I’m a little under the weather this episode, and my voice reflects that. But I’m here anyway to bring you conservative commentary in 10 minutes or less.

This time around, I’m taking a look at 3 landmark rulings from the Supreme Court last week; striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and telling California voters that they can’t defend their own constitutional amendment if their politicians won’t do it themselves.

Is 50-year-old data better than current information when trying to determine who should come under the Voting Rights Act? Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of the past? The four liberal Supreme Court justices, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama would answer No to both those questions, at least based on the outrage they feigned over the ruling. They can’t seem to bring themselves to believe that progress has actually occurred. Or they’re pandering to their base. Either way, to call requiring these stats to be updated “turning back the clock” is cognitive dissonance of the highest order. The request is that the clock be turned forward, and Democrats are against it. Or they are pretending to be against it, and hoping that their base isn’t paying attention.

Regarding DOMA: Basically, now that states decide what marriage is, the logical end of this is that marriage will mean what anyone wants it to mean, which means it will be meaningless. Since states were redefining an already well-defined term, it fell to the federal government to bring a little order and common sense to this chaos. I didn’t like it, but didn’t see any other good way out of it.

Regarding Prop 8: While I’m against true direct democracy (the ol’ “two lions and a sheep voting on dinner” analogy), the proposition feature of California law has a high enough bar to clear to get something on the ballot to safeguard that. But now the people’s will can be simply ignored, with the ruling of a single judge, and we, the people, have no standing to challenge it at the Supreme Court. Wow.

Mentioned links:

Supremes to Congress: Update the Voting Rights Act

Voting Rights Progress

Three at Last: What almost everyone is missing about the Voting Rights Act decision

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN PORTION OF DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT, THROWS OUT PROP 8 APPEAL

Thoughts on DOMA and a Reaction Roundup!

Behold: The Democratic Process

Episode 38: What Marriage Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It [Consider This podcast]

California ballot proposition

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Show Transcript

A portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was struck down by the Supreme Court. The Act itself wasn’t chucked, just the way that it was determining which states came under it. The era of poll taxes and literacy tests are gone, and the disparity between whites and blacks regarding voter participation have been erased. The state with the largest gap between white and black voter turnout these days is Massachusetts, for cryin’ out loud. And in Mississippi in the 21st century, black turnout exceeds white turnout. But the VRA was still punishing the South for race disparities in voting that have long been remedied.

So then, is 50-year-old data better than current information when trying to determine who should come under the Voting Rights Act? Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of the past? The four liberal Supreme Court justices, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama would answer No to both those questions, at least based on the outrage they feigned over the ruling. They can’t seem to bring themselves to believe that progress has actually occurred. Or they’re pandering to their base. Either way, to call requiring these stats to be updated “turning back the clock” is cognitive dissonance of the highest order. The request is that the clock be turned forward, and Democrats are against it. Or they are pretending to be against it, and hoping that their base isn’t paying attention.

If you are a Democrat, and you’ve wondered why Republicans are often wary of laws that try to remedy sins of the past, this is exhibit A. Here is a law trying to do such a thing, but it’s stuck in the culture and racism of the 1960s, and any attempt to acknowledge repentance from those sins is taken, by liberals, to be just as bad. And if you want to take politically corrective legislation like the Voting Rights Act and update it for today’s reality, you must be racist.

Ronald Reagan quipped that government programs are the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth. But the Supreme Court didn’t do away with the VRA, it just said that it should be relevant. Those politicos that spoke out against this eminently reasonable decision are, in my mind, just as irrelevant as 50-year-old statistics.

Also in this spate of rulings from the Supremes were two that dealt with same-sex marriage; the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA), and California’s Proposition 8.

The portion of the DOMA law that was ruled against is a provision that denies benefits to legally-married gay couples. Gay couples, under federal law, will now be considered “married.” The DOMA vote was 5-4, with Justice Kennedy writing for himself and the liberals on the court. He wrote that DOMA is a violation of, QUOTE “basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government.” CLOSE QUOTE Very interestingly, he also pointed out that DOMA infringed on states’ rights to define marriage.

Having just talked about the Voting Rights Act, let me just say that that last observation is almost humorous coming from the liberal justices. The same people who said that 50-year-old data is sacrosanct in one ruling, said, in another ruling released the same day, that the definition of marriage, which has been defined for millennia, is just a states’ rights issue. The duplicity and blind partisanship is simply breathtaking.

In one respect, I agree with the DOMA ruling, regarding the idea that the federal government doesn’t need to be in the business of defining marriage. Now, I don’t thinks states should do that either, but it sets a precedent, that marriage is decided at the ballot box. It isn’t. And besides, regarding federal involvement, it’s the states that give out marriage licenses, not DC. So from that angle, it does make sense. Sort of.

The problem is, some states have decided to insert government into marriage like it has never been before. Glenn Reynolds, one of the most popular bloggers out there, the Instapundit, has been voicing his support for the repeal of DOMA by saying that government should get completely out of marriage. But as I have said before, when the government defines marriage, it is completely in the issue. Politics and PR will now define marriage. It didn’t need formal definition before, because it was almost universally agreed that it was one man and one woman. Cultures and religions, outside of government, defined marriage. All the state did was sanction what had already been decided. Back in episode 38, I discussed this in detail, so there’s a link in the show notes if you want to catch up on that. But basically, now that states decide what marriage is, the logical end of this is that marriage will mean what anyone wants it to mean, which means it will be meaningless. Since states were redefining an already well-defined term, it fell to the federal government to bring a little order and common sense to this chaos. I didn’t like it, but didn’t see any other good way out of it.

The Prop 8 ruling was perhaps more troubling than even DOMA. The Supremes decided, cutting across ideological lines interestingly, that the people of California had no standing to bring their own challenge against the ruling of a judge that Prop 8, which created a state constitutional amendment defining marriage, was unconstitutional. I like how a graphic I saw on Facebook put it. You can see the image in the show notes and the podcast’s Facebook page, but it goes like this; The majority of California voters declare marriage as a union between a man and a woman. One lone California judge rules that banning homosexual marriage is unconstitutional. The majority of California voters pass a constitutional amendment declaring marriage as a union between a man and a woman. One lone California judge rules that the constitutional amendment … wait for it … isn’t constitutional. US Supreme Court declares that California voters do not have a legal interest in whether the constitutional amendment they voted on is allowed to be a part of their constitution. Ah, democracy. Just the way the Founding Fathers envisioned it.

While I’m against true direct democracy (the ol’ “two lions and a sheep voting on dinner” analogy), the proposition feature of California law has a high enough bar to clear to get something on the ballot to safeguard that. But now the people’s will can be simply ignored, with the ruling of a single judge, and we, the people, have no standing to challenge it at the Supreme Court. Wow.

Filed under: ElectionsJudiciaryMarriageRace IssuesSame-sex Marriage