Courts rule

Published October 9, 2014

By Tom Campbell

By Tom Campbell, Exeutive Producer and Moderator, NC SPIN, October 9, 2014.

More and more frequently courts have become not just arbiters but de facto legislators of laws. Perhaps we can blame this on a stagnant Congress, partisan legislatures or a more litigious society, but courts on both state and federal levels have become increasingly important in all phases of our life, notably education, healthcare, personal relationships and elections. Two examples this week demonstrate that fact.


North Carolina’s legislature passed election law changes in 2013 that were immediately challenged. The complexity of the case demanded adequate preparation, so a judge determined the trial would be conducted next summer. In the interim, a lower court ruled May’s primary elections would be conducted according to the new law. In August, U.S. District Judge Thomas Shroeder declared plaintiffs had not demonstrated that minorities or others were significantly disadvantaged by the new law and upheld that decision for November’s elections. Last week a three-judge Circuit Court of Appeals stayed two provisions halting same-day registration and out-of-precinct provisional votes but on Wednesday, the U. S. Supreme Court intervened to negate that ruling and again affirmed November’s elections will be held according to the 2013 law.


Voters and boards of elections are rightfully scratching their heads in confusion over the off-again, on-again rulings. In times of confusion voters usually stay home and we suspect that will be the case on November 4th, making it impossible to declare whether the lower vote resulted from voter suppression, as plaintiffs contend, or over confusion over how the elections are to be conducted.


The Supreme Court was also involved in another momentous decision Monday, this one involving the highly divisive same-sex marriage laws passed by various states. In 2012, North Carolina voters gave a 60 percent affirmation to an amendment to our Constitution proclaiming that marriage was between one man and one woman. Other states passed similar laws, all of which were challenged in court.


U.S. Circuit Courts have unanimously ruled these laws are invalid and the Supreme Court upheld the lower court rulings. An issue so contentious, divisive and important to so many people deserved the full attention, hearing and decision by our nation’s highest court, but instead of a clear and decisive ruling neither side of this debate is totally satisfied.


North Carolina’s legislative leadership vows to hire outside counsel (since the Attorney General has announced he won’t pursue the issue further) and appeal the verdict, but most everyone agrees such an appeal would be more for show than it would be about the hope of ultimately prevailing.


Those opposing same-sex unions need to recognize it is now legal and move on, but the reverberations of that decision will be felt in business, in religion and in government. It will decidedly shape our future, just as the North Carolina Supreme Court’s Leandro decision changed public education. Last year the U. S. Supreme Court essentially affirmed Obamacare, changing our healthcare system. And many of us clearly recall the court decision that gave the 2000 presidential election to George Bush, as well as the momentous 1950’s Brown vs. the Board of Education civil rights decision.


Court rulings are unarguably playing a major role in how we live and conduct our lives. We’re not sure whether that is a good thing or bad, but it is truth.


October 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm
Len Bull says:

Well done Tom! Keep up the good work with your program!


October 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm
John Butero says:

No, we don't have to simply accept this and move on. Something has to be done about federal judges overturning the will of the state legislature and the residents of a state. The federal judges have been constantly violating the 10Th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with impunity, and when that is mentioned, they make fun of the person making the complaint and call them 10Thers, or something similar. We need to make a change in how someone becomes a judge. I suggest they be elected to 4 year terms. The federal judiciary has already been politicized, so why not have elections? If they know their jobs are on the line, they won't be so quick to go against the will of the people. Another possible solution is to abolish the federal judiciary, and let the final decision makers be the state Supreme Court. Let the states decide for themselves. If neither of these solutions works, then I am ready to start pulling states out of the union. I am sick and tired of liberals/progressives going to federal judges when they don't get their way, and having these dictators in black robes ruling in their favor. If I was the Governor in North Carolina, I would declare these rulings null and void and refuse to honor them, and tell the judges to get out of my state. They are violating their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution, so their rulings are invalid. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right to gay marriage, and if there is, then what of polygamy or any other kind of marriage? Where is the clamor for that? How about pedophiles who want to marry children? After all, they can't help who they are attracted to.

This ruling is an abomination, but it is not a surprise. Judges have been overstepping their bounds for years. Roe vs Wade is not based on an honest interpretation of the Constitution. The author of Roe himself said he knew it was not the author of the Constitution's intent to guarantee a right to an abortion, but he thought women should have that right, so he created one. I am saying, enough is enough, and I will support whatever actions is necessary to take back this country.