Forrest BurtnetteSeeing the Kentucky county clerk refusing to issue gay marriage licenses being jailed really rubs me the wrong way.

This whole affair stems from Marbury vs. Madison. In that 1803 court case John Marshall took it upon himself to embody the Supreme Court as the supreme arbiter and interpreter of the law. It was an underhanded way for the Federalists to retain power in light of the fact that Thomas Jefferson, a staunch anti-Federalist, was assuming the Presidency. So now, just because Marshall, in an extremely partisan and political move says that his court has the final say, we all follow in that tradition as if it were sacred or something.

Why should a court of nine unelected, unaccountable judges—appointed to the court for their partisan views by partisan presidents—be the final arbiter of Constitutional law? Who gave them the right—John Marshall? Well “just because” Justice Marshall wanted it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. That nine activist judges changed the definition of marriage that has been around for 1,000s, if not 10s of thousands, if not 100s of thousands of years, one Friday afternoon last June is crazy.

SCROTUS does not have the power to change the law in an area such as marriage. It does not have the power to change the law in any area. If certain states want to make gay marriage legal, then their state legislative bodies need to pass brand new laws making it so.

But I’m extremely upset by the procedure that’s taking place and the top-town tyranny of the federal government jailing people who are following the community codes of where they live, and the dictates of the Bible, which they follow. Thomas Jefferson would have been very disturbed by the power SCROTUS holds. I’m not sure what opinions Jefferson would hold on race issues, abortion, gay marriage etc., but I know for sure he would be sickened by the power that SCROTUS and the Federal government have wrestled away from this once republican nation.

Our country originally consisted of similar nation-states (Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania etc…) supreme in the management of their own affairs, leaving diplomacy with other countries, war with other countries, immigration issues, and U.S. border security under the jurisdiction and power of the federal government. Today we have a mammoth police state where individual states must bow to the far-off dictates of the one-size-fits-all central authority of the United States Federal Government.

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Forrest is a James Madison University graduate and has lived in Albemarle County for the last 15 years. He is married with kids and likes economics, history, politics, traveling, languages.and music among many other things.


  1. It’s SCOTUS, not SCROTUS.

    Why should a court of nine unelected, unaccountable judges—appointed to the court for their partisan views by partisan presidents—be the final arbiter of Constitutional law?

    Because Article III, Section II of the Constitution says that “The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution,” and because that’s been our tradition from the first, and because it’s a common sense tradition. Who or what else would be the final arbiter? Why do I get the feeling you guys just love the Constitution and American tradition when it’s politically convenient?

    Davis has a right to her conscience, but not to disobey the law without penalty.

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