Thursday September 18, 2014
Quote of the Day
“Minorities trampled on by the democratic process have recourse to the courts; the recourse is called constitutional law.”
-- Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in soundly rejecting the state's argument, in Baskin v. Bogan, that courts should defer to the democratic process in, for example, matters of gay marriage. Via Linda Greenhouse's Op-Ed, “The Moment at Hand,” which focuses on the journey of Judge Posner on marriage equality: from “no” to “maybe” to “yes, and now.”
Greenhouse goes on to comtemplate whether Baskin or one of the other same-sex marriage cases, overwhelming confirmed in the federal circuit, will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court this session. Overall, her article is celebratory—how far we've come, etc.—but there's a dark corollary of past decisions (from Plessy v. Ferguson to Bowers v. Hardwick) in that celebration: the rights of minorities are indeed protected by the U.S. Constitution from the democratic process ... as long as the minority in question isn't too despised.