Sonny to Courts: Put Up or Shut Up

The Governor today has urged the Attorney General to immediately move forward on the gay marriage issue and take it the Georgia Supreme Court.

The Governor is insisting that the Supreme Court deal with the issue by August 9th. If the Court has not made a ruling by then — or for that matter probably if it upholds the lower court — the Governor intends to call a Special Session for August 10th to run no later than the 17th, so that a new amendment can be passed in enough time to get on the November ballot.

Republicans are probably secretly thanking Judge Constance Russell.

Frankly, regardless of prior precedent, I think it would be very difficult for anyone to explain how the citizenry can adopt an amendment to the Constitution and have a court throw it out. Georgia courts have given themselves — the constitution only grants it via court interpretation — leeway in doing that, but it comes across to most people as anti-democratic.

This is a win for Republicans politically.

31 comments

  1. caroline says:

    Are they going to write another flawed amendment? The amendment was overturned due to it being unconstitutional. If this is such a big deal why didn’t they write an amendment that would pass constitutional muster? They knew it wouldn’t when they wrote it, according to what I’ve read.

  2. Demonbeck says:

    From the Cagle website…

    Cagle Blasts Gay Marriage Decision

    Gainesville, GA — State Senator and Lt. Governor Candidate Casey Cagle was sharply critical of a decision issued by a Fulton County Superior Court judge ruling against a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. The amendment was approved by Georgia voters, yet the judge ruled to strike it from the books based on a highly technical reading of the Georgia Constitution.

    “When the voters of our state cannot overwhelmingly approve a change to our Constitution without worrying about a judge striking it down, we have a serious problem with judicial activism. This ruling has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with the law,” said Cagle.

    “I strongly encourage our state government to fight this decision in as many legal venues as it takes to reverse this outrageous attempt to silence the voices of the vast majority of our citizens. If necessary, I will fully support any legislative efforts needed to ensure this political decision by a Fulton County judge does not stand,” Cagle continued.

  3. Rusty says:

    This is a win for Republicans politically.

    I don’t know. The special session Perdue is threatening to call seems shamefully wasteful to me. Gas is $3/gallon, corporations are bolting the state quicker than illegal immigrant field hands running from a chicken farm when a prankster calls “inmigración!” …and this is what presses the governor to call legislators back to the state House?

  4. Demonbeck says:

    Apparently, Reed does not oppose gay marriage. There is nothing on his website saying anything against this decision.

    Why does Ralph Reed believe that the citizen’s of this state should not have the ability to approve a change to our Constitution?

  5. Three Jack says:

    “This is a win for Republicans politically.” On the surface that seems to be the case. But many of us are fed up with the GOP’s incessant pandering to the supposed base made up of Robertson / Falwell myrmidons (twice in one day Bill). There are far more voters in the GOP leaning to the libertarian position these days due to the party not addressing fiscal and security issues in a conservative manner.

    If the GOP is so void of ideas that it must rely upon gay marriage, abortion or some other emotional issue every election cycle to win, then the end is near. Primary elections around the country are proving this to be true (see Pennsylvania results from yesterday for the latest).

  6. Decaturguy says:

    “This is a win for Republicans politically.”

    You would think so. But if a special session is called and a new Amendment is drafted, Republicans are going to have to decide what sort of amendment they are going to draft. That’s where it gets tricky.

    They can’t really draft the same amendment – or it would get struck down again.

    Do they just pass an amendment defining “marriage?”

    Or do they try to pass two amendments – one defining “marriage” and the other prohibiting same sex “unions.”

    If they try the dual approach, do they have the support in the legislature and the voters to pass both. Or do they risk people voting against “gay marriage” but not supporting prohibiting legal recognition of all same sex unions?

  7. Erick says:

    Caroline,
    This is what I mean — how can an amendment to a constitution be unconstitutional under the state constitution? That’s what amendments are for — to make something formerly unconstitution (or nonconstitutional) become constitutional.

