Comments about ‘Greg Bell: Conservatives and liberals alike will regret dilution of equal protection’

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Published: Friday, June 20 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment applies to US citizens. It explicitly forbids states from applying the law unequally to different groups of citizens. You are arguing that its true meaning is exactly the opposite of what it says; that states have the right to treat different groups of citizens in an unequal manner.

Frozen Fractals
Salt Lake City, UT

"Of necessity, there is a check on legislative powers — judicial review of laws for constitutionality. When a court considers invalidating a law, it must proceed with great restraint and deference to the will of the people expressed in the law before them. "

Every law was passed with a majority, either from a legislature, or by a vote from the people. what's the point of judicial review if it can't counteract the "will of the people"?

Huntsville, UT

"Equal protection is a principle essential to the rule of law."

And yet, you WANT to deny equal protection of marriage laws to LGBT couples? Isn't that exactly the opposite of what you just said, Mr. Bell?

"..When a court considers invalidating a law, it must proceed with great restraint and deference to the will of the people expressed in the law before them."

--- No sir, they must consider the Constitutionality of the law ONLY. It doesn't matter if 99.999% of the people want a law that violates the rights of the .001%, if that law is unconstitutional, it is the responsibility of the court to rule on that issue alone, the "will of the people" doesn't trump the US Constitution.

"By holding a law unconstitutional, the court takes the matter out of the people’s hands."

--- The courts are there to protect ALL the people, Mr. Bell, not just the majority.

However, none of us knows the effects of same sex marriage —... and a millions other things. "

--- So, you're willing to discriminate against LGBT AMERICANS over an "unknown"? Pathetic attitude actually.

Springville, UT

Wow, if there was ever a stretch and distortion in the battle over same sex marriage, this is it. You know, this same piece could have been written 60 years ago in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. Talk about exaggerated hand-wringing that, after all is said and done, is nonsense.

Provo, UT


But I have a feeling that we will all regret the court's decision on bribery being a form of free speech a lot more. Yet, I haven't heard any conservatives complain. Until I see conservatives complain about that, don't expect liberals to complain about the equal protection.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

Throughout this debate I have found it disturbing to see government officials and lawyers show an inability or an unwillingness to view the law objectively despite their personal biases.

As I understand it, lawyers who reviewed Amendment 3 prior to it being placed on the ballot informed leaders that the law could be unconstitutional. A Google search tells me that the author was a member of the Utah state legislature at this time and presumably was aware of this analysis. Yet now that this very conclusion is being reached by judge after judge after judge, Mr. Bell is concerned that equal protection will be "diluted"?

Sir, what in your legal training tells you that prohibiting law-abiding, tax-paying citizens from exercising rights afforded to others serves to weaken rather than strengthen equal protection?

I'm really disappointed that so many of my fellow Americans believe that their religious beliefs come before the laws that protect their right to practice those beliefs. I really think you've gotten things out of order and that this is weakening us as a nation.

Huntsville, UT

Mr. Bell says that: "Equal protection is a principle essential to the rule of law." Then he turns around and tries to justify denying equal protection to a minority group of citizens.

Does anybody else see the cognitive disconnect here?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

I think the dnews needs to take a basic citizenship and government class.

What's the point of having a judicial branch if it cannot overturn the sometimes unjust "will of the people?"

If we are to be ruled by "the majority" then let's cut out the judicial branch and save us a lot of money.

What exactly is the role of the judicial branch? Repubs?

Provo, UT

There needs to be a way to remove activist judges who make law instead of interpret law. Perhaps lower judges could review the rulings of higher judges and vote to retain or remove them. Too many higher judges today are ignoring the will of the people while imposing their personal will.

clearfield, UT

The trouble with our judicial system today is that judges have become the law makers instead of just the law reviewers. And, too much power ends up in the hands of too few. Just look at that patent office decision about the Redskins. A two to one vote, and the Redskins lose their protection. One person. Even the President does not have that kind of power. Roe/Wade. One vote on a ruling that had to create constitutional rights not found in the written constitution. Look at many of the 5/4 decisions and see the politics. Bottom line. Whether conservative or liberal, judges are really nothing more than political action arms, not true judges who just use the constitution as their guidline. A true judge will rule against his or her personal opinion. That seems to rarely happen these days on any court. Look how predictable the Supreme Court is. Liberal and conservative judges. You can predict about 90% of the time how a ruling will come out just by the political standing of the judges. Definately one of the weakest parts of how our country runs, and one I don't think was intended.


