Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

You have no right as a voter to defend your interests as a voter. Not in federal court.

So decides the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case about a controversial California ballot question. The court ruled 5-4 that petitioners “lack standing.” Their interest wasn’t “particularized” enough.

Passed in 2008, Proposition 8 amends the California constitution to stipulate that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Two questions must be distinguished. One, whether Proposition 8 is consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The high court could have agreed with the lower one that it isn’t. Two, whether voters – in this particular case, the official state recognized proponents of the measure – may judicially defend a law brought to ballot by themselves and duly enacted, when state officials decline to defend that law.

I’m no fan of Prop 8. But for the land’s highest court to rule that voters and petitioners have no “standing” here is a horrid precedent. It tells government officials to take heart if they dislike a law that voters have passed. Maybe not enforce or defend it at all, say — and regardless of any constitutional finding. After all, what can We the People do? It’s not as if we have standing!

Justice Kennedy, in dissent, pinpoints the default: “the Court fails to grasp or accept . . . the basic premise of the initiative process . . .  The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around.”

Oh, yes, the people do have standing.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Paul, I am concerned when any state law takes away individual rights. I have struggled with this as I too want the people to be able to petition as you well know. Of course so many times the best answer is to get rid of the restrictions not try to make another law on top of bad law. More thoughts from you on this would be good.

  2. JATR says:

    You need to look up the definition of “standing.” Appears you have no idea what it means

  3. Edward Agazarm says:

    JATR – In law, standing or locus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged …

    The people who brought the lawsuit and the voters who passed the law are “harmed” when a law passed by the people is ignored by the government sworn to uphold the laws? Hellloooo.

    Maybe we should all stop standing at all and bow down.

  4. JATR says:

    You are wrong. The Supreme Court ruled that they had no standing.

    Tough luck!

  5. JATR says:

    The lower court ruled the law unconstitutional.

    Again, tough luck!

  6. bhk says:

    Prop 8 was discriminatory, that’s the bottom line.

    Your stance is inconsistent.

  7. Karen says:

    I do consider that Prop 8 could be construed as discriminatory. & I personally don’t care about what goes on between consenting adults. However, I agree with Paul. The larger issue here is that the vote of the people was over-ruled. Why vote for anything? Why attempt to get referendums passed? Our rights are being eroded daily by big government & our freedoms to voice & vote on our opinions squelched. This is the overarching issue.

  8. Drik says:

    They tried to do a gag order on the kid that wore an NRA Tshirt to school, “for his own good”.

    The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants._Camus

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