Abortion, affirmative action, gay marriage – all of these intensely controversial issues keep getting decided in the judicial branch, where there is no recourse or change, instead of the legislative branch, where lawmakers have to face the voters within a year or two. A bad legislative decision can be reversed by “throwing the bums out”; a bad judicial decision remains until enough septuagenarian Supreme Court justices die off.
The intensity with which the Democratic party has resisted letting the legislature decide these issues – even on topics like partial-birth abortion – could be interpreted as a full-scale concession on their part that they’ll never build a legislative majority for these positions.
So why, oh why, aren’t Republicans touting that early and often? Why aren’t they saying that their fight is to keep the nation’s most sensitive and hotly contested issues settled by those who are accountable to voters, rather than those appointed for life? With all this talk from Harry Reid and the Democrats about checks and balances and the ability of the minority to have a say, why aren’t Republicans emphasizing that this fight is exactly about that, making sure the voters still get to have the final say on these issues, and can adjust the course of the ship of state accordingly, rather than whatever international legal precedent Ruth Bader Ginsberg feels is appropriate today? Should the final word on the most important political issues be decided by whether or not Sandra Day O’Connor is in a bad mood from getting cut off in traffic on her way to work that morning?
(Emphasis added.) This message is a winner, I think, but our side still lost this important battle. How did we cede the high ground on this to those who actually occupy the low ground?