Comments about ‘Judge or king?’

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Published: Sunday, Dec. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Eugene, OR

Translation: Someone in a position of authority disagrees with me. Wah wah wah.

Heber City, UT

Whatever your views are of inter-racial marriage, whatever your views of women voting, whatever your views of public school integration ... the will of millions of prejudiced citizens had to be wiped away by a judge or judges relying on ... Wait for it ... The 14th amendment.

Salt Lake City, UT

What is the point of having judges review whether laws are constitutional if you believe they should be unable to strike down majority views? There'd be no purpose of any lawsuit ever challenging any law.

Your issue is not that a judge can rule something unconstitutional that has majority support, your issue is that you disagree with the idea that what was struck down is unconstitutional.

Bob K
porland, OR


Judge Shelby did not ask for this case or make a ruling just to upset folks.

People who felt their rights were quashed by Amendment 3 sued in Federal Court. The Judge looked at the evidence and had no choice, if he remembered his oath. Married people get well over 1000 Federal benefit advantages, so it is hard to find a legal reason to deny them marriage. Moral/religious reasons do not apply in court.

Attacking the judge may be fun, but either he follows the Constitution or he does not.

Tooele, UT

Re: "[Shelby] is an activist with an agenda."

Hear, hear.

The first rule of statutory or constitutional construction is that judges should give effect to the intent of those promulgating a law. There exists, not the slightest evidence that anyone involved in promulgating the 14th Amendment had the any indication or intent that it be twisted into a disingenuous justification of some liberal political cause-du-jour, like LGBT "marriage."

The second is that lower-court judges shouldn't presume to substitute theirs' for the reasoning of higher-court precedent, though personal opinions may differ from those of the higher court.

Shaping and mutilating the Constitution to advance one's personal political interest is the very height of judicial corruption -- as Shelby, himself, indicated during his nominating process -- and should result in removal from the bench.

It's just sad when someone of Mr. Shelby's experience and qualifications chooses, for obvious political reasons, to violate his oath of office, abandon both personal and judicial ethics, and repudiate the wisdom and canon that has served Anglo-Saxon law so well for centuries.

"Progressives," when presented with an opportunity for greatness, invariably choose common, callow, liberal hubris, instead.

Dietrich, ID

On facebook and other places people like to quote 14t amendment to defend that right. When mentioned it does not exist will twist it and call others stupid.

Durham, NC

"when a lone judge becomes a king whose opinion can wipe away the will of millions of citizens, then goodbye to federalism and representative government. "

Possibly true, except that isn't what has happened. Even our court systems have recourse, a system of checks and balances - through the appeal process. Whether criminal, civil, or constitutional, the courts provide a way to fix their errors.

People are acting like this was an arbitrary out of the blue act, that some rogue judge without due process, made a proclamation changing the course of world events. This is only true if you haven't been paying attention.

You also need to remember that the predisposition of the courts are to give the benefit of doubt to granting rights, rather than restricting rights. That holds true in this case as well. Utah is trying to restrict rights from a class of people, something the courts for the last 50 years have resisted.

If this decision caught you buy surprise.... you haven't been paying attention.

Burke, VA

Thanks for presenting your opinion Justice Russon. I can't figure out why your opinion isn't considered equal to Justice Shelby's who was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, including Utah's two Senators with one of them stating he is "pre-eminently qualified" and predicting that he would be "an outstanding judge." Why won't they consider your opinion?

Nashua, NH


It aways troubles me when someone doesn't understand how our form of government works and your letter is an example of this. Under our form of government, laws made by the Legislative branch, rules made by the Executive branch, and even referenda passed by a majority of the voters are *ALL* subject to review by the Judicial branch. And the Judicial branch can only approve of the actions taken by the other branches of government (and the actions taken through referenda) if those actions are in conformance with the Federal and State Constitutions.

Laws, rules, and referenda that attempt to deny groups of persons their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights are, therefore unconstitutional and cannot be approved by the Judiciary. And it doesn't matter if 100% of the Legislature or 100% of the people voted for the law or referendum; if it's unconstitutional, it's unconstitutional and cannot stand.

Ogden, UT

Sorry, Gary, you're wrong. A popular vote CANOT override Constitutional protections, regardless the percentage of the vote, and that is exactly what Amendment 3 tried to do. Judge Shelby's decision was strongly, and accurately, baaed on the Constitution. And yes, the 14th Amendment protects the right of people to marry, regardless whether those marriages are opposite-se or same sex marriages. The state of Utah could not raise any Constitutionally sound arguments to support its decision. I've read the decision, and it is good law.

