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Posted at 05:45 PM ET, 02/07/2012

Prop 8, the president and the make-up of the Supreme Court


A story I skipped over yesterday made for intriguing reading today, the day the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional.“Election pivotal for nation’s courts” was a story about how the 2012 election could either cement the Republican majority on appellate courts or tip the balance to Democrats in key jurisdictions. And it pointed out that the next president could have up to three Supreme Court vacancies to fill before the end of his next term in 2016. For those who placed their hopes in the Supreme Court to do what Congress won’t — repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act — the reelection of President Obama is paramount.

As Chris Geidner reports in MetroWeekly, lawyers for the “Perry” in Perry v. Schwarzenegger — Ted Olson and David Boies — differed on whether the Supreme Court would hear an appeal by those who want to maintain Prop 8. But they are certain of one thing. The nation’s high court will eventually hand down a ruling on same-sex marriage. The composition of that nine-person body will be determined by the next president of the United States.

For a whole host of reasons, Mitt Romney should not be that person. But the statement he issued this afternoon on the Ninth Circuit ruling is one more in the brief against him.

Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.

Why is it that those who claim to care so much about the Constitution will stop at nothing to deny the liberty it guarantees? While I understand the concern about “unelected judges” usurping the will of the people, I also don’t think “the people” should ever vote on the civil rights of others. Imagine what a shambles this nation would have been in if desegregation were put to a popular vote. And bravo to Greg Sargent for highlighting the not-so-veiled slam against the “prejudices” of judges clouding their rulings. Judge Vaughn Walker, who decided the original case in August 2010, is gay. “A major party presidential candidate would never go there,” Sargent writes with glaring sarcasm.

Despite actions celebrated by (end of “don’t ask don’t tell”) and unknown to the public (a raft of orders to bring about equity to public health and housing), the relationship between Obama and the LGBT community remains shaky. But all those who think it would be better to stay home than to ensure that their rights and dignity are affirmed risk shackling us all with a court such indifference could beget.

By  |  05:45 PM ET, 02/07/2012

Tags:  Election 2012

 
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