Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Bourne Supremacy: How courts are disenfranchising conservative voters on social issues
Politics is a messy business. Thankfully, we have the federal courts to deliver us from it.
On Feb. 12, a federal judge struck down a part of Kentucky's Marriage Amendment and in the process partially nullified the votes of 1,222,125 Kentuckians who voted in 2004 in favor of the traditional view of marriage—more than voted for and against any previous amendment on a Kentucky ballot.
In the ruling, Bourne v. Beshear, Justice John Heyburn struck down the part of Kentucky's marriage law that allows Kentucky to determine its own marriage policy by not having to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The decision is one of an increasing number of court cases that nullify democratically enacted laws and referenda—or, as in this case, constitutional amendments— that had been placed on the ballot and ratified by voters.
The Bourne case, like similar cases which are systematically invalidating marriage laws in other states, forcibly takes marriage policy out of the hands of voters and their elected representatives and places it in the hands of unelected federal judges whose political opinions differ starkly from those of the general public.
In fact, on almost every social issue, from marriage to school prayer to abortion, policy is now being made in the least democratic of our branches of government: the federal courts.