Another Wingnut Doesn’t Get Judicial Review Concept

Add Gary Marx, executive director of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, to the long list of right wingers who think they support the constitution but clearly don’t understand it. Like the rest of them, he pretends that judicial review that overturns laws is the end of democracy — as long as he supports the law that was overturned.

No component of American liberty or democracy is inherently safe if, as it did earlier this summer, the highest court in our land is permitted to trump Constitutional principles and the political will of the American people with a progressive political and social agenda rooted in neither.

Consider first the broad political support that brought DOMA to law and then sustained it as law these past 17 years. Too seldom mentioned in the post-ruling analysis, DOMA was a modest, uncontroversial piece of legislation that merely codified multiple existing federal laws defining (for the purpose of federal spousal benefits) marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The legislation passed both Houses of Congress with broad, bipartisan support, was signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton and has been largely politically uncontested since. Importantly, DOMA solidified a broadly held view of the American people, held since our nation’s founding and still today, that marriage is a critical societal institution that cannot be harmfully redefined to suit the agenda of special interest political causes.

Oh, of course. So then, you’re also going to protest the ruling from just two days earlier that struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, which passed the Senate unanimously and has been reauthorized by nearly unanimous votes in both houses of Congress multiple times over nearly 50 years. Right? Oh, you’re not? So then all this stuff about democratic consensus is just special pleading to be applied only when you support the law that was overturned? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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  • Reginald Selkirk
  • cafeeineaddicted

    “DOMA was a modest, uncontroversial piece of legislation ”

    Really? Modest? Uncontroversial? REALLY?

  • Actually, judicial review does NOT overturn laws: it reconciles conflicts between the Supreme Law of the Land and inferior statutory laws.

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. – Article VI, Clause 2, United States Constitution.

    In other words, if there is a conflict between what the US Constitution says and what is found in any other constitution, charter, articles of incorporation, statute or legal code, then the Constitution takes precedence. This does not “overturn” a law: witness the fact that the Alabama Constitution still mandates racially segregated schools, and several states still have laws criminalizing “sodomy.” Judicial review will, however, render such laws inoperative.

  • @2:

    “Really? Modest? Uncontroversial? REALLY?”

    Absolutely. It never wore tight or revealing clothing, and at parties and other social functions, it never discussed politics or religion.

  • Chiroptera

    C’mon, Ed! The Fouding Fathers were divinely inspired super geniuses. In fact, they were so smart, they couldn’t have possibley disagreed with me on anything!

  • Ed;

    It will be news when you find a ReiKKKwin KKKristianst dicKKKhead that DOES understand the concept.

  • How hard do you think it would be for a Google search to uncover an instance of Marx praying that the Supreme Court would overturn the ACA?

  • Yeah, damn SCOTUS for subverting the Constitution by exercising their powers as outlined explicitly in the Constitution! Why, that’s unconstitutional!

  • abb3w

    Saying “largely politically uncontested since” rather ignores how support for gay marriage has been building steadily among the nation’s polis since that passage. It’s like saying a baseball team’s championship has been “uncontested” until they start losing games.

  • shallit

    Was it Scalia who made the argument that the fact that the Voting Rights Act passed nearly unanimously was evidence that, in fact, something was really suspicious about its passage?

  • some bastard on the net

    …DOMA was a modest, uncontroversial piece of legislation…

    Wow, you’re funny!