Friday, May 16, 2008

Constitutional Ballot Question Part 1

I think it is wrong to have ballot initiatives that can change the state constitutions. We have given our state legislators the power to enact laws; if those laws are unpopular then we can vote them out of office and enact new laws.
One of the purposes of constitutions is to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Our U.S. Bill of Rights protects, among other things, freedom of religion, speech, to assembly and to petition the government for regress of grievances. The freedom of religion allows for religions that are not as popular as the dominate religion to exist with hindrance. The freedom of speech and assembly is to allow minority and unpopular points of view to be expressed. The freedom to petition the government for regress of grievances allows us to convey our dissatisfaction and to lobby our elected and government officials.

Over time, we have come to see the need to protect other segments of the population from the oppression of the majority, those that are based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Where would we be now if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was voted on by a ballot initiative? Or the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, would it have been recalled by a ballot initiative? Now on many states ballots there are voter initiatives that would constitutionally ban marriage equality. The ballot initiative is being used by the conservatives to deny rights to a minority by a religious majority, the exact opposite of what our Constitution stands for, to protect the rights of minorities.

The religious right argues that the courts are making law and its decision needs to be over turned by a constitutional ballot initiative. That is wrong the courts have regressed a grievance, the unequal treatment of its citizens. When the laws grants rights to one segment of the population and denies it to another segment of the population that is WRONG! That is discriminatory and that is what the courts have found.

1 comment:

  1. The irony is that the initiative process -- at least here in California -- was designed as a protection against the Legislature being "owned" by a powerful minority (the railroads at the time, who had bribed most of the lawmakers), allowing them to take advantage of the majority.

    Unfortunately, these same sorts of special-interest groups eventually figured out that they could use the initiative process for their own ends, thus utterly subverting the original intent.