Life is beginning to return to normal in the Daly house following Tuesday’s historic election.
By “normal” I mean it’s been three days since our home phone rang five times during dinner with candidate robo-calls and our mailbox was overstuffed with campaign flyers!
The pundits will continue to analyze Tuesday’s results and draw their subjective conclusions. I have mine; you have yours. At a Wednesday press conference, President Obama qualified the outcome as a “shellacking” – a candid admission by any measure. In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, set to air this Sunday, the President was a bit more cautious in his assessment. He said the results, at least from his perspective, were a reflection of poor communication skills as opposed to poorly crafted legislation.
That seems rather generous to me, but I’m curious what you think.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but perhaps the oddest response to the election came from today’s edition of the Washington Post. Responding to Iowa voters’ decision to oust three judges who had previously ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, the Post said the outcome represented “an excess of democracy.”
Did you catch that?
An excess of democracy.
The negative retention bids of those Iowa Supreme Court justices is significant. In fact, it is yet another confirmation that the same-sex marriage debate is far from over and the majority of Americans agree with what we have always stood for; when the people speak, they speak for marriage.
The gentleman who led the recall campaign, Bob Vander Platts, had little doubt of the constitutionality and wisdom of their cause.
“I think it will send a message across the country that the power resides with the people. It’s we the people, not we the courts.”
Critics have suggested the outcome is a blow to the independence of the judiciary. Erwin Chermerinsky is the dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. He called it “disturbing” and warned that it might cause judges to be reluctant to protect minorities.
My colleague at CitizenLink, lawyer Bruce Hausknecht, foresaw this precise reaction. Writing the morning after the election, Bruce noted:
Last night’s results in the Iowa retention election will reverberate across the legal and judicial spectrum. Liberals will disingenuously decry the “chilling effect” of this vote on so-called “judicial independence” of judges. “Judicial independence,” we have learned through painful experience, is simply a high-sounding term for the lack of accountability that has enabled the current plague of judicial activism. After this vote, judges will (and surely ought to) think long and hard about the wisdom of creating new “rights” out of thin air.
The Iowa vote encourages us that “we the people” still matter; that the heart of our constitutional system still beats in the citizenry, rather than in the judiciary.
I am no lawyer, but I am a voter who strongly believes in an orthodox understanding of good old-fashioned checks and balances, and in the importance of protecting the institution of marriage and the family. If you ask me, Tuesday’s vote was a positive, not an excessive, expression of democracy.