Liberty 101: Same-sex “marriage” and the power of bureaucracy

Bureaucracy attacks.

Americans today are getting a crash course in the liberty we give up when we create bureaucracies and let the executive branch grow without restraint.

Consider these points:

1.  The appeal for California’s Proposition 8 was thrown out because of an issue of standing for the defendants (i.e., the backers of Prop. 8 – who, it will be remembered, stepped in to continue the appeals process after the original backers dropped out).  The last ruling of the lower court is being allowed to stand, but the issue itself – the constitutionality of defining marriage in traditional terms – has not been ruled on by the Supreme Court.  The Court didn’t say that it’s unconstitutional for a government authority or the people themselves to define marriage in traditional terms.

2.  What was ruled on was the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).   And in spite of Continue reading “Liberty 101: Same-sex “marriage” and the power of bureaucracy”

Same-sex “marriage”

OK, fine, it’s in the news, we gotta talk about it.

My bottom line on same-sex marriage (SSM) as a political issue is that recognizing it will inevitably be a misuse of government.  It is especially a misuse of national government.  States have more latitude to indulge in governmental malpractice, because the rights of citizens are properly backstopped at the federal level.  If a state has infringed citizens’ rights by doing something misguided, a federal read on the Constitution should adjust the problem.  But the national government must remain limited in its scope for mucking around in the people’s lives, in large part because there is no appeal above it.

The corruption of our thinking

The original intent of the Civil Rights Act was precisely to affirm federal constitutional protection for rights that were being infringed – either outright or in effect – by state law. Continue reading “Same-sex “marriage””

Prop 8 Meets Catch-22?

Federal judge’s ruling prejudices judicial import of Proposition 8 case.

Time has not told yet, and others with knowledge of legal precedent will have to tell us if a judge has ever applied this particular reasoning before.  But Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District of Northern California ruled this week that advocates of California’s Proposition 8, which was passed by the voters last November, must turn over records of their meetings and email correspondence to the court, in the case against the proposition being brought by celebrated attorney Ted Olson and his associate David Boies.

The significant part of this is the purpose for which Vaughn has ordered the records turned over.  He wants the records inspected for evidence of discriminatory bias against gays, displayed by the team that brought Prop 8 to the voters.  It is not necessary to read this into Walker’s ruling:  he says it explicitly.  If the advocates of Prop 8 showed discriminatory bias in their internal communications, this, in Walker’s formulation, would in itself constitute a basis for voiding Prop 8. Continue reading “Prop 8 Meets Catch-22?”