I am about to die of hypoperfusion. After California voters very convincingly supported Proposition 8, banning gay marriage after the California Supreme Court had legalized it, I thought there was no way on God’s green Earth that gay marriage would receive a favorable vote any time soon.
I was wrong.
The Iowa Supreme Court today cast a unanimous vote to legalize gay marriage, making it the first Heartland state to take such a bold step. Naturally, the opponents are coming out swinging, promising to put the issue on the ballot and make it illegal again as California did. Accusations of judicial activism have already started as well. But I have a question: can anybody tell me exactly how we are to define judicial activism?
I climbed all over Barney Frank for his scathing rant against SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia, but I have to admit–in his dissenting opinion on the case that struck down sodomy laws nationwide, Scalia’s decision was based less on law and more on personal ideals. THAT is judicial activism, folks. When a judge is making decisions that have little basis in the law and more footing in personal or religious ideology, then you can accuse them of “judicial activism.” The fact that a judge is passing down a verdict that you disagree with does not automatically make them wrong. Both in Lawrence v. Texas and in the Iowa Supreme Court decision announced today, the law was soundly upheld–and was easily argued.
And, like it or not, California’s Supreme Court does have the power to strike down Proposition 8, although they will be scrutinized heavily if they choose to do so. The people do have the right to make law by popular vote. But if the law created by said vote is deemed Unconstitutional, what are those left behind by the law to do? That is why our system of checks and balances exists. No single group–not the people, the judiciary, the legislature or the President–is to have more power than all the others.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll have you know that I do not dance. I just broke that rule. If Iowa can legalize it, so can Texas and Arizona. It may not happen next year, but it can happen.