National Review / Digital
Obama vs. the Constitution
The rule of law is on the ballot


Even on the assumption that Holder is right and the law is unconstitutional, the administration’s position is indefensible. Holder said that the administration would continue to enforce the law outside the courts — which it ought not to do if it believes it clearly violates the Constitution. And the only rational ground for believing the law is unconstitutional is that refusing to let same-sex couples marry violates the Fourteenth Amendment: that, in other words, recognizing same-sex marriage is constitutionally mandatory. Yet neither Obama nor Holder takes that position. Obama, even now that he has announced that he favors same-sex marriage, says that states should set their own policies.

Either the Constitution allows governments operating under it to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, or it does not. If it does, then Obama is failing to defend a constitutionally legitimate law from judicial attack. If it does not, he is enforcing an unconstitutional law and telling states they may do the same. What he cannot be doing on either interpretation is protecting the Constitution or even taking it seriously.

September 10, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, NO. 17

Republican Convention Special
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Sean Trende reviews An American Son: A Memoir, by Marco Rubio, and The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Roig-Franzia.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Queen of Versailles.
  • Richard Brookhiser evaluates the transatlantic exchange.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .