William McGurn is Vice President at News Corporation who writes speeches for CEO Rupert Murdoch. Previously he served as Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, McGurn expresses concern for the judicial system seeking to interrupt or bypass democratically selected standards on morally disputed matters, such as the decision of the California Supreme Court to review the legality of Proposition 8.
“The great achievement of our system was to create a political order where these great moral disputes, as a matter of policy, are left to the people — with allowance for differences according to region and locale. Moral agents have a role to play, generally by shaping the larger culture in which these decisions are framed and debated. But the outcome is left to the people acting through their elected representatives, a process that inevitably involves compromise, trade-offs and messy accommodations.”
He describes three negative consequences of such judicial intervention:
1. The judges act as dishonest referees, imposing one set of preferences over another.
2. They cheat the American people of an honest political contest, where candidates need to persuade the people of their views to put them into effect. [Example supplied: Obama and Biden publicly are “against” gay marriage (a politically safe choice, for now, in most parts of America), yet never receive the ire of pro-gay political organizations. Why not? These organizations trust that Obama/Biden will appoint activist judges through whom a pro-gay agenda can advance.]
3. When courts usurp the role of the people, they inject cynicism and bitterness into America’s body politic.
Read the whole thing.