Thursday, November 13, 2008

Support the CA Supreme Court

While we’re focusing on JTI and the Courage protest, we should also shed some light on legal challenge and the controversy that could lead to.

A friend and I have been watching the discussion that’s ensued since the election and there is an interesting concern emerging regarding what could happen to our allies on the California supreme court if they stand with us.

As California’s court is composed of elected justices, their ability to stand on principle is significantly more constrained than the US Supreme Court.  Given that a decision in our favor would be viewed by our opponents as overriding the will of the people, our allies could very well face re-election problems at the ballot box.   An angry movement of bigotry could not only remove our rights, but replace the justices with less friendly socially conservative ones.

As it happens right now, the YES on 8 bullhorn is preemptively stoking anger at the judiciary in California. 

Note this quote from the 11/12 YES on 8 Mailer:

Although past court decisions seem to favor our case, we cannot trust the same judicial system that overturned Proposition 22 to protect our Election Day decision.

We must remain active and hold our government officials accountable. This battle is far from over. Join us as we continue to push forward in our defense of marriage!

I think the reality is that when they say "we cannot trust the same judicial system..." that's a coded threat to the state supreme court.  If they the court reverses the bigotry of Prop 8, they will suffer.

This is not the first time this has happened.  Take Rose Bird, for example.  She was the first female justice on the CA supreme court, also the Chief Justice.  In 1986, after 10 years on the bench as a progressive ally, she was removed by a revenge effort by conservatives.

From her Wikipedia Page:

Rose Elizabeth Bird (November 2, 1936–December 4, 1999) served for 10 years as the 25th Chief Justice (and first female Justice & only female Chief Justice) of the California Supreme Court until removed from that office by the voters. Bird was targeted by well-funded conservative and pro death penalty groups whose withering attacks painted her as a soft-on-crime liberal. After being outspent two to one, she lost her reconfirmation bid and left office in 1987.

So, we must stand up for our progressive allies on the California court.  They stood up for us earlier this year when they ruled, despite the state voters having approved prop 22, that same sex marriage is a right that we have.  Now, they will likely face a pitched battle to either bow to our enemies or face removal.

For bloggers, we need to get this message out in the short term.  This dovetails well with the protests this weekend.   There have been calls to ensure that these protests are Americans expressing their right to equality, a founding principle.  People are suggesting bringing American flags as well as rainbow flags. 

If you can, please repeat this message and encourage protesters to show their support for the California supreme court.  They’ve shown their support for us, now we need to support them!

If you’re protesting yourself, and can carry a sign, consider one supporting the court.

A quick brainstorm in my head came up with:

  • “Defend our Rights, Defend the Court”
  • "I (heart) the judicial system"
  • “activist judges eliminate rights. support a supreme court that preserves them!”

Anyone have any other clever ideas?

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