Have you read it? If you did, did you really understand what it says? Somehow, baed on your letter, I think not.

Huntsville, UT

Gary, this might help you understand:

"In explaining the rationale for federal judges to be appointed for life, Hamilton emphasized the critical role of an independent federal judiciary to take the politically unpopular action of checking unconstitutional legislative acts. One duty of those jurists, Hamilton wrote, is "to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all of the reservations of particular rights or privileges [in the Constitution] would amount to nothing."

Op-ed: Independent federal judiciary is a cornerstone of Constitution

By Robert J. Adler

Castle Valley, Utah


Hate to break it to you, but Shelby isn't alone in his opinion, neither at the official level nor the grass roots.

You can only thank religion for the perversion that blinds any of us to the most obvious examples of discrimination.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Judge Shelby did exactly what judges are supposed to do. He did address the facts presented by both the Plaintiffs and the State. The plaintiffs' points sound like LGBT talking points because they are LGBT talking points and they are backed up and supported be real world data. The State's points were discounted by Judge Shelby because the State presented no supporting data -real world or otherwise.

Judge Shelby made a summary judgment ruling (a ruling without a trial) because that is what he was asked - including by the State of Utah - to do.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to issue a stay because they don't think the State will win its appeal of Judge Shelby's decision.

Instead of repeating the unsupportable hyperbole that denies the Constitutional responsibilities of judges, why don't you focus on helping the State come up with a legally valid reason prohibiting same-sex marriage? Because so far, no one has been able to present one.

South Jordan, UT

Remember that "divinely inspired" Constitution you conservatives are always rambling about? That very Constitution set up this system. An independent judiciary is at the core of the system of government the Founders created.

This is not the end of federalism, states rights, or the will of the people--all of those things will continue to exist within the bounds of the Constitution as they were always intended to do.

Park City, UT

This letter is an example of someone that has no comprehension of how the system works. States cannot pass unconstitutional laws... even if "millions" of people vote for them.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When all else fails, conservatives seem to revert to name-calling and innuendos to divert the government from its job.

When millions of people vote for the opinions of a few private men who claim imaginary knowledge that exceeds the desires of real living human beings in an election largely controlled by those men, it is hard for me to think that Judge Robert Selby is not as honest and worthy as any other man.

Freedom is Constitutional. Freedom is having the ability, time and permission to do the things that the individual wants to do.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

@ KJB. Every dictator, tyrant and despot in history was a "person in authority". Too much authority in the hands of any person can be very dangerous! Wise up!

Tooele, UT

Re: "Whatever your views . . . of women voting . . . ."

I know you didn't intent it, but yours' is actually an argument against Shelby and LGBT activists.

The 14th Amendment was intended to foster racial equality. As it turned out, rather than being a single event, it only began a process that continued at least through Brown v. Board of Education [school integration] and Loving v. Virginia [interracial marriage].

Women being enabled to vote was a process begun when Wyoming and Utah extended the vote to women in the late 1800s, and was completed with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

That's the Constitutional model. It's what LGBT activists SHOULD have done, rather than disingenuously shopping for "judges" that would corruptly hijack the 14th Amendment and apply it to purposes its champions never intended.

Female suffrage, NOT racial equality is the appropriate model.

LGBT activists and Shelby simply chose to cynically cheat, rather than follow the Constitution, as did real Americans such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

That's why we still remember Ms. Anthony and Ms. Stanton. Shelby's name will be forgotten next week.

Salt Lake City, Utah

@ Procur: The world as it exists now is far different from the world that existed at the time the 14th Amendmdnt was written and ratified and even more different that the world that existed when the Constituton itself was written.

Do you really believe the Constitution and its Amendments only cover situations that may have been foreseen at the time they were written?

The authors of the 14th Amendment didn't intend for it to cover interracial marriage? Do you believe Living v. Virginia was decided wrong? What about Brown v. Board of Education?

Telephones, cell phones, computers, and email are mentioned nowhere in the Constitution and were obviously not foreseen by our Founding Fathers. Do you believe the Bill of Rights applies to them or is it perfectly legal for the government to gather any and all data it wants from them?

Some argue that the Second Amendment only applies to the types of guns available when it was written because modern weapons could not have been envisioned by the authors. Do you accept that limitation?

Was the Constitution written for a changing world or only for the world that existed at the time it was written?

American Fork, UT

Republic or mob rule?

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