Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Topic #3 - "Proposition 8 = Judicial Tyranny?"

RESOLVED: Judges should NOT have overturned the will of the voters regarding gay marriage in California.

PRO 1
Though the judges that overturned Proposition 8 due to its unconstitutional nature, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ overturning of this public proposition is more unconstitutional that the proposition itself.  One of the key values of United States government is voting.  The people’s right to vote plays a huge role in the workings of this government and the struggle to require this right has played a huge part of this countries history.  When the Ninth Circuit Court of California overturned Proposition 8, they took away one of the great aspects of what it means to be part of the American Government.  The action of overturning this proposition violated the people of California’s right to freedom of speech by showing them that their right to vote was basically meaningless when trying act upon what the people believed in.  The cause of making the people of California’s also will affect their willingness to vote, which has proven to be a pressing matter recently.  The overturning of Proposition 8 gives the people an impression that no matter what they want or how they vote, their opinion is not valued.  Also the decision to overturn was based on a biased opinion, furthermore showing the Ninth Circuit Court’s judicial Tyranny.  The District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, the one to over turn the proposition, is gay.  This biased opinion, the violation of the people’s freedom of speech, and the wasted political pathway, are all reasons that point us to believe the Ninth Circuit’s decision to overturn the proposition was unconstitutional judicial tyranny. (Nick I.)


PRO 2
Team Ellis has chosen the pro side of this debate, arguing that the votes made by the citizens of California, should not have been over turned by the judges, because we feel that the judges have abused their powers by doing so. The term judicial tyranny is often used to describe rulings that unlawfully validates or invalidates the policy decisions made by the popular vote in this case. This case is seen as unlawful in our eyes because the judges use their power to change the outcome of something decided by the citizens of California, and if the people took a vote and majority of the population voted against the law then it is definitely judicial tyranny for the judge to come back in and change that. We, as a country use and have created the constitution to get away from tyranny, and when the judges override our votes they are abusing their power. According to the definition of judicial tyranny, the judges were wrong in performing this because they have used their power in an abusive manner by ignoring their people’s wants. The U.S. has also created checks and balances in the government to avoid having one group having too much power, and these checks and balances are supposed to split the power up not allowing anyone group to have too much, and if one group did abuse their power, like the judges have done, it would be tyrannical and oppressive, not allowing for the checks and balances to take action. (Chris M.)

CON 1
Proposition 8 defies the constitutional rights of equal protection right, freedom of assembly, and due process clause. Besides Proposition 8 violating the constitution, it is also a prejudice and discriminatory action by the will of the voters preventing homosexuals from their pursuit of happiness. There should be fair treatment to all men and women whether gay or not including their right to marry because according to the 14th amendment in its equal protection right clause which staes that “all men are created equal”. Not only that but it also goes against the freedom of assembly of a group of people expressing themselves. Having to pass proposition 8 would have made a feisty dispute about violating due process clause which is the state having to respect all legal rights of a person. The Constitution and the rights afforded to the citizens of the United States are fundamental and guaranteed and cannot be changed even by a vote of the American people. These rights can only be changed through the Amendment process, as outlined in the Constitution. In other words, the Constitution would need to be changed through due process of law. It is the duty of the judicial branch to interpret and defend the Constitution. In conclusion, proposition 8 should have been overturned by the judges. (Dani R.)

CON 2
Gay marriage has been one of the most controversial topics over the past couple of years. Certain states such as California have taken this topic head on. Recently proposition 8 was presented to California attempting to rid of gay marriage laws. The proposition was taken to court in which the judges ruled it to be unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment says that no state shall: “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The first part of that sentence is known as the “Due Process Clause” and the second part is the “Equal Protection Clause.” Both clauses played a role in this case. As for the Equal Protection Clause, on its face, it requires that all persons be treated equally under the law. In reality, however, many, many laws require that different categories of people receive different treatment. For these reasons we can protect the judges decision to reject proposition 8.  (Cooper L)

28 comments:

Daniela Ramirez said...
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Daniela Ramirez said...
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Travis S said...

Proposition eight, or the California Marriage Protection Act, is UNCONSTITUIONAL because of the Equal Protection Clause of the fourteenth amendment, which ensures every citizen equal protection of the laws, and the Due Process Clause of the fourteenth amendment which prevents the deprivation of personal liberties without steps being taken to ensure fairness. Proposition 8 makes gays and homosexuals treated unfairly which violates the constitution which makes it unconstitutional and the courts had the rights to overturn Prop 8.

Larson McQuary said...

I wasn't quite sure how I felt about this debate but after listening to the Pro and Con sides in class, I feel that the judge's decision to overrule the decision on Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. If every judge did that to every proposition people voted for, the peoples voice wouldn't matter in any way because no matter what they said it would get overruled. Doing this just once is taking away voters rights and I don't support the judge's decision whatsoever.

Sterling said...

To answer the question on whether or not this is Judicial Tyranny requires another question: What is the Supreme Court's job? In a nutshell, the answer is that they decide whether laws are constitutional or not. This is not Judicial Tyranny. The judges are DOING THEIR JOB. They examined proposition 8 and found it unconstitutional because it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth amendment. People are complaining about the decision because they spent so much time and money on getting votes for Proposition 8, and are now whining because they didn't get their way. This is in no way Judicial Tyranny.