    To me at least, it is a sign of a too powerful judiciary when the judiciary can rule a constitutional amendment unconstitutional based on the constitution being amended.

    They should interpret the law as best they can instead of hiding behind their precedent that constitutional amendments in Georgia can only be about one thing at a time. That’s a judicially imposed absurdity.

  8. caroline says:

    They knew it wouldn’t pass constitutional muster when they wrote it. They could have written it in a way that it wouldn’t have been overturned it seems to me.

    It’s kind of like amending the US Constitution w/o the consent of 2/3 of the states.

  9. Three Jack says:

    Erick, I am not a lawyer and don’t know the history of the ‘single subject rule’, but wonder how you can justify ignoring this law when it comes to constitutional amendments. It would seem that the legislature would have to abolish the ‘single subject rule’ before violating it as happened with the gay marriage amendment.

  10. jacewalden says:

    Three Jack,

    “There are far more voters in the GOP leaning to the libertarian position these days due to the party not addressing fiscal and security issues in a conservative manner.”

    Ain’t that the truth! And I’m a one of them.

  11. Decaturguy says:

    Erick, Erick, Erick. The single subject rule is not just judicial precedent – it is the plain language of the Constitution.

    Ga. Const., Art. X, Sec. I, Par. II provides that “When more than one amendment is submitted at the same time, they shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each amendment separately, provided that one or more articles or related changes in one or more articles may be submitted as a single amendment.”

    It is procedural law, not substantive. Certinaly you belive that all of the prerequisites must be in place (such as the necessary 2/3rds vote in both Houses) before a Constitutional Amendment can be properly ratified and put into effect. This is the same thing.

    This is not something the judiciary just made up in thin air. This is the plain language of the Constitution!

  12. George Allen 08 says:

    Demonbeck, are you kidding me? The lack of a statement on a website doesn’t mean that you are allowed to tell people what Reed thinks. If that’s the way the world worked, I could say this:

    Apparently Cagle does not oppose rape and murder. There is nothing on his website against rape and murder.

    In addition, everyone politically savvy enough to be on PP knows Ralph’s stance on gay marriage.

  13. Three Jack says:

    From the Georgia Constitution, Article X, Section I, Paragraph II — “When more than one amendment is submitted at the same time, they shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each amendment separately, provided that one or more new articles or related changes in one or more articles may be submitted as a single amendment.”

    I believe this to be just as relevant as other requirements outlined in Article X if the legislature wishes to amend the Georgia Constitution. While I am staunchly opposed to judicial activism, it is hard to see how Judge Russell’s ruling can be labeled as such considering the facts.

  14. Decaturguy says:

    How can you call judge’s “activist” and “too powerful” if you don’t even know what the Constitution says and read the opinion. In the opinion Judge Russell plainly says that “the wisdom, righness, morality or substantive constitutionality of the policies embodied in Amendment One are not at issue before this Court.”

  15. Three Jack says:

    Jace,

    The Republican Liberty Caucus (www.rlc.org) is on the right track:

    PURPOSE (from GA RLC site)

    The Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia works to advance the principles of limited government, individual liberty, and free markets within the Republican Party and throughout Georgia. Our candidates focus on a broad range of issues, including taxation, property rights, gun rights, free speech, federalism and the proper role of government.

    Offering a home for smaller government Republicans within the party, the Republican Liberty Caucus helps avoid a potential exodus to Libertarian, Constitution, and other third parties, which would open the door to big government victories from leftist candidates. The Republican Liberty Caucus is proud to promote the Republican Party’s historic small government message.

    While rolling back decades of government “nannyism” will require extensive public education and grassroots organizing, the most important means of changing public policy is to change public officials. Therefore, the Republican Liberty Caucus works to elect pro-liberty Republicans to offices at all levels, partisan and non-partisan, in both primary and general elections.

  16. debbie0040 says:

    Ralph Reed is opposed to gay marriage. He lost the 20,000 per month Microsoft account because he took positions against gay marriage and gay rights.

