Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court Rulings and State Authority

I'm going to take a dive into politics right now.
The Supreme Court made several rulings that should appeal to people who believe strongly in state rights and want less federal oversight.
First, the overturning of part of the Voter's Rights Act.  I don't know whether this move was good or not, I don't have that much knowledge about the issues that were involved in this and I am distrustful about how this decision will be used, especially with the new laws that Texas wants to implement.  However, it was a move that should appeal to those who believe in the sovereignty of the state.  The Supreme Court removed federal oversight of voting laws in specific states and regions.  That means that these states now have the power to make their own laws without federal control. 
Second, the overturning of DOMA.  This means that what a state defines as a marriage is a marriage in the eyes of the federal government.  If a couple living in a state with marriage equality gets a marriage license from the state, the federal government cannot say that marriage license is not legit in the eyes of the federal government.  The state decides what is a marriage within that state's borders, and the federal government has to respect that.  The state holds more authority in defining marriage.
Third, the dismissal of the Prop 8 case.  In this dismissal, the Supreme Court is saying that a federal court is not going to be the ultimate decision maker for an issue within that state. They let the ruling of the District Court within the state of California to stand, and as a result, marriage equality has been enacted in the state of California.  They let the state court decide what marriage is in the state of California and they refused to make a sweeping federal decision.
All these decisions upheld state authority in law making and removed or refused federal oversight.
What do I think about all this personally?
I think that I need to learn a whole lot more about the Voting Rights Act.  But if you're a citizen over the age of 18 and aren't currently incarcerated, you have the right to vote.  Nothing should hinder your access to the polls. I hope that the Supreme Court's decision will not result in laws and redistricting that would inhibit people's right to vote from being recognized or minority voices from being heard in law making bodies.  
I am happy that DOMA is repealed. 
I am also satisfied with the Prop 8 decision.  I recognize that the Supreme Court could have made a decision that would have brought marriage equality to more states or even the entire United States, but looking at this from a purely legal standpoint, I think they made the right decision. 
I wrote this because I know some conservative friends of mine think that the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions had a "liberal bias", but actually all these decisions that were laid out this week show a respect for state authority.  If you're someone who pushes for state rights, you should be satisfied with the Supreme Court's decisions, no matter your own personal ideology on the subject matter.

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