Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Court Validates Traditional Marriage

California's highest court has affirmed Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage that was approved by Golden State voters in a November 4, 2008 statewide referendum:
The California Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, but it also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed...
The 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George rejected an argument by gay rights activists that the ban revised the California Constitution's equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature's approval.
The court said the Californians have a right, through the ballot box, to change their constitution.
Notwithstanding the fact that in May 2008 the same court found that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the privacy, due process, and equal protection provisions of California's founding document, the majority opinion reasoned that "Because the California Constitution explicitly recognizes the right of the people to amend their state Constitution through the initiative process, the people, in exercising that authority, have not in any way impermissibly usurped a power allocated by the Constitution exclusively to the judiciary or some other entity or branch of government."

Carlos Moreno, the lone dissenting justice in today's decision, had been rumored to be on Obama's short list for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Click here for the full-text of the 185-page opinion.

Sotomayor Picked for High Court

The AP is reporting this morning that--as expected--Obama has nominated ultra liberal Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. One might wonder if empathy, rather than ethnicity, was actually the decisive factor in the choice.

The Cato Institute is not enthralled with the selection:
In picking Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has confirmed that identity politics matter to him more than merit.
Judge Sotomayor is not one of the leading lights of the federal judiciary and would not even have been on the shortlist if she were not Hispanic.
She has a mixed reputation, with a questionable temperament and no particularly important opinions in over 10 years on the Second Circuit. Most notably, she was part of the panel that summarily affirmed the dismissal of Ricci v. DeStefano, where the City of New Haven denied firefighter promotions based on an admittedly race-neutral exam whose results did not yield the “correct” racial mix of successful candidates. Sotomayor’s colleague José Cabranes—a liberal Democrat—excoriated the panel’s actions and the Supreme Court will likely reverse the ruling next month.
If this is the kind of “empathy” the president wants from his judges, we are in for a long summer—and more bitter confirmation battles in the future.
And here's the YouTube video making the rounds of the Internet that seems to confirm the judge's activist credentials.