Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Harsanyi's verbal tick

I guess I should just be happy that Denver Post libertarian columnist David Harsanyi states that he accepts gay marriage in his column today. Still when you actually read what he writes you can't help but be annoyed by his back handed and fact-free slaps at "judicial activism." I suppose he probably can't help it, when you build a career on creating straw-men and attacking various liberal bogeymen I assume it must be a difficult habit to break.

Harsanyi's column today is a fit of ignorant demagoguery,

But, in truth, any judicial action that strikes down a democratically enacted law is a step in wrong direction — both tactically and ideologically...

Quite often, to convince voters conventional marriage is defenseless from the forces of darkness, social conservatives point to judicial activist courts that commandeer the will of the people and ascribe new rights and meanings to marriage.

Just like the California Supreme Court did last week.

One doesn't need to be a legal expert to feel the decision was a stretch, but in some respect it's irrelevant. Perception is often more valuable politically than fact. And the perception is — rightfully so in this case — that four judges in California hijacked democracy and redefined marriage.

Where to begin?

Well we could make the point that California's democratically elected legislature has twice passed laws granting full marriage equality. Those laws were vetoed by the democratically elected governor who believed it was a decision that only the California Supreme Court should decide.

We could also make the point that all of the justices on the California Supreme Court have stood for re-election and all were overwhelmingly re-elected by the people of California.

We could note that the decision did not ascribe "new meanings" but rather answered the very simple question before it - are the provisions of the California State Constitution violated by the exclusion of same-sex couples from the legal institution of "marriage"? To answer this question the court simply looked at precedent. No "new meanings" were applied, rather they looked to their 1948 ruling in Perez v. Sharp that struck down the state's ban on interracial marriage.

There was no redefinition of marriage, merely a finding that the current definition must be applied consistently to all citizens of the state.

It's as if Harsanyi didn't even read the decision. He clearly has applied no critical thought to the decision or the issue. This column is completely phoned in. It is a paint by numbers smear job not grounded in anything remotely resembling reality. He has no grasp of the actual facts of the case, the court or the process and clearly has no interest in educating himself. Harsanyi indiscriminately flings his right-wing talking points like a monkey hurling his own feces, both of them entertained and excited merely by the splatter it makes on the wall.

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