In response to the Supreme Court's deferral to a lower court's decision to override Utah's ban against gay marriages, Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced his intention today to "uphold the rule of law" by permitting gay marriages in Utah.
While he expressed his disappointment and even voiced his belief that defining gay marriage was within the purview of State authority, in the next breath he cavalierly yielded to the federal judiciary, thus violating what appeared to be his own sincere commitment to adhere to the rule of law.
Like so many of his other gubernatorial peers throughout the country, and by his dismaying self-contradictory stance in this matter, Gov. Herbert demonstrates that he is both confused and terribly ignorant of just what constitutes the "rule of law". I can only hope that this plague of ignorance gripping our State leadership throughout the country is unwitting and remediable.
For me, the issue is NOT merely a matter of whether or not gay marriage should be legalized by Utah or any other State, but, far more importantly, it is a matter of constitutional law, that law, the Supreme Law of the Land, with which Governor Herbert appears to be at once so fervently enamored and yet so terribly conflicted.
To Governor Herbert: The Supreme Law of the Land is the Constitution--NOT the federal judiciary!!!!!
Thus, if the Governor is, as he asserts, committed to "upholding the rule of law", then, in accordance with his oath of office, that is precisely what he should do. In this instance, however, he flagrantly abdicated to the federal judiciary and, in so doing, he, in fact, abandoned the "rule of law".
The Supremacy Clause (Art VI para 2) grants supremacy to federal law/dictates only to the extent that those laws/dictates fall within the scope of clearly defined federal powers (Art 1). Per the 10th Amendment, those powers not specifically delegated to the federal government reside with the individual States and its People. These residual powers, whether enumerated or implied, are limited only by Art I Sec 8, Art I Sec 10 and Art VI para 2 of the Constitution. In other words, those powers not specifically delegated by the States and the People to the federal government are unarguably vested in the States and the People. Thus, like a whole host of matters these days, the federal government has absolutely no authority whatsoever to define gay marriage in the States. Period! Fullstop!
So, why is Governor Herbert and so many other elected State officials routinely deferring to federal laws/edicts/rules? My guess is that it is born of ignorance, willful or otherwise, but, more than likely, a burning and suicidal desire for an unencumbered stream of federal handouts.
For Governor Herbert and his gubernatorial peers, two clear, concise quotes for your attention and compliance:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People." (10th Amendment, US Constitution, 1791)
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." James Madison (The Federalist #45)
Restoration of constitutional order and the proper balance of power between the States and the federal government cannot be achieved until elected State officials dust off, read and faithfully adhere to our foundational constitutional principles. Only in this responsible way can the Rule of Law be achieved.
Until this pervasive and dangerous inclination on the part of our leaders to ignore the clear meaning of the Constitution is reversed, what precious little remains of our constitutional republic will soon slip into oblivion. In short, this sort of insidious suicidal ignorance of the Law must come to a screeching halt--and soon!!!