Colton U said...

I agree with the Con side of this debate because proposition eight is taking away the rights of homosexuals. In the 14th amendment it states that “all men are created equal” which means weather you are homosexual or straight you should have the same rights and be treated the same. It is the judge’s jobs to protect our constitution and by doing so they had no choice but to overturn proposition eight.

Brookie H said...

Proposition 8 is seen as a very controversial issue. The debates in class really opened my eyes in believing that the judges were wrong to overturn this proposition. It has come to my attention that the three judges who took part in this case were Democrats and one was also gay. This is unfair to the Republican Party because they should have had a say in the process of overturning this proposition. Also, the people of California voted to implement proposition 8 into the California government and the voice of the people needs to be heard. What the judges decided is considered “judicial tyranny” because they completely ignored the people, which isn’t what America is about. Americans have the right to free speech and if the people of California wanted to see proposition 8 through, well then, the people need to be heard.

Morgan K said...

I agree with the cons because Prop 8 should never have been approved in the first place. It is unconstitutional because it discriminates against gays and trys to prevent them from being able to marry whomever they want. Also, when the pros talked about the bias of the gay judge, they forgot to take into account the possibly greater bias of the straight judges who felt like marriage belongs to them alone.

Stephen R said...

The government should be ruled by the people, and I feel as if the United States is forgetting these important principals. Clearly the people have spoken and acted in a resposible and mature way. They campeigned their beliefs, voted, and made a decision. If the federal government feels as if they have the right to over-rule the peoples actions, than what is the purpose of a democracy? Prop. 8 only effected Colifornia; it wasn't a national proposal. I just don't understand how the government can decide how a community in one area of the country feels towards an issue. It is stupid how the government chooses how people can act in their community. If the community has spoken and they feel gays cannot marry, then why can't the government accept that? I feel what the government has done is cheap and unfair.

Luke H said...

(PRO)-After listening to both sides of the debate, I believe that the judges decision to over rule the votes of our people was wrong. I feel by them doing this discourages people to vote and doesn't let the people be heard.

Anonymous said...

Proposition eight is a very controversial issue. The reasons why it should not have been are seen largely influenced. The judges that overturned the proposition were all Democratic alongsid one of them being a homosexual. The way that these judges turned is not the voice of the California people who voted against it to start. They did not go with the peoples votes, and stricktly on the Democratic judges views.

- Q Oliver

Ryan said...

I support the pro side. There was no basis to turn down proposition 8. It was a vote by the people and if we truly are a Democracy as we have been since the beginning of our nation, we are a nation run "by the people, for the people." Secondly, a federal judge has no business in local/state matters and shouldn't have been a part of this.

Blair S. said...

I agree with the Pro side that the judges should not have been able to overturn the vote concerning gay marriage. Both sides used the Constitution, but I believe the freedom of speech that was violated is a more serious offense. When the judges overturned the people’s vote they not only disregarded what the people said, but also suggested that what the people voted for and believed in was not taken into serious consideration. The blatant disregard of the voting pathway should not have been allowed by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals judges.

Emily Kelsoe said...

Personally, I believe in the con side of this debate, that gay marriage should never have been banned in the first place because in my opinion and in the words of the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal". However, the fact that the court overturned the vote is unconstitutional. As citizens of the United States, we are guaranteed the right to vote and have a say in the governmental process. Therefore, the vote conducted on Proposition 8 in California should have been the final say in the actions to be taken. Because the vote was to ban gay marriage, meaning that the majority of California's citizens believed it should be, then the court had no right to overrule the popular opinion of the people.

Selina R said...

I feel that the overruling by the judge was unconstitutional. The judge had a personal bias, because he himself was gay. The judge should not have let the people vote if he was just going to do what he wanted anyways. Some people may say that the voters were confused in what they were voting for, however, it is the voters’ job to know the proposals and what they are voting for. Voting has played an important role in our history and has worked so far, so why does the judge have the right to overrule the voting? Simple, he doesn’t. By canceling out the voting, he took away the freedom of speech from the person, which goes against the constitution.

Emily S. said...

Most people when they hear this case jump to a quick conclusion that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. However, what people fail to recognize is that because the Judges are overturning the voice of the people, by definition, they are violating the people of California’s First Amendment, Freedom of Speech. Also, we constantly discuss in class the importance of voting. By overturning Proposition 8,
voting participation will severely decrease because people will see their vote a meaningless. Another big idea is that the state of New Jersey is going through this same issue yet their Governor, Chris Cristie sees things in a different way. “I am adhering to what I've said since this bill was first introduced – an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide. I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.” Lastly, it is impossible to leave out the District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker. Because he is gay, he has a biased opinion. He claimed that “he never considered his sexual orientation grounds for declining to preside over the Proposition 8 challenge” but how can we trust that he didn’t make a decision based on his own bias? Opponents may argue it is just as bias if a straight person were making the final decision. Well, then, there is only one fair way to hadnle this--LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE.

