What's the opposite of "surprised"?

Well, well, well.

From the Star-Ledger (via Andrew):
Support for gay marriage in Trenton is draining away like water from a tub as nervous legislators scurry towards safer political ground.

"I can’t say I’m confident now," says Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), a lead sponsor. "I think we still have a pretty good chance. But people are getting nervous and weak-kneed."

Bad as that sounds, know that Weinberg is spinning this as best she can. Several other senators, supporters and opponents, say the movement is all but dead.


Gay activists are bitter about what they see as betrayal. Democrats, especially Gov. Jon Corzine, told them over and over to wait for this moment.

And now they are getting tepid support, or none at all.

"Many of us in the progressive movement just want to throw up," says Steve Goldstein of Garden State Equality, the state’s leading gay rights group. "Democrats put out one hand out to ask for money, and with the other they stab you in the back."

Perhaps most important, the Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey threw its muscle into the fight. Bishops and priests spoke against it from the pulpit, and more than 150,000 parishioners signed petitions in opposition.

Several legislators said they were impressed by that show of strength, given that Catholics make up more than 40 percent of the state’s population.


Only 2 percent of voters said this is the most important issue to them. And these skittish Democrats are almost all in gerrymandered districts that were drawn to ensure they win by large margins.

Ask senators privately what would happen if they all voted their consciences, and you get the same answer over and over: It would pass with votes to spare.

But our leaders, these puny men and women, are too scared to stand up and be counted.
I like that "puny." What an apposite word.

So, let's see. Cowardly politicians? Check. Political muscle of Roman Catholic church cited as major influence? Check. Realization that gay rights issues are a complete non-starter? Check. Crushing ennui on my part? Check, underline, highlight.

If I lived in New Jersey, you can bet your hindquarters that I would be saving my bright, shiny pennies when the Democratic Party made fund-raising calls. As it happens, I live in a state where the Democrats actually demonstrated that they have some stones, so I'm happy to continue to support them. The national party? Not so much.

And I think this shows once again why arguments that a judicial solution to our problem are somehow illegitimate fall flat. The political process is clearly failing us, and it is for precisely this kind of situation that we have an independent judiciary in the first place.


  1. This is just sad. You want to do an end run around the public in the name of your superior morality; you know you are right, therefore you are justified in using our black-robed masters to bypass the court of public opinion.

    The Declaration of Independence says, and I quote, "... Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Now you lightly discard the "consent of the goverened" part, because you can't get what you want when you want it.

    The counterarguments? Remember that if you can overrule public opinion via the Courts, some group with their own Holy Cause, Right and Just, can override public opinion as well, perhaps to your detriment. I'm just sayin. Also, if you short circuit the political process in order to get yours in a hurry, well, you haven't changed people's mind by reason, only by force. Hey, what can go wrong?

    Finally, I am compelled by my better angels to point out that President Scary-smart, the hero of Progressives everywhere, has been put on the hook by a Reagan appointed judge in the Karen Golinski case. Let's see how the Ditherer-in-Chief handles this court order. What are the odds that the administration fights this order? And if he fights this order, what are the chances this Progressive administration will support your court challenge?

  2. The "court of public opinion" is no such thing. Courts are for the evaluation of legal claims on their merits. They are not an "end run" around anything. They are a legitimate part of our government, no less so than the legislature or the executive. They exist in part to provide redress to legal wrongs when other means of doing so have failed.

    And yes, John, I understand that the courts can render judgements I don't like. The Supreme Court frequently does. In those situations, I engage in a process known as "sucking it up." If our pursuit of marriage equality through the courts were to meet a similar fate, that it what I would be obliged to do in that case, as well. But your folderol about "black-robed masters" is risible.

    Re: your last point, is that my cue to start vigorously defending the President vis-avis his stance on marriage equality? Have you not read what I've already written on this? I consider Obama a terrible disappointment on this issue, and won't be contributing to his re-election campaign unless his administration changes its priorities. You're expecting... what from me? To deny that Reagan appointed decent people to the bench? Help me out here.

  3. Just noticed my... interesting syntax in the second-to-last sentence of my second paragraph above. Whoops-a-daisy.

  4. The court of public opinion is a well-known analogy, and like all analogies, it breaks down if you push it too far.

    If judges create law rather than decide cases based upon existing law, then they do become black-robed masters, unelected and unaccountable.

    What do I want from you? Ummm, nothing really. I just enjoy mocking the man that Nancy Pelosi called, and I quote, "a leader God has blessed us with at this time", the Progressive Messiah, the Most Intelligent President Evah, the man who heals the Earth and stops the rise of the seas. I mean, everyone enjoys a little fish and barrel action now and then, right?