Same Old Response to Judge Jones’ Marriage Ruling

Nine years after Judge Jones issued his ruling in Kitzmiller v Dover, he has now struck down the Pennsylvania law that banned same-sex marriage. The Christian right has reacted with many of the same ignorant criticisms of the new ruling that they did with the old one.

Chris Plante of the National Organization for Marriage describes the ruling as “an end-run around the democratic process.”

Plante, Chris (NOM-RI)”It is a travesty of justice and [it] disenfranchises the people of Pennsylvania twice,” he argues. “Once, because they have been denied multiple times the right to vote on marriage; they have looked and asked for it for years. And now we have one man imposing his desires, his own opinion on an entire state and redefining marriage.”

As always, they argue against a specific ruling by arguing against judicial review itself. Every time a court strikes down any law whatsoever they’re doing an “end-run around the democratic process.” And as always, they ignore the constitution that they claim to love so much in the process. Judicial review was part of the constitution. Courts were given the power to make an “end-run around the democratic process” by the founding fathers by design.

Over the past several months, judges in several states have ruled voter-approved marriage amendments unconstitutional on similar grounds. Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania tells OneNewsNow she’s looking to Congress to take action against judges like John Jones.

“Congress has the ability in the U.S. Constitution to begin impeachment proceedings,” she explains. “When you look at these judges – not only Judge Jones here in Pennsylvania, but other federal judges who are handing down these decisions – their actions are unconstitutional.”

Again, ignoring the intention of the founders themselves, which gave federal judges as much independence as they possibly could for a purpose. Hamilton spelled out both the importance of judicial review and judicial independence in Federalist 78:

The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

They do the same thing with the Constitution that they do with the Bible, declare their adoration of it without actually bothering to read it or understand it.

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  • Johnny Vector

    Yeah, I mean the penalty for end-running is something like 5000 yards and loss of an inning, right?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Ed, they do adore the Constitution. The real Constitution, the one that God wrote and handed down to Washington at Mount Rushmore. However, as we all know, Satan corrupted it so that the Constitution we have today is a fallen and imperfect one.

    Come the End Days, Jesus will return and restore the True Constitution, which won’t need judges because Jesus will be the True and Only Judge. In the mean time, the Faithful just have to do the best they can in this imperfect world and use their Silent Majority to democratically enforce God’s Law despite the black-robed [1] tyrants who are working to thwart God’s Will at every turn.

    [1] They don’t even try to hide their black affiliation with Satan.

  • John Pieret

    Congress has the ability in the U.S. Constitution to begin impeachment proceedings

    Yes, but only for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” If simply disagreeing with a judge’s ruling is a high crime or misdemeanor, then we get to remove Scalia and Thomas too … right? Because the majority of Americans disagree with the outcome in Citizens United, they have committed a “high crime and misdemeanor”?

  • John Pieret

    an end-run around the democratic process

    Well, you see, the Founders were wise enough to see that the will of the majority (which made Socrates drink hemlock) was not the true definition of “democracy.” “Democracy” is a state where the will of the majority determines what happens, EXCEPT when it comes to the rights of any one person … or any one minority … to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Then we have to have (supposedly) strict laws to prevent the “tyranny of the majority” (such as making someone drink hemlock) and a way to enforce those laws. The Founders dearly wished it to be an independent judiciary. While it has not always worked out as planned (Jackson and the Trail of Tears, anyone?) It has functioned as well, if not better, than in most places and for more people. than elsewhere. The people who would dismantle the system do so only because they hate our form of democracy and wish to impose their own tyranny on others.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Democracy or mob / majority rule?

    These things are not identical despite often being conflated as such.

  • Nihilismus


    Congress has the ability in the U.S. Constitution to begin impeachment proceedings


    Again, ignoring the intention of the founders themselves, which gave federal judges as much independence as they possibly could for a purpose. Hamilton spelled out both the importance of judicial review and judicial independence in Federalist 78

    Ah, but the wingnut sort of has a point, if we look to Federalist 81:

    Particular misconstructions and contraventions of the will of the legislature may now and then happen; but they can never be so extensive as to amount to an inconvenience, or in any sensible degree to affect the order of the political system. This may be inferred with certainty, from the general nature of the judicial power, from the objects to which it relates, from the manner in which it is exercised, from its comparative weakness, and from its total incapacity to support its usurpations by force. And the inference is greatly fortified by the consideration of the important constitutional check which the power of instituting impeachments in one part of the legislative body, and of determining upon them in the other, would give to that body upon the members of the judicial department. This is alone a complete security. There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body intrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption, by degrading them from their stations.

    That is, though Hamilton thought the judiciary should be independent, he tried to ease the concerns of the Anti-Federalists by reminding them that judges could be impeached by the legislature (specifically, by the majority of the House instituting impeachment proceedings and two-thirds of the Senate convicting).

    So it valid to argue for impeachment if you think a judge is deliberately ignoring the Constitution (not just the legislature). But I don’t think there’s evidence here of deliberate misconstructions, let alone extensive misconstructions. And the manner in which the judicial power is exercised (rulings on which laws prevail in a given controversy between two parties with standing), and the total incapacity to support usurpations by force (without the executive branch), mean that a judge cannot be a black-robed tyrant that “disenfranchises the people”, that causes them to be “denied multiple times the right to vote on marriage”, or that “impos[es] his desires, his own opinion on an entire state”.

    Rather, a judge can only be someone who says “based on the facts of this case, and my opinion on which of conflicting laws should prevail, I believe this person (should not be punished/should receive these benefits)”. The judge cannot prevent the executive branch from nevertheless throwing someone in jail who was not convicted by the judge (read: actual tyranny). The judge cannot force the executive branch to treat people equally if the judge thinks that’s how they should be treated, or force the legislative branch to release monetary benefits to people equally. In the end, the judge only has his independent opinion, which is hopefully respected because it can be seen to be independent.

    If the people trust an independent judiciary enough, then it gives validity to legislative and executive actions when the courts agree, and makes people think twice about those actions when the courts say otherwise. The fact that some people actually think that courts are “overruling” such actions, rather than simply not giving their assent to those actions, and that there is nothing that can be done except impeachment, means that, for the most part, the American public actually does respect and trust an independent judiciary. They rightfully would view a government as tyrannical that repeatedly ignores the opinions of independent judges.

  • Ichthyic

    I keep wanting to print out a hundred million copies of Mill’s “Essay on Liberty” and plaster it on the doors of the 30% of Americans who are so badly suffering from Dunning Kruger syndrome.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    “Once, because they have been denied multiple times the right to vote on marriage;”

    This phrase is very telling. I wonder if they think all rights should be voted on?

    I wonder what these dominionists would think if the people of, say, Dearborn, decided to make it an officially Islamic city? Would they be ok if it was passed democratically?