Kellye McGuire said...

I believe that the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court had every right to overturn the will of the voters in California regarding gay marriage. Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and immoral. It bans gay marriage in California. First, it goes against the anti-discrimination clause in the 14th amendment. Discriminating against one group of people is unconstitutional, such as gays. Second, it deprives gays of happiness, which is also unconstitutional under people have the right to “pursuit of happiness.” America is built on the constitution and therefore all states must abide by it, including California. While states have some freedom to make some of their own laws, they cannot go against the constitution. Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, therefore the judges were right in appealing it.

Eric M said...

In response to everyone that is calling the ruling by the Circuit 9 Court Unconstitutional, this is erroneous. There seems to be some lack of knowledge of what exactly the Judicial Branch does in the function government. The responsibility and purpose of the Judicial Branch is to protect the Constitution. The Circuit 9 Court ruled that Proposition 8, a piece of legislation to make same-sex marriage illegal in the state of California, is Unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause in the Constitution. There is no indication in the Constitution that attacks the rights of gays to marry. In order for Prop. 8 to pass, an Amendment process must be followed. This system in place is to promote the security of checks and balances in order to keep government stable. With out this system, laws are constantly changing to the will of the people. Courts do not listen to people, they protect the Constitution.

Maddi M said...

After listening to both the Pro and Con sides in class, I feel that the judge's decision to overrule the decision on Proposition 8 was completely called for.The Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal." Obviously, Proposition 8 is neglecting all homsexuals rights because they are clearly not being treated as "equal." It is the judges duty and right to overturn unconstitutional propositions is it not? Now I do obviously realize that the judge is gay and he did overturn a proposition that the people of California specifically voted for, but I do believe that all people, gay or straight, deserve to have the same rights and they most definitely deserve to be happy.

Katherine Trent said...

I think the the supreme court has the authority and was right in overturning. I consider this argument to be very similar to that of slavery. At the time abolishing slavery was a very controversial issue, but was something that needed to be confronted. Slavery was deemed unconstitutional under the equal protections clause and I consider gay marriage the same issue. In my opinion the issue of whether the judge’s decision to overrule the vote of the people is secondary to equal rights.

Claire Criss said...

While there are many arguments for and against this resolution, it is important to look at the facts. First, it was originally legal in California for gay people to marry. When this was taken away, California was actually taking away rights from a minority, going completely against the 14th ammendment. This is a mjor reason as to why an overturn of these laws were good. Furthermore, with the wording of the actual bill as well as the campaigning, many people actually voted the wrong way, meaning that their voices were not heard, thus harming their freedom of speech. Due to even just these two points, it is clear that the pro side should win this round.

Lauren S said...

I think that the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court acted unconstitutionally by overturning a proposition. Based solely on the actions of these judges, they were wrong to go against the will of the people no matter the topic. Given the understanding that in certain circumstances specific actions must be taken to keep our government from becoming absolute, in general though, if our government defies the will of the people then what message does that send to the public and especially voters? The idea that their vote was not taken into full account or enacted completely? This offers Americans even less incentive to vote and could cause greater risks to our government.

Tucker D. said...

When we talk about the controversial issue of Proposition 8 we must first understand that this is not about whether somebody supports gay marriage or not, but rather on whether the court was justified in their decision to overturn the ruling. Many will jump to the 14th amendment saying that this is unconstitutional, but we are discussing whether the court had the power to make this decision or not. In my opinion the court was out of line to overturn this ballot. In this case the court is basically telling the citizens who voted that their opinions did not matter as much as the courts and that they have the right to make the law anything they want. Proposition 8 was the people’s choice, not the courts.

Molly Aaron said...
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Molly Aaron said...

I agree with the con side completely. Proposition 8 takes away the prime values that we live in America: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. According to David Blankenhorn, it is believed that "all children have a birthright to know and be cared for by the two parents who brought them into the world. Gay marriage... deprives children of this birthright" (LA Times, September 19, 2008). However, what if child was by accident and the parents are not ready for the responsibility or are not financially stable? What if the child won't be raised in a healthy home with loving parents? Then the mother and father would put their baby up for adoption. There are parents out there will to adopt, heterosexual or homosexual, as long as the child is loved, what does it matter? As long as two people are happy, it is no one else's business to interfere with that. Everyone is equal under the constitution, and, according to Amendment 14, also hold equal protection of laws.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the pro side had an extremely valid point. Judges should NOT have been able to overturn Proposition 8. When overturing the votes of the people, the judges took it into their own hands to decide was they thought was best for the people instead of considering what the people actually wanted. Ultimately, when the judge took away these voting rights he took away the freedom of speech as well which is extremely unconsitutional.
Cassidy H

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the pro side had an extremely valid point. Judges should NOT have been able to overturn Proposition 8. When overturing the votes of the people, the judges took it into their own hands to decide was they thought was best for the people instead of considering what the people actually wanted. Ultimately, when the judge took away these voting rights he took away the freedom of speech as well which is extremely unconsitutional.
Cassidy H

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