culture politics

Prop 8, Detroit Bailout, and other things…

Sorry I haven’t been posting for a while, just haven’t been up to it. I have been systematically worn down with all of the crazy economic talk, I just can’t deal with it anymore… Imagine my surprise when senators and congressmen didn’t rush through bailout legislation for Detroit. I am pleasantly surprised that there is some scrutiny. I’m also amazed that people are now finally realizing that the status quo up there is not sustainable. We don’t have to worry about what will happen if they fail, they have already failed. I recently saw a report that essentially said that the amount of money that has been thrown away up there in capital expenditures over the past 15 years could have bought all of the shares of Honda, Hyndai, and several other big automakers. Unbelievable… Anyway, they will have to go through bankruptcy and with any luck they will be able to reorganize enough to make those businesses viable again.

I see that the supreme court of California is going to weigh in on prop 8. I have already written about what I think of that law, that’s not what this is about. There are plenty of people that are getting indignant over the court even looking at this. After all, “the people” have spoken, this is a democracy, right? We will hear more about “activist judges” and how they can usurp the will of the people…

It’s important to remember that the courts are at their best when they overturn popular laws. One of the basic functions of the court is to avoid the tyranny of the majority. Just because people like a law does not mean that it should be in effect. This is, IMO, one of the basic functions of a government, protecting individual rights.

The classic examples of this in American history were slavery and then later the Jim Crow laws. Slavery was popular across the south, and I’m sure there were fans of it in the north as well. The Jim Crow laws had wide support through the south. In the courts, Brown vs. Board of Education is a prime example of “activist judges.” They usurped the law that had been voted into effect by the population. Who’s complaining about that now?

I think the prop 8 issue is more complicated from a legal perspective, and I know nothing about the California constitution so I’m not going to guess on the outcome. I do know this; if the courts say that the law is constitutional, it will be on technical legalities buried in the constitution. If they overturn it, it will because they felt that rights that are defined in the constitution are being withheld. If that happens, it will be an example of the courts doing what they are supposed to do, no matter what people think of them…

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