a civil right that should not be subject to a popular vote, likening it to the desegregation battles of the 1950s and 1960s, where the courts played a central role in expanding rights for blacks.
Yet Governor Romney, during a news conference attended by Cardinal Sean O'Malley and other religious and civil leaders, said that in a democracy, nothing should be off limits to voters, even the definition of civil rights. "We have a Constitution. We can look in there and say, 'Does it say here you can vote on matters unless someone can define them as civil rights?' No," said the Republican governor, a graduate of Harvard Law School who is mulling a presidential run in 2008. "It says you vote on all matters in this country and we'll decide what is a civil right and what's not. So, fundamentally, we come back to the principle that the people speak."
State Democratic Rep. Byron Rushing (pictured at left), a supporter of gay marriage, said the civil rights of minority groups should not be subject to the whims of the majority. "He's absolutely wrong when he says the definition of civil rights is a definition that is made by all the people," Rushing said. "It is not reasonable to ask all the people to decide what a civil rights issue is. If it was left up to popular referenda in the 1950s and 1960s, we would not have had any of the civil rights laws passed."
However, in a call to The Associated Press after the news conference, Romney appeared to backtrack slightly. "I'm not saying that civil rights should be up to a popular vote," Romney said, although he added, "The Constitution does not prohibit the people from making any decision. The Constitution allows for the people to overrule the judiciary, the executive or the legislative" branches."
Analysis: It's about time a prominent politician took a firm stand against judicial imperialism and pre-eminence. Governor Romney understands that the judicial branch is intended to be one of three co-equal branches of government, and was never intended to be the pre-eminent branch. The judiciary was also never intended to have the power to direct appropriations. If he becomes President, we can expect him to nominate strict constructionists to Federal benches.
Byron Rushing's contemptuous attitude towards the people is so typical of liberals (and a few neo-cons as well). He professes allegiance to "democracy", but preaches meritocracy and aristocracy. Liberals do not trust the people to decide for themselves. Even if "rights" are supposed to be off-limits to a democratic vote, if the remedies cost taxpayer dollars, then they must be subjected to the popular will, based on the principle of "no taxation without representation".
And Alaska is no stranger to judicial terrorism, either. Here are three prominent examples (originally discussed in a post entitled "Another Example of Judicial Terrorism"):
1). In November 1997, the Alaska Supreme Court enjoined the Valley Hospital Association (VHA) from prohibiting elective abortions at the privately-owned Valley Hospital. In this case, "elective" means abortions for reasons other than life, health, rape, or incest.
2). In February 1998, Superior Court Judge Sen Tan ruled that parents do not have the right to give or deny consent for their underage daughters to have abortions. Subsequent legislation passed to close that gap was challenged, and in October 2003, Judge Tan declared the legislation unconstitutional.
3). In October 2005, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state of Alaska must pay spousal benefits to domestic same-sex partners of all state employees, under the auspices of the "equal protection clause". This was a clear-cut attempt to backdoor their way around the amendment to the Alaska Constitution voted affirmatively by two-thirds of the voters in 1998, defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman.
By taking a stand against judicial terrorism, Mitt Romney has tentatively placed himself on my short list of acceptable Republican Presidential candidates in 2008, joining Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul. I could live with a Tancredo-Romney ticket. Romney is the son of former Michigan Republican Governor George Romney, whose bid for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968 fizzled after he admitted he was misled about Vietnam. Romney is also an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and some have speculated he might have some difficulty in the South among Evangelical voters who've been misled into believing that Mormonism is a "cult". However, it should be pointed out that the most prominent anti-Mormons are ex-Mormons who were excommunicated from the Church for cause, so their advocacy can be assumed to be tainted by personal bias.
Besides, another Massachusetts Presidential candidate was questioned about his Catholic faith in 1960, and he didn't do too badly. He's better know by the initials "JFK".
Tags: politics , Mormons , brrreeeport , homosexuality , justice