The irony is that marriage laws could hardly have been administered in a more equal manner than they were. There was no test for sexual attraction or whether the two applicants loved each other. Yet the argument for same sex marriage is that same sex couples ought to be allowed to marry because they are sexually attracted to each other and they love each other. How is that in any way related to the laws governing marriage?

We live in a post-rational age.

Burke, VA

A couple of comments about the contents of this essay:

“When a court considers whether equal protection requires changing an important legal or cultural institution or practice such as traditional marriage, judges typically consult such things as established legal precedents, national and community mores,... and relevant public practices when the Constitution was adopted.”

That statement would seem to conflict with the findings of the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Brown vs. The Board of Education which stated in the Sace brief Summary:

“The question presented in these cases must be determined not on the basis of conditions existing when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but in the light of the role of public education in American life today”


“Judicial confirmations will become mere political vettings. Presidents and senators will pick political loyalists rather than great jurists. The rule of law will increasingly become the rule of men and women in black robes.”

That is exactly what the process involves today. If that were not the case would the Supreme Court have ruled in favor of George Bush in the 2000 election? Would Rhenquist, Thomas and Scalia have pushed that issue if it favored Al Gore?

Salt Lake City, UT

Had Mr. Bells logic been in force our religion would have been exterminated by the "will of the people" This is an insulting letter. Mr. Bell has the right to his opinion and we have the right to give ours. My opinion is that I would not want to work with this man in a business as he openly discriminates against a portion of his own employees. He shows a lack of empathy, and he shows a lack of knowledge of the legal and judicial systems.

I may not agree with what they have done, but I'm sure proud the judicial system is protecting the rights and privilege's of ALL citizens.

American Fork, UT

So far, from this liberal's perspective...no. In fact, I'm grateful for the constitution and judges that protect us and our rights from the tyranny of the local mob, or the state. In this case, we need to get some standards in place such that people married in one state are married in all.

Virginia Beach, VA

The author is projecting.

He is attributing to his opponent one of his own bad habits.

"Conservatives" do that a lot.

Projection and Denial are their two favorite Freudian Defense Mechanisms.

The author who seeks to deny equal protection to others is claiming that it his opposition, not he, who is engaging in this unsupportable, unethical, unacceptable, and un-American behavior.

. . . Textbook projection.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Greg Bell is going through some rather strenuous contortions to persuade us that legalizing same sex marriage weakens constitutional government and dilutes rather than extends equal protection to a group of citizens that has no other remedy than courts of law.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

By invalidating these laws judges are not diluting equal protection they are strengthening it. These laws were in violation of the amendment and the judges did the job they were supposed to by declaring them unconstitutional. This is an example of our system of government functioning exactly how it is meant to.

Salt Lake City, UT

The Founding Fathers deliberately created an independent judiciary. It was to protect from what can be in some cases, "the tyranny of the majority." And an issue has to have a long tradition to be a valid in the courts and that long history gives it more weight? The slave trade, slavery and segregation had a long history. Women not voting was a long tradition. I find it ironic that Bell touts rule of law over the arbitrary rule of man. Is not Amendment 3 the arbitrary rule of man (the voters) to deny equal protection under the law?

Provo, UT

You would think that a people kicked out of Missouri and Illinois would know the risks of letting the move rule.

You would also think that a people which relies on the equal protection clause to preach the gospel 2 by 2 and perform temple ordinances would value the protection of the constitution.

My how far we've come.

We're essentially betraying our ancestors. We were once the bullied. Now, we're quickly becoming the bullies.

How sad!

South Jordan, UT

"By holding a law unconstitutional, the court takes the matter out of the people’s hands."

This is emphatically not true. The People and their elected representatives are free to try and persuade a significant majority of their fellow citizens to pass a Constitutional amendment to overrule the judiciary.

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