Bench Memos

Obama Supreme Court Candidate Deval Patrick—Part 2

Beyond his racialist extremism, what do we know more broadly of Deval Patrick’s constitutional vision?  Patrick’s defense of the Massachusetts supreme court’s 2003 ruling (in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health) concocting a right to same-sex marriage under the state constitution tells us all we need to know, as it reveals that he has all the makings of a lawless liberal judicial activist:  

 

Our Supreme Judicial Court got it right, because all it did was affirm the principle that people come before their governments as equals. I don’t see any reason to upset that. We need to get this issue settled and off the table so we can get on to the issues people are really worried about.

 

Let’s break this response down:

 

1.  “Our Supreme Judicial Court got it right”—No.  The court’s ruling was ludicrously wrong.  The court (by a vote of 4 to 3) ruled that a state statute defining marriage as the legal union of a man and a woman—a statutory definition that dates back to colonial times and that is derived from English common law—somehow violates the “individual liberty and equality safeguards” of the state constitution.  The court made no effort to root its decision in the original meaning of those constitutional provisions.  Its ruling was instead an exercise in living constitutionalism run amok.

 

Anyone who believes that the Massachusetts supreme court “got it right”—or was even remotely plausible—cannot be trusted as a judge to respect the realm of representative government.  Any such person will be entirely unconstrained in reading into the Constitution his own policy preferences.

 

2.  “all it did was affirm the principle that people come before their governments as equals”—What the Goodridge ruling did was redefine what civil marriage is.  People obviously disagree on how radical a step that is, and whether that step is a good thing or a bad thing.  But it is simply disingenuous of

Patrick to misstate what the court did.

 

3.  “I don’t see any reason to upset that.  We need to get this issue settled and off the table so we can get on to the issues people are really worried about.”—This is the standard shell game of a judicial supremacist:  Treat a usurpatious court ruling as having settled the issue, and tell the people that they somehow shouldn’t care about an issue that mattered so much to the liberal judicial activists who imposed their own policy preference on the matter.

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