Bush Supported Civil Unions?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Law, Sexuality

All the New Jersey court upheld was that same sex couples should have the same legal rights as everybody else. That’s it. They did not mandate marriage. And yet the GOPers were very happy that the issue got brought back up again. Why, even Bush said about the decision, “Yesterday in New Jersey, we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage.”

Well, apparently Bush doesn’t remember what he said back in 2004.

My question is…what has changed between now and then that made the New Jersey court’s ruling “activist?”


This entry was posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2006 and is filed under Law, Sexuality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Bush Supported Civil Unions?”

  1. Mike P. Says:

    Good catch!

  2. DosPeros Says:

    There is a difference between supporting a policy of civil-unions and supporting a constitutional finding of a “right” to civil-unions. This is true in many policy issues…example, supporting affirmative-action as a policy versus supporting affirmative-action as some kind of constitutional mandate. Nice “gotcha”, though, but it doesn’t mean much.

  3. j.a.m. Says:

    First, there’s nothing inherently inconsistent between opposing judicial activism but at the same time favoring legislative action to establish civil unions.

    Second, the NJ decision is activist because it effectively gives the legislature an ultimatum. That the decision could have been even worse doesn’t change the fact that it’s activist.

  4. Craig Monroe Says:

    Excuse me, but courts are all about constitutional findings regarding rights. That is the judiciary’s function. The question of whether gay couples have equal protection under the law is a constitutional, not a
    statutory, question. You may disagree with the court’s answer, but that
    does not make the court activist. They did not “make” law, they mandated that law be made. Courts quite rightly have been doing that
    for a long time.

  5. sleipner Says:

    Funny thing is that Republicans only seem to call judges “activists” when they make liberal decisions – when they make conservative ones then it’s “upholding the constitution.” The level of judicial intervention into policy and law has nothing to do with their complaints.

  6. j.a.m. Says:

    The “judiciary’s function” is to decide cases based on facts and law. Mandating a law, as you put it, is called legislating, which is not the courts’ function. And the notion that American courts “quite rightly have been doing that for a long time” is simply ahistorical.

    As for activism being in the eye of the beholder, there undoubtedly are examples of inconsistency on both sides. The examples of so-called conservative activism most frequently cited by liberals, however, are cases where the Supreme Court in fact followed the Constitution closely in disallowing efforts by Congress or the federal executive to exceed their Constitutional authority and upset the crucial federal-state balance of power.

  7. Mike P. Says:

    If I understand the decision correctly, the court basicly said there is nothing in the state constitution that exempts gays and lesbians from the same rights allowed every other citizen. I’m sure that’s a bit simplistic, and I’m obviously not a lawyer, but in any case it doesn’t sound like “judicial activism” to me. It sounds like the court looking at existing law and rendering a decision based on it.

  8. j.a.m. Says:

    Obviously “there is nothing in the state constitution that exempts gays and lesbians from the same rights allowed every other citizen”. The question is whether society ought to accord some kind of special sanction or recognition to domestic arrangements involving unrelated persons of a single sex. In issuing an ultimatum to the legislature demanding enactment of such a measure, the court overstepped its authority.

  9. DosPeros Says:

    That was succinctly put, jam. I have not read the opinion (and doubt if I will), but I suspect it is rooted in an equal protection and/or substantive dp analysis of the NJ’s constitution. (If that is wrong, I hope some one who has read the opinion corrects it).

    As a former Kansan, I can tell you all about out-of-control activist state supreme courts. The KSC went so far as to dip into the business of appropriations, ordering the state legislature to appropriate more money to public schools! It was complete LUNACY! The Kim Jong-il school of jurisprudence.

    This is why I’m a federalist at heart. Corrections are more easily made closer to home. Good for NJ, if this is what NJ citizens wanted — of course, we’ll never know, because they were never allowed to vote on it. The Courts are the only bastion for the left to push through their social agenda. Thanks God, the one thing George Bush hasn’t completely f-ed up (although not without trying, Harriet Meiers) is his SCOTUS appointments.

  10. Meredith Says:

    First of all, the judiciary’s function is to interpret laws, as well as to determine whether or not they are constitutional

    Second, if W is not opposed to civil unions, what difference does it make whether the judiciary interprets them into being or the legislature legislates them into being? (Spare me the responses about 9 men making decisions for everyone – I’d rather it be nine attorneys than 9 politicians making the law – that’s because most politicians don’t do a great job of writing statutes).

    What Bush said – either before or recently – was either a lie or intellectually dishonest. It’s hard to say which one.

  11. TM Lutas Says:

    Traditionally we have had a “soft” system of preferring childbirth and child raising in stable families that lead to productive citizens. We don’t generally get into the hard eugenics game like the Nazis (though we’ve toyed with it at times with judicially forced sterilization) or the Communists. By invalidating our “soft” system, the court forces a choice, to abandon all the other stuff that depends on an adequate birth rate or to adopt a “hard” system.

    I find it unlikely that we’re going to abandon social programs like medicare, social security, etc. entirely so the court is pushing us in a rather unwelcome direction and it’s obvious that they haven’t thought enough ahead to properly weigh the consequences. I hate this decision. It is short sided and activist.

  12. Justin Gardner Says:

    I deleted a comment from a troll. For the reason why, click here.

    And to the troll in question, GO AWAY!

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