Why populism needs to go ….

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090526/us_time/08599190100600

 

I know a few very good people from California.  Genuinely nice, warm, caring, intelligent people.  It makes me wonder how their state gets into messes like this (I mean, in Illinois, we point to the corrupt bums that the parties choose to run the state (with occasional voter approval) and blame them).

The California Supreme Court just upheld their state’s ban on homosexual marriage.

OK …. I’m not really political, and the whole marriage thing isn’t my cup of tea anyhow.

What is however frightening and disturbing is the reason given ….

California has the ballot initiative.  That is any bright (and often far from bright) idea that gets enough support can go before the voters of the state and be voted into law.  It is perhaps as close a pure form of democracy as exists in our republic.  Back to the case at hand:

Chief Justice Ronald George, who has publicly stated that he is in favor of granting marriage rights to homosexuals, sided with the 6-1 decision in upholding the ban (which, I need to remind you, was implemented in a state wide ballot initiative this past Autumn).  I will quote from the article a bit:

In a sense, petitioners’ and the Attorney General‘s complaint is that it is just too easy to amend the California Constitution through the initiative process,” wrote George for the 6-1 majority. “But it is not a proper function of this court to curtail that process; we are constitutionally bound to uphold it.” Translation: Until Californians themselves change their system for amending the constitution, it will be the people – not the courts – who have final say on even the most fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution

That is a bit frightening.  Oddly enough, while I am firmly against big government and most forms of judicial activism, the one thing I never want to hear is a judge saying that justice is in the hands of a mob.  That seems to me one of the reasons a long time ago we got into the business of employing judges and lawyers in the first place.  Certainly, the federal constitution is not in danger here, but I am concerned about how law and justice seem to be back in the hands of the farmer with the pitchfork and the businessman with the torch … and that this is based on a wing and a prayer that they won’t start a witch hunt on a whim come election time.

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