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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for August, 2010

When Courts Overturn “The Will Of The People”

Jim Burroway

August 6th, 2010

I love BTB readers. Yes, courts really can overturn “the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box” when the will of the people is discriminatory:

An interesting historical perspective was found at the Washington Blade contributed by poster Nameless Cynic:

Almost 50 years ago, the California Legislature passed the Rumford Fair Housing Act, which banned discrimination against “colored” renters or buyers. About 2/3 of California voters overturned the Rumford Act when they passed Proposition 14, which, like Proposition 8, amended the California Constitution, this time to say that Californians could refuse to sell or rent to anyone for any reason. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 14 violated the 14th Amendment, and it didn’t matter if 100% of Californians had voted for it — it was discrimination, and unconstitutional.

Yup. Here’s some background on what led to the Rumford Fair Housing Act to begin with, and you can read up on Prop 14 here. Time Magazine published this article about Prop 14 in 1964. Reitman v. Mulkey established the legal precedent that states could remove a constitutional amendment, even if it were passed by a popular vote, if the amendment supported racial discrimination.

[If someone has the Blade link, please pass it along in the comments so we can give credit where it’s due. Thanks.]