WASHINGTON — A group of over 60 legal scholars have signed a statement calling upon American citizens and public officials alike to reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion declaring that states must legalize same-sex “marriage.”
“We stand with James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in recognizing that the Constitution is not whatever a majority of Supreme Court justices say it is,” said Robert George, founder of American Principles Project, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and one of the authors of the statement. “We remind all officeholders in the United States that they are pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the will of five members of the Supreme Court.”
The men and women state that the five justices who issued their opinion ignored the original intent of the Constitution and provided no justifiable reason as to why marriage should be redefined.
“The Court’s majority opinion eschewed reliance on the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, as well as the Court’s own interpretative doctrines and precedents, and supplied no compelling reasoning to show why it is unjustified for the laws of the states to sustain marriage as it has been understood for millennia as the union of husband and wife,” the statement reads.
The scholars said that the four justices who dissented were right in doing so. Among four reasons provided as to why the majority opinion is harmful to society, they noted that “individuals and organizations holding to the historic and natural understanding of marriage as a conjugal union—the covenantal partnership of one man and one woman—will be vilified, legally targeted, and denied constitutional rights in order to pressure them to conform to the new orthodoxy.”
They also argued that “the new jurisprudence of dignity is unlimited in principle and will encourage additional claims to redefine marriage and other long-established institutions” and that “the right of all Americans to engage in democratic deliberation, and ultimately self-government, will be decisively undermined.”
The scholars therefore urged lesser magistrates to reject the Supreme Court ruling as binding upon the nation.
“We call on all federal and state officeholders: To refuse to accept Obergefell as binding precedent for all but the specific plaintiffs in that case; to recognize the authority of states to define marriage, and the right of federal and state officeholders to act in accordance with those definitions; to pledge full and mutual legal and political assistance to anyone who refuses to follow Obergefell for constitutionally protected reasons,” they wrote.
“The proper understanding and definition of marriage is self-evidently a vital question affecting the whole people. To treat as ‘settled’ and ‘the law of the land’ the decision of five Supreme Court justices who, by their own admission, can find no warrant for their ruling in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, would indeed be to resign our government into the hands of that eminent tribunal,” the men and women stated. “That is something that no citizen or statesman who wishes to sustain the great experiment in ordered liberty bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be willing to do.”
Signees of the document include Scott FitzGibbon, Professor of Law at Boston College Law School; Ralph Rossum, Salvatori Professor of American Constitutionalism at Claremont McKenna College; Adam MacLeod, Associate Professor of Law at the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University; J. Daryl Charles, Affiliated Scholar at the John Jay Institute and Daniel Mark, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Villanova University.