Magazine article Insight on the News

Marriage Amendment Dead? Try Electing Judges Instead

Magazine article Insight on the News

Marriage Amendment Dead? Try Electing Judges Instead

Article excerpt


In an effort to block the legitimizing of homosexual marriage - either by the commonwealth of Massachusetts or the U.S. Supreme Court - pro-family activists are touting a so-called "marriage amendment" to the U.S. Constitution. Happily, a majority of Americans polled say they oppose homosexual marriage.

However, once such an amendment has passed, federal judges will begin to twist and distort it to their own ends, just as they have done with the First and the 14th Amendments. As for the Ninth and 10th Amendments, federal judges routinely ignore them. The problem lies with the judges, particularly the justices of the Supreme Court. Sixof these, like Humpty Dumpty, now believe that words mean just what they choose them to mean, neither more nor less. They would make lamb stew of a marriage amendment in no time.

Their absolute power to override law, veto popular referenda and use the Constitution as a bludgeon to effect social change is the gravest problem we face as a nation. The Founding Fathers placed effective restraints on every other branch of government. But they misjudged the potential for tyranny in the federal judiciary.

It's time to rectify this mistake. I propose the same answer the Founders gave to King George - a strong dose of democracy. The solution is to restore legislative power with a constitutional amendment that mandates federal judges stand for election every four years. Under this new system, the president's party and the major opposition party would nominate candidates for each judicial post in the federal system every four years. Though incumbents could stand for re-election, neither party could nominate an incumbent. The party that nominated each candidate would be listed on the ballot so voters would have a sense of each candidate's worldview. Judges would be elected in the circuits in which they would serve. Supreme Court justices would be elected by the American people as a whole.

As with state judges, incumbents might seldom lose. However, an outrageous decision or intemperate conduct on the bench could lead to defeat.

This method also would prevent the blocking tactics now being employed by Senate Democrats, as well as sharply reduce the "discovery" of new penumbras and bizarre sexual rights by sitting justices. Why? Having to get party support for nomination and answer to the electorate for re-election focuses the mind on the reasonable.

As for the effort to pass a marriage amendment to the U. …

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