Farah: Against Judicial Review. Except When He Isn’t.

Joseph Farah makes the standard conservative argument against judicial review when he really means that he disagrees with a particular ruling, or potential ruling in this case. Of course it’s about same-sex marriage and the horrors of having it legalized by judges instead of legislatures.

The institution that forms the very basis of self-government could soon be redefined, not through the legislative process and contrary to the express will of the people, by two wholly unaccountable powers – judges appointed to lifetime seats and activist cultural forces including the press and entertainment industry.

The institution is marriage, as it has been defined throughout the history of Western civilization, the biblical Judeo-Christian ethic, common law and natural law.

Defined in the Bible as the union of one man and one woman, marriage has been practiced that way by most well-functioning societies in the world whether or not they are Judeo-Christian in orientation. The notable exceptions are Muslim nations, some of which affirm polygamy as an option. For instance, polygamy is virtually unknown in China, where there are no laws prohibiting it, and equally scarce in India where it is illegal.

But the raging debate in the U.S. today is not about polygamy. It’s about redefining marriage to permit people of the same sex to wed legally. Perhaps “debate” is not the right word for what is taking place – because intelligent discussion and dialogue on the topic are hardly encouraged in what we euphemistically call the “mainstream media.” Nor is there much tolerance for a status quo position on marriage in the entertainment industry, which probably exerts an even more powerful influence on the opinions, attitudes and morals of its consumers.

America, however, after years of voting affirmatively to keep the definition of marriage as the union of one man and woman in 31 states, seems poised to accept a redefinition by federal judges, who have thus far shown a willingness – perhaps even eagerness – to assert such authority.

I know, right? Just like in 1967, after two centuries of voting affirmatively for laws banning interracial marriage, the country was “poised to accept a redefinition by federal judges.” Anyone doubt that Farah would have said the exact same thing in that case had he been writing then? And remember, this is the man who cheered loudly when the Supreme Court struck down the key portion of a law that had passed Congress virtually unanimously several times since 1965 (the Voting Rights Act). And demanded that those same unelected judges overturn the Affordable Care Act. His arguments are against judicial review, but he isn’t actually against judicial review, he’s only against it when he doesn’t get his way.

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  • John Pieret

    But his ox that was gored is SACRED! It says so, right in the BIBLE! Eating shellfish … mixed fiber clothing … that’s [mumble] different!

  • Mr Ed

    Darn right! Traditional marriage just like it says in the bible. Its Lot and his daughters not Lot and his sons.

  • cptdoom

    For instance, polygamy is virtually unknown in China, where there are no laws prohibiting it,

    Maybe now, but but historically. Wealthy Chinese men, prior to the Communist revolution, often had multiple wives, although as I understand it only the first wife had legitimate status. Of course, much of my understanding comes from the Joy Luck Club, but that still seems more accurate than believing anything Farah says.

  • kantalope

    Sure there are Lots of weird marriages in the Bible (see what I did there?) But I’m sure it is defined at some point. Maybe in The Book of the Fevered Mind chapter 2 or 3 maybe. I’m sure the Bible scholars can point the right chapter and verse.

  • http://wordsgood4598.wordpress.com/author/wordsgood4598/ wordsgood

    Goody! That means you might soon join us here in Canada in terms of finally having an your entire population being able to marry whoever the hell they want!

    That’s not to say we haven’t got our fair share of religious bigots in positions of power who would love to throw out the rights of women, the LGBT or anyone else non-white and non-Christian. We do, but we’ll never let them turn the clock back.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    intelligent discussion and dialogue on the topic are hardly encouraged in what we euphemistically call the “mainstream media.”

    We wanted to have an intelligent dialogue on same-sex marriage, we really did. But it’s hard when the discussion on one side boils down to a combination of “because God says so” and “but, but, but … it’s icky”.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    From my reading of the Old Testament: Biblically defined marriage was the union of a man and a very close female relative.

    There must have been one kid on every Israelite’s porch playing a banjo like that mutant in the movie “Deliverance”.

  • hunter


    I though it was one man and as many women as he could afford to buy.

  • dingojack

    FoAW begs to differ with Farah. Note the colours of China* and India.



    * even if it were legal in China, there would be a terrible shortage of women because of the ‘one child’ law and Chinese cultural biases against female children, thus making polygamy unlikely (polyandry, perhaps, might be more likely).

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    @ 8,

    Yes, that happens later, but in the early chapters it’s incest all the way down.

  • dingojack

    See here and the section following.

    Still want to talk ‘biblical definitions’, Farah?


  • whheydt

    Re: cptdoom @ #3…

    See also the various Judge Dee mysteries by Robert vanGulik. He was a Dutch diplomat serving in China and wrote in English because that was the market for whodunits. He researched the hsitoricl (and historical fictional) Judge Dee extensively to get it right.

    I would take VanGulik’s word (even when writing fiction) over Farah any day. At least VanGulik *knows* he was writing fiction.