Recently, US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down a California voter backed law banning same sex marriage in California. The backlash from the supporters of the ban has been furious. Yet, the judge’s clear reasonings in his judgment cannot be faulted. Critics fault the judge on everything else: the judge’s own homosexuality as his bias, the federal court’s interference into state laws, and the age old cry of “judicial tyranny”.
But what is it really about? The fury of the critics and the judge’s clear reasoning only contrast the real problem with Democracy, that Democracy is irrational ultimately, it is an excuse that justifies itself, and it doesn’t like to be contradicted by facts and laws, nor judged by anything other than mob morality.
Judge Walker cannot be said to be biased merely for his sexual orientation. As one of my own law professors commented, “are the critics suggesting that an African American judge (such as Supreme Court Justice Thomas) cannot preside over a case of affirmative action?”
Judge Walker purposefully and deliberately attempted to open his court to public viewing to show his unbiased proceeding. After that, to make himself even less apparently biased, he conducted a trial largely based upon factual evidence of experts from both sides of the case, and what else? Science. Why? One can’t criticize him of bias when he let both sides present as much evidence and experts as they wanted (within reason). But the moral supporters of the ban presented only 2 weak experts, both did rather poorly upon cross examination.
The opposition of the ban presented mountains of expert studies that showed that homosexual relationships (in documented study cases from many countries) are just as healthy as heterosexual relationships in society.
Failing the factual evidence, the supporters of the ban simply fell back on moral arguments based upon traditional morality, and afterwards, criticizing the practice of “judicial tyranny” by the federal court.
What is “judicial tyranny”? It’s the argument that if courts overrule the will of the voters, then the courts act as tyrants. And in this case, if the judge overrules the Morality of the voters, then the judge is a tyrant.
Does that argument hold water? Perhaps in US today. But that argument simply exposes the real problem.
You have heard this argument before from the “Democracy Advocates”: Let the People decide for themselves, (especially applied to China). Who cares if the People are irrational or uneducated in delicate matters, let them decide for themselves.
What happened here is that the People decided with their usual gut feel for the issues. Morality is more important, who cares about facts, let’s get on in ignorance and prejudice.
But Democracy is being judged EVERY DAY by the world, whether in a US court or in the world opinions, whether with facts or with religious morality.
A different verdict lies here, that whether this democracy can stand by the facts and the laws, or will it stand by its own version of religious morality much like in Iran?
My guess is the PEOPLE will likely be irrational, even when given such a clear choice.