"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gay Marriage In New Jersey – This Year’s October Surprise?

New Jersey’s Supreme Court is liberal to be sure and has shown no reticence in just making stuff up - the state’s Constitution and the common meaning of words ignored to reach desired results. Still, we think gay marriage advocates may be in for a letdown when the long anticipated ruling comes out tomorrow.

New Jersey’s attorney general has argued that the Legislature, not the state Supreme Court, should be the branch of government to make gay marriage legal. That seems logical and given that other high courts have recently reached that conclusion, we strongly suspect New Jersey’s court will rule in favor of the state. But we aren’t betting on the court’s logic or judicial restraint, but rather on the political calculus.

Up until today we wouldn’t have had an opinion one way or the other as to how the court would rule. But the on again, off again, and finally on again schedule for handing down the decision tomorrow is a big tip of the hand.

A ruling in favor of gay marriage would be topic one in the state, drowning out all other issues for the balance of the campaign. Major reverberations would be felt around the country and the last thing Democrats, and particularly Bob Menendez, need are hot debates about activist courts and gay marriage.

The timing of the court’s decision can be controlled and a decision to legalize gay marriage in New Jersey certainly could have waited until after the election. A ruling against gay marriage can’t hurt Democrats and may well help their electoral chances.

Court imposed gay marriage in New Jersey is not going to happen. We might be wrong - but if gay marriage becomes legal in New Jersey tomorrow, the ruling will become know as The October Surprise of 2006.



6 Comments:

At 10:03 PM, Blogger jas said...

i find it funny that gay marriage needs to be dealt with on the national level, but beastiality is something that is left up to the states.

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Allura said...

I think it's a choice better made by the legislature than the judicial branch, but I think NJ ought to go ahead and legalize it. Why are the decisions between two consenting adults even a topic of discussion?

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger The Pot said...

Its not overly surprising that the opinion is coming out today, since today is really Chief Justice Poritz's last day on the Court (tomorrow is her 70th birthday, and the New Jersey Constitution has a mandatory retirement age of 70 for all judicial officers).

Yes, it could have waited. There is precedent for allowing a retired justice to continue writing the opinion even after his or her retirement as long as the votes were cast before retirement.

But if the decision was made and the opinion complete, isn't it improper for the Court to hold back its release just because of the potential political consequences in an election 2 weeks away? In a way they would then be playing politics through the timing of their decisions.

When the decision is done, it should be issued, even if election day is 2 weeks away.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Dino P. Crocetti said...

Wow, I'm so torn right now! Should I root for the State Supreme Court to legalize Gay Marriage!? My brain is splitting in half!!

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger lawhawk said...

Here's the decision. It's long and quite complicated, but if the syllabus is accurate, we've got a punt of sorts. The Court finds problems with the existing law, and demands the legislature correct within 180 days.

I haven't had time to digest the whole case yet, so take for what it's worth.

 
At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Jayson said...

Quite worthwhile material, thank you for the post.
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