By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 8/10/10
California’s fate today begins to suggest that of Tibet. It is a free and independent place with its own unique culture and vital life force, and its will is clear. But self governance is quashed by autonomous and arbitrary magistrates thousands of miles away. Here is a proposed amendment for the fledgling California constitutional convention: “No one should judge Californians but Californians. The California Supreme Court is the supreme court in the land. Citizens of any sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious persuasion or lack thereof can be California Supreme Court justices provided that they were born in the state and graduated from a California law school. (Law schools from Massachusetts, Connecticut and London don’t count. Different traditions, different culture, different values.) The California Supreme Court’s ruling is the final appeal and the supreme law of the land. It can only be overturned by a majority vote in a state referendum.” Because freedom is not free and it must be taken because it is never given.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said this weekend he was disappointed that the court overruled the "will of the people” in California. Federal dominance has been taken for granted since contention rose between Adams and Jefferson in the Marshall Court. But when these early cases are reviewed, the familiar political influence and shenanigans are uncovered. The question is who gives the federal courts the right to overturn the common will of the people? Can the courts give themselves that right? Why should the people abide by a ruling if it runs against their collective will and instincts?
In an opinion piece in The Christian Science Monitor, Jeff Amestoy writes, “If [U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn] Walker’s decision is ultimately affirmed by the US Supreme Court, state constitutional provisions in some 30 states restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples would be null and void.”
Judge Walker’s ruling may become historic not because of the substance of the issue - gay marriage - but because it occurs as new perspectives on state and regional sovereignty are awakening across America. And that which was universally taken for granted as egalitarian, right and enlightened just yesterday, can appear overnight as random, arbitrary, dictatorial and territorial when the sea changes.