A Special Kind of Chutzpah
That’s what it takes for Jeff Amestoy to wax philosophical, in today’s Washington Post, about the “intersection where constitutional law meets direct democracy” in the state-level struggles over same-sex marriage. Why chutzpah? Because Amestoy–though bylined as “a former chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court”–never identifies himself as the author of that court’s 1999 ruling in Baker v. State of Vermont, a brutally activist decision that held a gun to the state legislature’s head and said “choose between same-sex marriage and civil unions, for if you don’t create one or the other, we judges will do it for you.” And Amestoy and his colleagues got away with this brazen rewrite of the state’s constitution because, as they knew full well, Vermont (like many other older states in the east) has a constitution exceedingly difficult to change by legitimate amendment. Amestoy and his fellow usurpers are the reason Vermont has civil unions today, and is now on the brink of adopting full-fledged “marriage” for partners of the same sex. He had no respect for the constitutional prerogatives of the people then, and it’s hard to believe he’s grown any such scruples in the meantime.