    Why do you think supporters of gay marriage are supporting Cagle? Because Reed took such a strong and vocal stand against it. I know Cagle opposes it, too but gay activists hate Reed. Some have even threatened to cross over and vote in the GOP Primary against Reed.

  17. Romegaguy says:

    Thurbert has already announced (early this am) that he is appealing this case.

    I am not one to buy into conspiracy theories but it wouldnt be beyond the realm of thought for the GOP leaders to have a flawed ammendment pass in order for it to be struck down in order for a special session to be called just in time to help turn out voters. Anyone else?

    This is also the first that I have heard that Ralph lost his golden teat from Microsoft because he was hard on gays (not saying he had a hardon FOR gays, mind you). If Ralph thought he could make some money from some group to try to convince James Dobson and his ilk that God is ok with gays he would take it, unless it was close to an election year and his name was on the ballot.

  18. Bill Simon says:

    Three Jack,

    I’m going to actually have to see it more often than twice per day…it’s a darned difficult word to spell. “Sychophant” is a more comfortable word to use.

    “Myrmidon” is too close to “arrhythmic” and “rhythm”…”y’s” are just too…”unnatural” for me. 🙂

  19. hccitizen says:

    Caroline, my dear lady. Have you any idea what the words “voter” and “majority” mean?

    “It’s kind of like amending the US Constitution w/o the consent of 2/3 of the states.” NO, it is like the voters of the State of Georgia DID pass the constitutional amendment as provided by law.

    For a ballot question to be “unconstitutional” requires that the queries not deal with a single objective. The objective was understood by the voters. And they said “ÿes” to the 2-pronged question. Now, that is like “Do you like chocolate syrup and ice cream?” You say yes once, but your clear meaning is that you like both ingredients and logically answer yes to liking both.

    Disliking the amendment does not mean, as the overpoweed activist judge decided because it does not follow her interpretation, that it is illegal. I favor allowing a couple million voters to decide instead of one poltically motivated jurist.

  20. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    The Governor made the right moves today and Im proud of him…we will prevail in this fight.

  21. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    Demonbeck, I may be a Cagle supporter..but that is pretty far fetched to accuse Reed of not opposing Gay Marrige. His position dosnt really need to be explained, we already know it.

  22. BernieT633 says:

    What I find odd is the state constitution refers to bills as being party to the single subject rule– amendments are resolutions with resolution numbers?

  23. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    If a special session were called in to correct the obstruction of this law by a liberal activist judge..I don’t think too many would mind it terribly. Howver, I don’t think a special session is necessary at this point…because we have other opptions.

  24. Bill Simon says:

    Of course, overshadowing ALL of the bullshit hoopla by the Governor is the fact that right now, this state has something like THREE LAWS ON THE BOOKS that prohibit gay marriage. They’ve never been challenged. No gays are trying to get married in this state.

    Maybe the Governor, in his Speshal Seshun, will also work on a law that bans the playing of the theme song to The Flintstones anywhere on TV or in a public place. You know, that line about having a “gay old time…” Surely Sadie Fields is concerned with our children hearing THAT snippet of a song and turning gay for life right then and there.

  25. Demonbeck says:

    McCain-Rice\’08
    May 17th, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    “Demonbeck, I may be a Cagle supporter..but that is pretty far fetched to accuse Reed of not opposing Gay Marrige.”

    As far fetched as this statement?

    “Caroline, I am not the least bit suprised that someone that supports gay marriage is a Cagle supporter. “

  26. caroline says:

    Wow, so if I like ice cream but not chocolate syrup I have to declare that I dislike chocolate syrup. I have to lie to answer the question?

    This is all a bunch of bull like Bill Simon says.

  27. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    Bill Simon, is there any politician you like??..Just wondering, because I have yet to hear you praise any public officials or candidates…you just insult them.

  28. Bill Simon says:

    The ones I like, I praise to their face by spending time talking to them away from a silly blog, meeting them for coffee/lunch, getting to know their office personnel, etc.

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