Are Liberties Subject to Majority Vote?

March 10, 2009

by Tobias Barrington Wolff

What are the structural protections of government for? What are we trying to protect when we safeguard the prerogatives of legislatures, executives and courts? Those questions took center stage in the arguments before the California Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Proposition 8 – the provision that deprived gay and lesbian couples of the right to marry last November. The answer is clear: One of the central purposes of the structural plan of government is to protect the rights of individual citizens. That answer must now guide the court in resolving this dispute.

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